Well, this is quite a story. It all started with a simple FB ad, and it ended, well, it hasn’t ended yet, but it has already led to me discovering one of the most remarkable companies I have ever encountered.
So, a few months ago, I was doing my thing, minding my own business, and carelessly scrolling through my FB feed. Then something out of the ordinary happened. I saw an ad.
The ad wasn’t the extraordinary thing, FB has a lot of em. The fact that I saw it, that was the strange part. I never pay attention to ads. It was an ad for Undandy, a custom shoe company out of Lisbon, Portugal. These shoes looked hot!
The rest of the story varies depending who you ask, but the way I remember it is that I looked up the company on Twitter, saw how they were engaging and responding to customers so I sent them a tweet complimenting them on their shoes. A few days later and by own pair of Undandy shoes showed up at my doorstep.
Long story short, I was impressed both with the company’s social media presence, but also with the product, the shoes, which felt great!
I got in touch with the CEO to thank him and ask how I can help in any way, to which he replied “If you know people who appreciate great craftsmanship the way you do, and who have an audience like you do, feel free to intro.”
And so I did. I introduced Undandy to 20 very influential friends who, upon receiving their first pair of Undandys began to spread the love their respective audiences. What happened next is that Undandy exploded on Twitter.
A few shoes and millions of impressions later, Rafic, the CEO and I became good friends and he extended an invitation to come visit their HQ in Lisbon. I of course, obliged.
Last week, I spent two days in Lisbon, met the team, and judged a customer support competition. Here is how it went down. The employee who went to the farthest lengths for a customer this month had his or her salary doubled.
I, along with two friends who joined me on the trip, Arsen Ostrovsky and Arnold Aranez, judged the competition and chose the winner.
As I told the company when announcing the winner, every judge of every competition has to say “It was so hard to choose, since you were all great.” The thing is? In this case, it is true. Every one of the contenders had an amazing story of just how much this company cares about every customer.
Here are those stories.
Customer Care Advisor – Alexandra from Romania
Martin purchased his second pair of Undandys this year.
Due to a small defect on the leather upper of one of the shoes, which occurred during transportation of his shoes from the Undandy workshop to his door, Alexandra assisted him with a swift exchange for a new pair.
Unfortunately, the third time of crafting his Undandys was unlucky as his shoes arrived with another detectable mark on the leather.
As Martin is a shoe connoisseur, he quite rightly wasn’t happy with the finished pair but decided to keep the shoes as he loves the brand and didn’t want the cobblers to craft another pair as the mark was only surface. Although Martin was happy to keep the shoes, Alexandra wasn’t satisfied.
After building a relationship with him, she knew from looking at his social media pages that Martin was also a keen photographer. At Undandy there is a marketing activation where photographers from around the world are given a pair of Undandys to shoot in their hometown, Alexandra had the idea to give Martin an extra pair of Undandys for this project, which paid homage to his hobby and of course, love of shoes. His faith in Undandy was restored.
Turning a potentially bad situation into a delightful experience. That is what Alexandra did here.
Customer Care Advisor – Cristian from Colombia
When Carlos contacted Undandy to check on the status of his pair, Cristian as a native Spanish speaker, did a little digging about who she was talking to, noticed he was from Spain and replied in Spanish, discovering that Carlos’ shoes were for a very special occasion, his wedding day.
He wanted a special shade of leather for his ’92 by Wayne to match his suit and Cristian worked with him to find the perfect patina shade. For 45 days they exchanged emails and phone calls to make sure everything was as he envisaged for his special day.
Despite a few bumps in the road with the crafting of his shoes, Cristian was able to assist Carlos and develop a personal relationship with him, and Carlos walked down the aisle with his patina shoes.
The importance of ongoing communication and taking the extra step to know your customer. Key!
Customer Care Advisor – Mariana from Portugal
Ben received his Oxfords with slight markings from the sewing machine on the leather. As the calf leather is delicate, there’s room for one-off flaws to occur and Ben was absolutely right to be disappointed.
Ben was kind enough to give Undandy the chance to exchange his shoes for a new pair and it was Mariana’s responsibility to ensure his new shoes would be pristine.
To avoid any traces on the leather, Mariana with a bright idea, asked Antonio, Undandy’s workshop manager to add fabric in between the sewing machine and the leather to avoid any marks left from the stitching phase. As well as going the extra mile by working closely with the cobblers to find a solution, Mariana also pressed the urgency of getting Ben’s shoes re crafted in just five days and the final result was totally worth it.
