A Tale of Two Teas


A Tale of Two Teas

It was the best of teas; it was the worst of teas – how two teas from different companies distinguished themselves with their customer service.

My drug of choice is tea. I have about three cups per day and am a tea snob. I have ‘loose leaf chai tea with Bonsoy and honey’ in my email signature just so people are clear about whom they are engaging with. 

Tea is precious to me, and I had become a dedicated fan of two particular brands who shall remain nameless (but feel free to contact me privately if you want the scoop).

As a Small Business owner, a HUGE, MASSIVE, GINORMOUS part of our team education is about how we enhance our customers experience of our brand. It has served us well time and time again.   

‘Actions speak louder than words’ holds true when it comes to delivering brand promises to your customers.

Creating a strong brand is more than just a flashy logo or a catchy slogan. It is a promise, a commitment that you make with your consumers. Everything that a brand believes in and acts on, and every way it impacts the lives of its clients will be underlined as a brand promise.

Successful businesses uphold these promises and ensure that exceptional service is delivered consistently throughout the customer journey. Promises become worthless if not kept, furthermore these negative sentiments will adversely impact brand perception.”

Subscribing to this, you can imagine my surprise when one of my two favourite tea companies completely failed to live up to my expectations and in fact, destroyed my previously avid advocacy for their brand.


In this first example of my tale of two teas. I purchased a box of tea and was loving it.

One day whilst preparing my morning pot I noticed a strange object. Turns out it was an insect. And not a small insect, a large insect.

I am not normally squeamish, but something about its large size and hairy legs did me in. Once recovered I called the customer service number to report it. I was trying to be a ‘good customer’. 

Here is an abbreviated version of how the conversation transpired.

Me: Hello, there is an insect in my tea.

Them: How do you know it was in the tea?

Me: Because I nearly consumed it.

Them: Ok, you will have to send it to us including the whole box and also the receipts so we can know for certain the insect was in our tea and not introduced.

(Now I am not stupid, I know there are people out there who try to claim all sorts of things, but the attitude was really what got me. There are ways to deal with this without insulting your customer, right?).

Me: Okaaay. How do I do that?

Them: Do you have a batch number? 

Me: Yes.

Them: Give that to me now so we can compare it to what you send in.

Me: Can you give me your reply paid postal address please so I don’t have to pay for the postage of your insect infested tea (I was getting a little antsy).

Them: No. Here is the address.

Me: Ok, I will send it. What happens from there?

Them: We will let you know.

Two weeks pass.

Me: I am ringing about the tea that I paid for which had an insect in it that I then had to send back to you that I had to pay for and I have heard nothing.

Them: Please hold.

Them: We have been unable to determine if the insect died in our tea or not. 

Me: Can I have a refund?

Them: No

Me: What can you do.

Them: We can send you some more tea.

Me: What kind of tea?

Them: The same tea.

Me: Laughing hysterically and hanging up.

OK. It’s not just me, is it?

This is a classic example of what not to do. Is their brand destroyed in my eyes? Did I tell every single person I came across for weeks that story? You betcha best teapot! 

I will never buy their tea again.

I am pleased (so pleased) to have a contrasting customer service tea story to share.

In this example, the company did an outstanding job of over delivering and building their brand. I love them even more now than I did before.

Me: Hello, the tea bags I purchased keep exploding when I add water.

Them: Oh so sorry, that must be really inconvenient, can you give me the batch number, please.

Me: No, I have already thrown the packaging away.

Them: No problem, can you tell me what kind of tea you had, the box size and where and approximately when you purchased it please?

Me: (Delivering all details)

Them: Fantastic, thank you so much for letting us know. Can we have an address and we will replace the box for you. 

Three days pass.

A large box is delivered to my address.

Inside the box are a lovely note and SIX double sized boxes of not only the tea I reported but all of their other flavours as well.

I was blown away. Talk about a happy customer. They over delivered on their brand promise BIG TIME. I will buy their tea until I pass from this mortal coil.

I think you get the moral of the story in this tale of two teas. Under promise and over deliver on your customer service to keep your brand alive and thriving.


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