What Donuts, T-Shirts, and Plane Rides Have to do with the Happiness of Our Customers

At When I Work, we care about the happiness and success of every person who uses our product.

To some, the above statement might not carry a lot of weight, as most businesses would probably say they care about the success and happiness of their customers if someone asked them.

But in business and in life, we all know that words are one thing, and actions are another—saying you care about customers and showing and proving to customers that you genuinely care are two completely different things.

Saying is easy. Doing requires more time, more resources, and more planning.

When it comes to investing in customer happiness at When I Work, we don’t just say—we act.

Why We Care So Much About Keeping Customers Happy (and Why You Should Too)

As a company, we learned very early on that the best way to attract new customers, differentiate from our competitors, and continue to grow was to keep our existing customers happy.

Why? Because customers talk. When they’re happy, they’ll shout your name from the rooftop and recommend you to other people all day long. And when they’re unhappy, they’re just as open and vocal—but not in the way you’d like and not in a way that benefits your business.

We’re living and doing business in an age where opinions and personal experiences can be shared with the general public in a matter of seconds. A good testimonial from one customer can lead 10 more to your door in a matter of minutes. A bad experience shared by an unhappy customer can wreak havoc on your reputation and destroy your business in a day.

Consider the following facts compiled by HelpScout in a blog post about customer service:

  • It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
  • News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.
  • 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again.
  • 86% of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience.

The happiness of each of your customers matters greatly. It’s up to you to show them that you care about their happiness and success. You can be known as the business that does the bare minimum required, or you can be known as the one that goes the extra mile.

At When I Work, we like to go the extra mile (literally).

How We’re Showing Customers We Care (and How You Can Too)

We’ve written about customer delight before on this blog a few times, and it’s because we’re big believers in the idea that the health happiness of our customers directly correlates to our continued success as a company. Our relationships with our customers do not end when the sale is made. Instead, they evolve and mature over time.

As a business, there are a lot of ways you can go above and beyond to delight your customers. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t necessarily have to cost you a lot of money. It just has to be genuine.

Here are a few examples of how we’re doing it at When I Work:

1. Donuts

As an online-based SaaS businesses, we don’t get a lot of opportunities to naturally interact with customers face-to-face on a regular basis. Since we don’t have the same luxuries that other brick-and-mortar businesses have when it comes to meeting and talking with customers in person, we’re always looking for ways to show people that there are real humans behind the curtain.

As a company, we want our customers to know that we aren’t just in it for the money—we want them to know that we genuinely care about them, their employees, and the success of their business.

We love our customers and we couldn’t be where we are without them, so it’s important to us that they feel appreciated.

One way we go like to show our appreciation is by sending our team out on special occasions to meet with local customers,  thank them for using our product, and put some faces behind our brand and product.

For example, on one recent occasion, we sent a handful of our employees out to meet with local customers on National Donut Day. Our mission was simple: to surprise them with free donuts, to thank them for their business, and to ask them a few questions about their experience with our product.

We bought donuts from another one of our local customers, Bogart’s Doughnut Co., sent our team out in pairs, and documented the entire day in photos. The response was fantastic!


Many of our customers weren’t even aware we were operating in the same city as them, and every person we talked to was shocked that we would go so far out of our way to show our appreciation.

The entire campaign was fairly inexpensive, created a lot of social buzz, and allowed us to leave a great lasting impression with the 10+ businesses we were able to interact with that day.

Want to try something similar? Pick an upcoming holiday and delight your customers by surprising them with a special deal or coupon. If possible, build buzz on social media leading up to and during the event by asking your customers to take and share photos on social media. 

2. T-Shirts

Another way we delight customers is by sending them free swag. For example, every month we send over 1,000 t-shirts to customers for a variety of reasons: to make their day better, to thank them for feedback, to apologize for a hiccup, or just to say thanks for being our customer. We send shirts to customers all over the world—not just in the U.S.—because we want everyone to get the same level of customer service no matter where they live and work.

It’s a small way of showing our appreciation, and it comes across as incredibly meaningful to our customers.

Want to try something similar? Use a service like CustomInk to design your own swag. Then gift it to your best and most loyal customers.


By the way, if you’re a When I Work customer and you haven’t gotten a shirt from us yet, request one below! If you’re not a customer and you still want a t-shirt, go start a free trial first, then come back and request one below.

3. Plane Rides

As I mentioned above, it’s really important for us that we’re able to provide the same level of service and appreciation to our customers no matter where they are in the world. Since When I Work is used by businesses in 50+ countries around the world, we can’t just hop in the car and drive down the street or across state lines to meet with and delight our customers. We have to go the extra mile—literally.

This year, that meant sending members of our team on a plane to fly to various cities around the world where many of our customers are operating.

In August, I traveled to Vancouver to meet with some of our oldest customers (most had been using the product for 3+ years) and show our appreciation in the form of hand-delivered t-shirts, sunglasses, and thank you cards. The trip also gave me the opportunity to meet with their employees, chat with them about their experience with our product, and learn more about their businesses.


In September, two members of our team traveled to the UK with a similar mission: meet with customers, show our appreciation, and learn more about their businesses and pain points.

Watch this video to get a behind-the-scenes look at their trip:

The feedback we were able to gather from customers during these trips was extremely valuable to our organization. And, again, the response from customers was fantastic.

Want to try something similar? Plan a road trip to meet with your most loyal customers. If you can’t meet them where they are, invite them to your business for a special VIP event. Use the opportunity to show your appreciation, but also use it to gather feedback and testimonials from customers. 

Wrapping Up

To build customer loyalty, you have to be willing to go out of your way to really show your customers that you genuinely appreciate them and that you care about their well-being and success. It’s not enough to provide good products or services—you have to do more. I hope these ideas help you think more about how you can start showing more appreciation to your customers.

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