Customer-brand engagement has improved over the years thanks to the internet and social media. Customers are now able to give feedback in a variety of ways like never before while companies now have the chance to address such feedback and redeem themselves if the feedback has the potential to hurt the brand.
There are still surprises along the way, however.
Dairy customer Timothy Tiah got angry when, for the second time in a row, the Farm Fresh Milk he had just purchased turned bad before it even reached its expiration date. He also noted that the milk tasted off on the first day it was opened.
Like most angry clients these days, he went online to rant about it. He even went as far as calling for a boycott of the brand. He published his frustration in a blog post via Dayre titled ”DO NOT BUY THIS MILK BRAND.”
“Some time back I had just bought one of these and when I poured it into my cereals and started eating I realized it tasted really funny,” he writes in his post. “So I spit it out and tried it on its own. True enough. The milk had gone bad.”
He went on to describe the two times he had to throw away his cereal bowls and milk upon discovering the milk’s weird taste.
His post was shared on social media and attracted comments from many readers who had also experienced the same problem with Farm Fresh Milk. One of the comments linked him to the company’s official response on the matter:
“Dear valued consumers,
Recently there have been a spate of complaints about our Farm Fresh milk curdling and turning sour. Initially we had thought the problem was due to less than ideal handling on the retail level. At the same time, we were also doing everything to examine our operations at the processing level.
We then discovered that a very small amount of our yogurt had somehow gotten into two of our filling lines. That explains the slight curdling of the milk and the sourish taste, without the the typical spoilt milk smell.”
The company also offered refunds to those affected:
“Further to this, we would like to offer all customers a refund for any bottles of Farm Fresh milk purchased which were not up to the desired quality. Please email us at [email protected] indicating the number of bottles purchased and the total retail price.”
While the company’s statement is a response in itself, what came next surprised Timothy: Farm Fresh Milk CEO Loi Tuan Ee sent him a very personal email.
The message included the CEO’s personal apology stating how he was saddened by Tiah’s call to boycott and an offer to replace the milk products. He also went on to narrate how the company grew from a small business to the No. 1 Malaysian fresh milk brand that it is today.
The message touched Tiah so much that he responded with a positive email acknowledging the CEO’s apology and a promise to return to drinking Farm Fresh Milk again. He also asked that instead of sending in a replacement or refund the company send the two bottles of milk as a donation to the nearest shelter.
The CEO, of course, topped that simple customer request by going the extra mile and sending 12 bottles of milk to a home for the elderly and several Farm Fresh milk products to Tiah’s office as well.
His thoughtful action made a complete turnaround of the situation and is a perfect example of customer appreciation done right. In Tiah’s Tech In Asia article documenting his experience with the company, he commended the CEO’s gesture.
“Loi truly inspired me,” Tiah writes. “At a time of crisis he kept his calm and dealt with tough situations like this with humility and sincerity. Why I say sincere? Because after I had replied him and said I would clarify he didn’t need to go the extra mile to send me something, or to give 12 bottles to the old folks home instead of two.
He ended his article by saying: “I don’t know if I could have done better than what Loi did. He turned a crisis into an opportunity. I would love to meet Loi one day and I’ll take up his offer to visit his farm. Not just for the cows, but for the man behind the cows.”