Many of you will have seen this video of a little girl whose parents surprised her with a new doll?
The doll is special because it has a prosthetic leg – just like its recipient. It’s hard not to get choked up as you watch her burst into tears as she hugs her new friend for the first time.
The girl’s parents posted the video on Facebook and it quickly went viral. It has garnered a lot of positive attention for the company behind the prosthetic leg, A Step Ahead Prosthetics.
According to A Step Ahead’s website, the company will put a customized prosthetic limb on an American Girl doll for any girl who has lost a limb or is facing an amputation. The website says, “We are NOT charging for the customization; we feel that it is absolutely crucial to boost the self-confidence, self-esteem, and feelings of inclusion for little girls with limb loss, and that something as small as a doll that resembles them can have a profound effect on their mental and physical well-being.”
This is an example of a company providing a great customer experience that focuses on a customer’s emotional journey, not on rational factors like price and quality. By providing free doll prosthetics, A Step Ahead shows that it knows its target customers and understands and cares about their feelings.
More significantly, this little girl’s doll and the now-viral video touch an emotional chord. Her family will carry this memory forever. The rest of us, who don’t know this little girl, will remember the video If we ever need to find or recommend a prosthetic company. The company already receives requests from people who would like to donate money to buy an American Girl doll for girls whose families cannot afford one (the company provides the prosthetic, but not the doll, which costs upwards of $100).
Many companies try to create an emotional customer experience on a big scale, through events, fundraisers or contests that help people feel “connected.” What is unique and refreshing about A Step Ahead’s approach is how individual and personal it is. This was one doll that went to one child with the hope of changing her life for the better.
In an era of reality television, we’ve all become skeptical of manufactured emotional moments. One reason this video had such a strong impact is that it was genuine, and posted by the parents – not by One Step Ahead in an effort to get publicity.
In our customer experience consultancy, we have learned that emotions drive much of a customer’s behavior. Every company has its own emotional signature– a unique blend of customer emotions that can increase or destroy long-term value. Feeling happy, valued and cared for (like the little girl with the doll) leads to loyalty and increased value. Negative feelings like unhappiness, neglect and irritation can destroy that value.
Businesses that want to improve their customer experience should be looking at these emotional factors, and they might do well to take a lesson from A Step Ahead about how to set up a personalized experience that authentically helps people AND taps into a customer’s strongest emotions.
When was the last time a business did something that really touched your heart? Tell me about it in the comments section below.
Find out about other successful Customer Experiences in our ebook:Unlocking the Hidden Customer Experience. LinkedIn followers can buy for $4.99 with promo code: Hidden50.
Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX