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public relations

Customer Happiness Is the New Customer Service

Two households, both alike in dignity. Oh wait. Wrong story. And though mine doesn’t take place in fair Verona, it is a love story about two brands. STORY 1: WARBY PARKER I recently received a new prescription from my optometrist. As has become the case over the past few years, the impetus of my visit was mostly about getting into a new pair of Warby Parkers I (pardon the pun) had my eye on. Flash forward a couple weeks, my break-in period doesn’t seem to be letting up. Vision feels awry. One eye feels drunk and wonky. Not good. After a recheck, my doctor convinces me I just need to give it more time. A month goes by. I still feel I’m viewing life through a fish bowl. More troubleshooting ensues, ultimately resulting in a kinder, gentler prescription.

Great. Now I have two pairs of adorable glasses with a bad prescription. What’s a girl to do? Email, of course.

After shooting an email to WP to explain the situation, not only do they happily agree to swap out my glasses, they immediately place an order for my replacement pairs and email me a shipping label to return the old ones. All free of charge. Despite the fact that none of this was their fault, WP made my problem their problem – and bent over backwards to make it right.

STORY 2: MAJOR COSMETIC BRAND A few weeks ago I decided to order makeup on Amazon for the first time. (Because Amazon Prime! Why not?) I’ve been using the same brand forever, so I assumed it would be a safe bet. At the last second, I opted to switch to a newer formulation of the product. When it arrived, the smell was wretched. I don’t know if it was a bad batch or intentionally created to smell like a mix of cleaning supplies and rotten carnations, but either way, it was NOT going on my face.  I emailed the brand to share my thoughts. A few days later I received a form letter notifying me that they would be sending me a gift certificate, along with a note that read: “Please do not respond to this email.” Hmm. Okay.


There is a huge difference between customer service and customer happiness. I was equally pleased with the service I received from both companies, but only one left me feeling happy, connected and affectionate toward the brand once the dust settled.

When brands are in the business of customer service, they aim to provide a simple transaction. That is vital and valuable – don’t get me wrong. But when brands go beyond service and give their people permission to make customers happy, they’re investing in building lasting relationships. How would business change if brands stopped calling people “customer service representatives” and started calling them “champions for customer happiness?”


ps: To Alice at Warby Parker – Thank you! You are the hero of my eyeballs.