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As you might already know, First name / friend, I lost my beloved furry family member last week (and like any super healthy person does, I've been using my crazy to-do list to burrow into and escape from my feelings. Kidding, kidding… kind of 😬).
If you've lost a pet you know that one of the worst parts is all of the random things that sneak in at inopportune times and remind you of your loss. The email from the vet to schedule Spots' annual check up, the alarm to give Rufus his heart medication, or the Apple calendar notification that pops up to let you know that today is Blue's birthday… 
…Causing a violent rush of memories of all the times you took Blue to get a puppucino and how aggressively that dog got after it, sticking his whole head inside the cup, effectively coating his entire face with whipped cream.
So you do what you can to make it easier on yourself by getting ahead of those reminders… like calling the dog food company to let them know there is no longer a need for expensive, kidney-friendly food to be delivered to your doorstep. 
It's not the type of phone call you look forward to making.
It's the kind of phone call you dread, because you worry that half-way through saying your pet has passed, you'll get all choked up, begin gulping in an attempt to swallow the lump in your throat so you can spit out the basic information the customer rep needs and NOT start sobbing to a total stranger over dog food. 
(And if you're a coward like me, you'll just let your dad do it without even offering to help in any way yourself.)
Spoiler: the phone call did end in tears, but it's not for the reason you'd imagine. 
And that's thanks to an angel, called Chewy, who turns out isn't just a dog-food serving brand, but is heavenly gift full of pure goodness. 
You see, First name / friend, after my dad let Chewy know that our dog had passed and we no longer needed dog food, something magical happened…
… The woman on the other end sincerely apologized for our loss (expected) and then told my dad she was going to give us a full refund for our last order (which our dog had already eaten half of)….
…so that he could spend it on something nice for himself during this sad time (WILDLY unexpected).
It was $110. But that $110 stood for a moment of compassion so ridiculously kind that it brought my dad to tears.
(I mean, he is a feelings guy so it's not completely out of character for him to cry, but the point still stands.)
A few days later, my dad pulled a reverse Karen and called Chewy to personally thank them for their act of kindness. As he was waiting to speak to a manager, he ended up on hold with another customer service rep who he recounted our experience to. 
And she told him, “yeah, Chewy really is that great to work for. It's actually part of our company policy to do something kind when we find out one of customers has lost a pet.”
The second my dad told me that, I went straight to Googling reviews.
(I wasn't kidding when I told you I have a review problem, First name / friend. I could—and I have—spent hours reading reviews)….
… And sure enough, the reviews for Chewy were INSANE. From refunds to sending flowers to a personal drawing of someone's pet inspired by the pet's profile pic—Chewy goes ALL out. 
I mean, read the review for yourself. 
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Like… WOW. Right?!
While Chewy's slogan is “Where Pet Lovers Shop," let's be honest…
…how many brands are out there in the world “standing” for diversity while having ZERO diversity within their own company?! How many brands are out there talking about the importance of eco-friendly products while packaging everything they sell in plastic bubble wrap and non-compostable materials?!
In that one simple act, Chewy lived up to everything they stood for. It wasn't about being a business, it wasn't about giving us a credit so we could continue shopping with them in the future…
It was an act of kindness from one pet lover to another. 
From a marketing standpoint, it's beyond genius. Everyone who shops with Chewy has a pet, and inevitably that pet will pass, and that passing is a delicate moment for Chewy to show just how much they care about that ONE customer. 
But it felt so much deeper than that. They understood our core craving—to have our beloved furry family member's passing acknowledged and honored, which is what all pet owners mourning their pets want. 
And Chewy knows AND does exactly that.
So what can be learned from this freaking incredible brand interaction? 
#1 - Being human goes a long way 
When my dad made that first call, the lady didn't mention it was company policy She made the whole experience feel entirely personal to him. Just one person telling another person how sorry she was for his loss rather than making him feel like just another customer in the call queue. 
Brands that build real connections with their customers see them as people first. You're not just a venti iced chai latte with oat milk, you're a handwritten name (albeit horrifically misspelled and mispronounced) ordering a drink. 
#2 - One extra step makes a HUGE difference 
Chewy could have given us business credit or sent an automated email that said, “sorry for your loss, we've cancelled your account." But they didn't—because that wasn't going the extra step to make their customers feel seen and important. 
Personal touch seriously stands out—it even has the opportunity to bring people to tears.
It's like when someone sends you a letter with your Etsy order or your automations expert sends a nice gift after working together—that one little thing warms your whole heart and makes you think of that brand/person with love. And that builds connection and loyalty. 
#3 - Focus on the bigger picture 
While Chewy might have “lost” $110 from refunding us, they gained two lifelong loyal fans who are so touched by what they did that one of them is going to tell everyone how awesome Chewy is, starting with you, First name / friend
So not only has their act of generosity inspired a conversation about their brand (aka word-of-mouth marketing which is SOOOO important), but also as someone who plans to have many, many animals in my life, I know the exact brand I'll be buying from.
In other words, that $110 will lead to me spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
Brands that people adore focus on long-term relationships and not short-term gain. They're interested in building a connection that brings people back, even if that's a ways in the future. 
#4 - Practice what you preach
The business (and real) world is full of phonies. People who tell you what you want to hear and are up to all kinds of nonsense behind closed doors. Brands that connect with their people and have loyal fans are brands that don't just say they care about [insert generic value]. 
Instead, they ACTUALLY show up and do the work when the time comes. 
They say they makes clothes for all sizes and actually sell clothes from sizes 00-32 Plus (Good American). They say they care about the planet and then they donate to the cause they care about (Patagonia—an extreme, but respectable AF example). 
They practice what they preach, proving to customers that they're trustworthy because they mean what they say and stand for. 
Bottom line: Chewy is a gift and I'll forever be theirs. Brands that care about their customers and stand behind their values are brands that we can't help but love in return. In fact, we might end up loving them so much that it makes us cry.
And while we're on the subject of things that make people cry… what's something small (and ridiculous) that's made you tear up recently, First name / friend
An episode of Gray's Anatomy? An empty cereal box that your brother put back in the pantry (and that you were really having a serious, PMSing craving for)? Reply to this email and let me know!


And that's it! 
With lots of love (and a little bit of spice ),
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