While on a hike in the Superstition Mountains a few weeks ago, my friend Jonny shared a story with me about his experience with a “Flat Tire.” He told me that one day, last December, he was at his home waiting for a friend to come over. While he was waiting, he went to the fridge to grab a Fat Tire (his favorite beer) from the 12 pack that he had just purchased.
He savored a few frosty Fat Tires but sadly, when he took the first cold sip of his 3rd Fat Tire, he noticed that enthusiastic “Fizz and Hiss” that is usually present when the top is popped, was absent. And after that first taste, it was confirmed, something was wrong- he had a “Flat Tire” not a Fat Tire.
Jonny, being the inspired man that he is, decided to sit down with his computer right then and there, and express his sadness by writing his feelings in an email to New Belgium Brewery, but no ordinary email would do. Jonny wanted to write something a little more reflective of the disappointment he felt when he discovered his beer was flat. So he decided that a poem was a bit more appropriate for this occasion.
How awesome is that poem? If only all negative business feedback could be sent via poem, this world would be a happier one. Jonny didn’t really want or expect anything in return, he just wanted to be able to share the heartache he felt over his “Flat Tire.” But, the next day, he received the following email from a New Belgium Brewery Representative.
New Belgium Brewery’s Response
Thanks for taking the time to write the coolest quality feedback email I’ve ever gotten! That was pretty impressive! So sorry to hear about the flat Fat Tire. What a bummer! Sometimes our beers can develop off flavors or characteristics if they are exposed to extreme temperature differences or if they are mistreated after they leave the brewery. Was the beer refrigerated when you purchased it? Also, do you happen to have a bottle still? Could you do me a favor and send along the batch numbers on the side of the bottle? They’ll help us track the beer and find out exactly what happened. Lastly, can you tell me the name and address of the store where it was purchased? Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know and I’m sorry again that you had a bad experience.
I would like to reimburse you for the beer. Let me know about how much you spent, your address, your full names, and your t-shirt size.
Could their customer service be any better?
And this is why we love New Belgium! While they effectively run a successful and thriving business, their focus is on people and relationships. They haven’t let their success overcome their need to connect with their customers in a real and valuable way.
Their response to Jonny wasn’t generic, defensive or unapologetic, it was awesome. It came from an actual person who addressed the problem and went above and beyond to improve the situation and make a genuine connection with the customer.
Keeping their Promises
Since receiving an email response from New Belgium Brewery, Jonny was also given a full refund for the beer that he bought, and some New Belgium swag. This is a great example of how every business can take opportunities to show their customers that they care, not just about keeping their business, but about the actual person. Below is a picture of Jonny wearing the t-shirt that they sent him, holding his new 12 pack of Fat Tire that New Belgium Brewery paid for!
To wrap up, New Belgium Brewery has set an awesome example for other small businesses and is and will always be one of the businesses that we admire and look up to. People often say that business isn’t personal, but New Belgium Brewery has shown us that when you make business personal, it can thrive and be better than ever expected.
And on that note, we’ll leave you with a 2nd New Belgium Brewery inspired poem that Jonny, who is clearly still a HUGE New Belgium Brewery fan, wrote celebrating the start to 2015.
New Belgium Inspired Poem
In the comments below, tell us an experience you’ve had with New Belgium Brewery!