My Krispy Kreme Story

The book Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force spends a chapter discussing what Krispy Kreme Doughnuts does to turn its customers into its volunteer salesforce. For example, they don’t spend any money on formal advertising. Instead, they do thinks such as giving away free “sample” doughnuts to customers as they wait in line or as they are deciding on what to get. They have a way of getting their customers to talk to others about Krispy Kreme, creating word-of-mouth advertising that no amount of money can buy. I had my own experience this morning that will have me talking about KK for a long time!

I was on my way to our Valley City office this morning when I decided to buy some doughnuts for my coworkers at the Fargo Krispy Kreme. Upon getting in line in was given my free sample doughnut to eat while deciding what combination to get for my dozen. I got the dozen doughnuts and a coffee, which came out to be something like $7.46. I gave the employee my debit card, which she ran through and returned with the receipt to sign. Luckily, I quickly looked it over and saw that my card was charged for $77.46 instead of $7.46. I informed the employee, who quickly apologized and then went to get the manager, as she didn’t know how to cancel a credit card transaction. She apologized again, and I told her that it was alright, it was an honest mistake, probably from a sticky keypad. During this time, she came over to me again and placed an extra 1/2 dozen with my existing dozen doughnuts and said they were for the inconvinence. I thanked her and said it wasn’t necessary, but she said it was. About 25 seconds later the manager had successfully voided the transaction and informed me that because it took so long, everything was on the house (this whole process took three minutes at most – not that long in my opinion)!

I would have been perfectly happy with the initial apology from the worker, but the employees went above and beyond my expectations. They gave away a dozen doughnuts and a coffee which would have probably made them about $6.00, for the chance to recover gracefully from an honest mistake and turn a customer into an evangelist. In the long run, Krispy Kreme will make far more than six dollars from me and everyone else I’ll tell this story to. I’ve already told several of my coworkers here in Valley City, and I’m sure there will be more to come. Well done Krispy Kreme!

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