Twitter does have its advantages. After all, it’s how I found PlanksLoveandGuacamole, a terrific resource for paleo recipes and food porn. Twitter is also how I discovered Avohaus avocado oil. I won’t use our time to sing the praises of avocado oil, but I will praise the best retail experience I’ve had in years. And, the best online retail experience I’ve had. Ever.
First, there was attraction. Avohaus has a Twitter presence that you can’t help but love. They have passion for their product, and the people who buy it. Their enthusiasm was so captivating that I had to try their product. It didn’t matter that I could get some other kind of avocado oil at Target, for less money. I had to try Avohaus.
Then, there was expectation. Just another online order, right? No. I ordered an Avohaus variety pack from The Gourmet Online. What arrived shortly after exceeded my expectations. It wasn’t gold plating; it was great presentation. Bottles of oil were wrapped colorfully, making it clear that the person who packed my order cared about details. Avohaus oil was delicious.
Then, there was the follow through. I received a personal email from The Gourmet Online, thanking me for my order. The representative asked, how did everything arrive? Was it all in order? Was I happy with it? I was stunned. Really? You cared enough to email me? This feedback loop was in place for the retailer to continuously improve, but it really impressed me as a consumer as well.
This collaboration with the customer is the hard part for many retailers, and of course development teams. We want to move onto the next thing. Sure there is value in a continuous feedback loop, but can’t we do that later? It’s just so hectic right now… It’s important to meet deadlines and to push forward, but when it gets in the way of collaboration, it’s a losing proposition. What The Gourmet Online did so well was make themselves vulnerable to feedback, which of course is a winning formula. Customer relationships are so much better when the two are working together as partners. Try it.
Then came loyalty. Impressed with Avohaus and The Gourmet Online, I ordered my sister the same variety pack as a gift. Just for fun. She had never tried avocado oil before. When the Gourmet Online sent the gift, I received another personal email. Was there something wrong with my order? Was her address too remote? No. They contacted me to assure me that my gift was wrapped with care for my sister, and to thank me again for my order. Now I was all-in.
I’m not sure if this retailer is an Agile team, but they are working in an Agile way. One of the reasons Agile works in iterations is to get continual feedback from the customer.
The Gourmet Online has standards. As a customer, I was told the standard was a high quality product, on-time delivery, and spectacular gift presentation. Should I ever not have this experience, they’ll get feedback about it. Sharing your standards with your customers will only make your collaborative relationship stronger. After all, there is another source down the street selling the same thing, for less money.
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