Ben is now a happy client, rating his Undandy experience as 5* on Trust Pilot for both shoes and service, he’s now a customer for life. Through working carefully with Ben on this new pair and looking into his previous orders, Mariana discovered that two members of his family have also already bought Undandys.
Thinking out of the box and going above and beyond for customers!
Customer Care Advisor – Sheinal from Portugal
Undandy customer Ken bought 4 pairs of shoes in 4 months and he was very disappointed with his last order, since he received shoes in the wrong color. Sheinal sent Ken an email to schedule a call to personally apologize.
Though Ken travels around the world for business, Sheinal knew that it would be better to call directly and gave Ken all his personal contact details; Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Linkedin etc… and said that he was available whatever time or day to speak, 24/7. Ken later sent an email at 11pm GMT to arrange a phone call and though Sheinal was at home with his wife, he promptly called him, apologizing profusely for the issue with his latest order.
Ken placed a new order for two pairs of shoes directly after speaking with Sheinal and now sends him regular pictures and videos of his Undandy shoes travelling around the world.
Turning a disappointed customer into an ambassador.
Customer Care Advisor – Vlad from Romania
First time Undandy customer Dimtri was disappointed with his first purchase and was expecting a darker shade of blue on his custom boots. Vlad spoke with Dimitri to find a solution and worked with the leather sourcers at the workshop to find a special, one off shade of dark blue leather, which would be perfect for Dimitri.
During the crafting of the new boots, Vlad kept in regular contact with Dimitri and learnt many things about him. After finding out that the boots were intended to be worn for Dimitri’s birthday, Vlad decided to send a special, surprise birthday gift of wine and chocolates (of course in Dimitri’s favourite shade of dark blue.)
After building up a friendship with Dimitri, Vlad found out that he is about to get married and has decided that all of his (ten) groomsmen should be wearing Undandys. After all, who better to walk you down the aisle than a friend!
There is nothing that is impossible when a customer asks.
Customer Care Advisor – Felicity from UK- Winner!
Brad first got in contact with Undandy via Facebook over a year ago. At the time Undandy couldn’t craft Brad’s size which is a EU52. Despite not being able to craft a pair for him, Felicity and the other members of the social team regularly spoke with Brad, discussing all topics and built a real friendship that went beyond shoes.
Brad decided last summer to gift his nephew a pair of special custom Undandys for his graduation and then finally late last year, through product development, Undandy cobblers were now able to craft a size 52.
Once Felicity found out the news, the first thing she did was inform Brad who could now finally design a pair of Undandys for himself. Felicity and Brad learnt that they both love classic Hollywood films like the Wizard of Oz and My Fair Lady, designing shoes together based on their favourite characters as well as quoting their favourite moments from the films. Brad is now the proud owner of 4 pairs of Undandys and is still in weekly contact with the team on Facebook. Occasionally they talk about shoes!
This was the winner! Felicity spoke to Brad regularly for an entire year, even though she knew he could not buy shoes because of his size. A year! And as a result, Brad became a very happy customer and friend of Undandy!
Customer Care Advisor – Beatriz from Brazil
It was a busy day in the Undandy office and unfortunately whilst Beatriz was replying to a customer query, by accident she mistakenly called customer Tony, Tom. Horrified to see her mistake, Beatriz anxiously waited for the reply.
Tony started his next email with “Dear Petra, I can imagine your look of surprise reading the first line of this email as your name is actually Beatriz. Imagine my own surprise reading the name Tom when you replied. To avoid making your replies seem copy and paste, in future it might be worth checking the name before you press send.”
Beatrix was mortified and apologized profusely to Tony but trying to brighten the mood she replied that she actually preferred the name Petra and this started a long and hilarious exchange of emails between the two calling each other their new alter egos. Tony has since become a VIP Undandy customer thanks to Beatriz’s wit and personalised follow ups with him.
Humor, tasteful humor is the best cure for an innocent mistake.
The stories are all incredible, the trip was incredible, and as I prepared to head to the airport, I sat with Rafic and we decided to take our relationship up a notch. I am officially joining Undandy as a Strategic Advisor. I look for companies who are run by good people, are doing meaningful things, have ambitious goals, and from whom I can learn. Undandy checks all those boxes.
It is an honor to work with such a superb company!