What Is It About Kids And Giraffes? When Customer Experiences Go Viral

Recently the Dallas Zoo had a live video feed that drew more than two million online viewings. The feed showed the pen of a giraffe named Katie who would give birth to a calf any day now. The birth and the calf’s first steps could be watched by anyone with an Internet connection. The same cameras that held zookeepers riveted also held animal lovers around the world riveted and now vested in the Dallas Zoo in some way.

Although they never said it outright, the Dallas Zoo needed the love of the gentle giants to improve their public image after a gorilla attack had them in the national news a few years back.

Sophie’s Choice

In case you don’t have a child under the age of three in your home, let me explain Sophie the Giraffe. Somehow this teething toy has become a franchise that includes books, blankets, and bath linens.  Sophie was the brainchild of a French man who recognized how the shape of a giraffe would be easy for small children to grab in their little hands. That was in 1961. The rest is teething giraffe history.

There’s just something about giraffes that go viral and bring out the best in people (even the little ones who are cutting teeth). That’s why they’re included in our series about creating memorable customer experiences like those in the following two stories.

“That’s not a tiger; that’s a giraffe.”

Sainsbury’s is the second largest supermarket chain in the UK. But that didn’t stop one little girl from telling them about a “mistake” she felt they’d made. Lily wanted to know why her beloved Tiger Bread was called Tiger Bread when it, in fact, looked more like a giraffe. Customer service team member Chris King hit one out of the park with his response, saying that whoever came up with the name was “a bit silly”.

A few months later, the all of the Sainsbury’s stores changed the name of the bread to Giraffe Bread, per Lily’s suggestion. When an entire company listens to the suggestions of a three and a half year old customer, you can be sure they listen to all of their customers.

Joshie’s Extended Vacation

When a young boy realized he had left his favorite stuffed giraffe behind at the Ritz-Carlton after his family’s recent stay, he was distraught. His dad told him that Joshie was just taking an extended vacation. In the meantime, the staff at the Ritz-Carlton had found Joshie in the laundry and called to let the dad know. As a favor, the dad explained the story he had told his son and asked if they would mind taking a picture of Joshie lying beside the pool to support the story. They said they would and hung up the phone.

A few days later, a package arrived from the Ritz-Carlton. Inside was Joshie along with an entire binder full of pictures of the adventures he’d had on his extended vacation.

The Ritz-Carlton is known for being a luxurious place to stay. Any place that goes to those lengths to care for a little boy’s stuffed giraffe could make any stay feel luxurious. It’s the kind of memorable customer experience that people can’t help but talk about online and in person. Those kinds of stories are just good for business.

What can you do to create positive, memorable customer experiences go viral? The experiences don’t have to involve a giraffe, but it seems to help.

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