Extreme Times Call for WOW! Branding

As told by: Liz Straus

I have never worked for FedEX, nor do I know anyone who has. . . . I wrote this because Meikah asked whether I knew any stories about extreme customer service and this is the one that I know. I know it because I lived it

The Flood

We stood on the deck of our second floor condo, watching the flood waters rise. The rains had caused the river to rise by 12 feet. It overflowed its banks, wiped out the highway, covered the streets, and was overtaking our parking lot. Word in the building was that we would be evacuated some time that day.

“We” was me, my husband, our 2 year-old son, and a 7-year-old cockatoo named Chicken.

Rescuers were coming, in rowboats on streets of suburban Illinois, to take us away from our home. The rain had stopped — not the flooding. We stood most of the morning on the deck watching the water rise and get closer. It was already up to the seats of our cars.

Deadlines Don’t Care About Floods

My husband and I were working freelance on a deadline project. One part was due that day at a publisher about 12 miles east of us. It couldn’t be late. It was part of a program costing $millions being submitted at state level. The state had no give to the cut off submission date.

My husband and I had the work done. We didn’t know how to get it there. Our cars were useless. We didn’t know where we’d be that night. We got the package ready in hopes of finding an answer before we were evacuated.

The FedEx Guy

About then the phone rang, it was a young man. “Excuse me, this is FedEX,” he said. “I have a package. Do you need it?”

The package was the next part of the same project. Who knew how it would find us, if we didn’t take it now? I said, “I’m sorry, but yeah, we really do need it.”

“No problem, Ma’am.” he said. “I’ll walk it over to you.”

I put the phone down and took my husband out on the deck. Coming through the water — at one point it was chest deep — was a guy in a FedEx uniform, holding a package above his head.

Our neighbors started cheering and applauding. The young man was smiling and waving. He made it look fun.

When the FedEx guy got to our door, we traded packages. My gratitude was all over him, explaining. He was all smiles still, saying it was his job. (I took his name. I wrote the company about him.)

Meanwhile, our neighbors had gathered everyone they could. The crowd was much larger when the FedEX guy left. As he opened the building door to go through the water, the applause started again.

FedEX man raised the new package high above his head and said very loudly, “Fed EX we deliver. We pick up too!”

What a gift that guy was. Every one of us was worried about what was happening, what damage would be done, when the water would stop. FedEX man did more than deliver a package. He walked right through the scary water to us, smiling.

He got us to laugh.

THAT is WOW! customer service on every level.

That happened almost 20 years ago, and I’m still telling the story . . .

–ME “Liz” Strauss


WOW! Just another day in the life of building a WOW brand.


About the Author

 iPhone 857Gordon Conner is a Branding Consultant/Coach and Copywriter who helps build WOW brands for small local businesses. He has been providing advertising, marketing, branding and copywriting services for 39 years and lives in Midlothian, Virginia. He can be reached at Gordon@BranWorks.com, or www.BranWorks.com.


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2 Comments on “Extreme Times Call for WOW! Branding

  1. i also think the repetition of “This is” works in this poem. i especially like when the pattern is broken by the turn to “And this–”. i’m also a fan of unconventional metaphors, and i’d say that comparing a dead body to forrest/lake setting is pretty unconventional.


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