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Kids and giraffes: Sticking your neck out for the customer


A grocery store, hotel and toy retailer all had to deal with issues that involved kids and giraffes.

A grocery store, hotel and toy retailer all had to deal with issues that involved kids and giraffes.

Well-seasoned customer care center agents may feel like they’ve heard it all. After a while, similar issues start to crop up, but similar doesn’t mean the same. Customer care center interactions may share elements, but they can still vary wildly.

Here are some real-world examples of companies who provided above-board customer service to consumer concerns. Each of these stories is completely unique, but each one contains two common ingredients: children and giraffes.

A bread by any other name
It’s not odd for a customer to have a criticism about a product. Sometimes people contact call center services because a dress is the wrong size or an electronic device doesn’t work as promised. One time, a customer contacted a store because bread looked much less like a tiger than advertised.

The BBC reported a three-year old girl wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s, a British grocery store, telling the company its tiger bread looked a lot more like giraffe bread. Sainsbury’s customer service immediately wrote back and told the young lady she was spot on, the bread did look more like a giraffe pattern and gave her a gift card.

The girl’s mother shared the letters on a blog, and the interaction went viral. After a massive social media response, the store officially changed the name of the product. The company received excellent public relations and a lesson in baked goods zoology.

A giraffe receives an extended vacation
A customer care agent has to relate with a customer’s needs. To some people, a stuffed animal may seem like an inanimate object. To others, he’s a member of the family who could use a break.

If there’s one problem hotels are familiar with, it’s customers leaving items behind in rooms. Hotel Chatter shared the story of family who left their 8-year olds son’s best friend, Joshie the giraffe, at a Ritz-Carlton resort. The father calmed his son by telling him the stuffed animal stayed behind because he needed a longer vacation. When Ritz-Carlton heard about the missing friend and the cover story, they played along perfectly.

The hotel sent the family photos of the stuffed giraffe relaxing by the pool in sunglasses, having parties with other stuffed animals and driving a golf cart. When Joshie was returned, the Ritz Carlton included an employee badge that made the giraffe part of the hotel staff. The photos were shared online, and they advertised the hotel’s excellent customer care solutions and stuffed animal spa package.

A toy store for everyone
If customers call in with the same concern enough times, it’s a sure sign the company has to adapt.

When consumers think of toys and giraffes, they usually think of Toys R Us. The popular retailer has a giraffe mascot or spokesanimal, Geoffrey, and has been selling toys to families for decades. Recently, the company received multiple forms of customer communications asking to redesign its store so it doesn’t divide products based on gender.

The Guardian said certain European Toys R Us stores have heard the customer demands and plan to remove gender labels from their aisles. They’re also creating advertising that shows both boys and girls playing with all varieties of products. The company wants consumers to know Geoffrey the Giraffe welcomes every kid into the store.


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