I get excited when I hear stories about people in companies going out of their way to create an unexpected experience for customers. Most of the time they’re gestures that didn’t cost anything, like the story about Ritz Carlton and a little boy’s teddy bear, which I shared here.

Today’s story comes from Zappos. Read the whole story below right in the customer’s words, posted on Facebook:

God is so good and there are some awesome people in the world! After Christmas I ordered Brent a pair of shoes from Zappos and received the wrong pair. Fully prepared to return them in exchange for the right shoes, I called their customer service to let them know. I got to speak with an amazing customer service rep named Madison and explained to her our situation. After sincerely apologizing for the mix up she told me just to keep the shoes and she would send the correct pair overnight. What an awesome gesture! I told her about the flood we had here in South Carolina and how so many people have been effected, losing their homes and possessions, and promised I would give the shoes to someone in town that needed them. Today (as its continuing to pour down rain) the UPS truck pulled in and delivered a huge Zappos box. I nervously laughed at my husband as I swore that I had not ordered anything, then I noticed the box had a sticker on it that said Surprise! He opened the box and handed me the card that was on top and we both stared at the contents in shock. Madison and the team at Zappos sent a box of fleece blankets to help the continuing flood relief efforts in our area. Absolutely amazing! Thank you Zappos and Madison J and the rest of the Zappos team for being awesome and kind and giving, you have a Zappos customer for life! ‪#‎zappos‪#‎customerservice ‪#‎scflood

It pays off to genuinely care for customers, and to create unexpected moments, when you can, and when they make sense.

Some people think they couldn’t afford it. But I promise you that most companies pay much more than a box of fleece blankets to try to gain a customer’s loyalty.

Plus, think of all the new customers that Zappos acquired because of the fact that this one customer posted her story on Facebook. This post was shared 3,493 times. Let’s assume that each person who shared it had an average number of 100 friends that saw it. That means that this heartfelt story was seen by 3,493 x 100= 349,300 other people.

349,300 people!

Most companies would have to spend a good amount of money to get that many people to see one of their ads, not to mention that cold traffic probably converts worse than traffic like this one.

That’s the power of loyalty. Not only does it bring more sales from loyal customers, but it also loops back into customer acquisition. This nice gesture helped Zappos earn the loyalty of a customer and get free advertising in front of 698,600 people. 

Not to mention that it also made this customer's day brighter, helped people in need, and allowed the team at Zappos to feel good about giving. Thank you Zappos for making a difference.