There’s customer service, and then there’s treating your customers as if they’re part of the family.
We’ve long heard tales on the web about how pet supply delivery service Chewy takes their customer service to a new level. The company is known for offering competitive prices and a wide variety of products, but they’ve also become known as the company that actually cares about your animals as well.
When Sheree Flanagan of Dallas, Texas lost her beloved dog Zoe, she wasn’t sure how she’d get over her grief. Then things got even worse when just days later Thor, the cat she’d had for 15 years, passed away as well.
“Losing Zoe was terrible. We had her for 10 years,” Sheree explained. “But when Thor died that was crushing. He lived with me in New York, then California and now here. He was always my No. 1 boy. I’m tearing up just talking about it.”
As Sheree coped with the loss of her two best furry friends she took care of a few tasks like canceling their automatically shipped pet food delivery. Sheree started a live chat with Ashley, a customer service representative for the Chewy headquarters in Dania Beach, Florida. All Sheree asked of Ashley was to be able to return her unused pet food, but instead she discovered Ashley was a compassionate listener who seemed truly moved by Sheree’s tale of loss.
“Ashley was amazing,” she said. “She told me she had a cat put down and she really understood. I kept saying that I didn’t mean to bother her and she kept saying ‘No, this is important. Tell me more.’”
By the time the call had ended Sheree felt that she’d spoken to someone who truly cared about her grief. Ashley had also refunded Sheree’s entire purchase with no documentation required, and a few days later something even more impressive occurred. When Sheree got home from work that night there was a lovely bouquet of fresh flowers waiting for her along with a note expressing Chewy’s condolences.
“Your team has either got it in their bloodline to be exceptionally kind and understanding, their leadership has done exceptionally well in guiding them or a combo of both,” Sheree’s husband Sgt. Corey Flanagan wrote to Chewy. “My wife has been taking their loss especially hard, and when we received the flowers we decided it was enough for us both to decide to stop shopping around and give Chewy all our future business.”
This isn’t the first time that Chewy has exceeded the expectations of grieving pet owners. When Sue and Bruce Stack of Edwardsburg, Michigan lost their six-year-old great Dane, Jake, they too reached out to Chewy about the pounds of extra dog food they no longer needed.
“I called Sunday afternoon and by Sunday evening I had a note of condolence, a credit for the food, and a request to donate the food to an area shelter,” said Sue. “I came home from [my job as a nurse] Tuesday evening and there were flowers. I thought some of our friends sent them and I realized they were from Chewy and thought ‘This is crazy! What an amazing company.’ ”
And then when Joseph Inabnet had to put down his dog Bailey he encountered the same amazing customer service.
I had to put my Bailey down in October. She had been on prescription dog food, and I had a brand new unopened bag (about $70). I asked Chewy if I could return it. They told me to donate it instead, and they returned my money. GREAT customer service; right? IT GETS BETTER!!
Today, completely out of the blue, I received from Chewy.com the card and painting below. I have also provided picture of Bailey that I must have uploaded to Chewy at some time. This is a real oil painting, and the artist, Sharon LaVoie Lamb, did an amazing job. I don’t know how to make something go viral, but Chewy.com deserves recognition for their outstanding attention to detail and customer service.
Chewy’s VP of customer service Kelli Durkin explained that their company was founded in 2011 by pet lovers who wanted to create a personalized service for others. They now have 450 representatives operating the service center 365 days a year, 24/7 to keep that personal touch — and it shows.
In addition to their kindness to recently bereaved pet owners, the company contributes a portion of profits to no-kill animal shelters.
“We don’t feel we’re talking to customers. We are talking to pets’ parents,” Kelli said. “We want to hear the good and the bad. We are feeding their children. We are part of their families.”
Customers like Sue Stack, Joseph Inabnet, and Sheree Flanagan are proof that this business model doesn’t just work; it ensures the sort of brand loyalty that goes beyond dollars and cents. “The world can be such a negative place,” Sue said. “This kindness is so important.”
Thank you, Chewy, for showing some heart in the business world! We hope more companies will follow this lead and think of their customers as family instead of commodities. Please share this story if you agree.