L(ove). L(ove). Bean

I just had to share this story. 

So, we’ve all heard the urban legend of L. L. Bean’s otherworldly customer service, the channel integration, the brand engagement.  Well, I think I can safely say I’ve seen the Uncorn.  This is so cool.

A bit of background:

My friends recently decided to take up hiking the Appalachian Trail as a hobby.  I could probably think of about 3 dozen more leisurely activities to pick up as a “hobby”.  But awesome for them!

So, about sixty or seventy miles into their latest trek last week, they were strolling within a few miles of my house and asked to camp for the night for a hot meal and a shower.  So, after devouring half the food in the house and getting cleaned up, we all sat down with a bottle of wine to hear some stories.

My friend proceeds to tell me that at a campground, he and a fellow hiker got their Bean Boot laces crossed, whereby the stranger ended up accidentally putting my friends boots into his backpack and hauling off down the trail.  My friend, upon later putting his fellow long-departed sojorner’s size 14 boots on his size 9 foot realized the mix up. 

He called L.L. Bean from the trail (in our connected world were noplace is “out of range”) and told them of his dilemma.  The Bean rep told him that he would FedEx a new pair of boots in the right size to my address for next day delivery.  In return, they asked him to send the old boots back to them when he got back home.

Oh, did I mention that they treated this like an exchange?  Like….he didn’t have to buy the new pair of boots.  And get this.  The boots they were sending him cost thirty bucks less than the old ratty size 14s he had in his sack.  So, Bean sent him a gift card for the thirty bucks!  I couldn’t make this stuff up!

We finish the wine (and one or two more bottles, I think), went to sleep.  And sure enough, around ten am the next day, the FedEx guy delivered a brand new pair of warm, dry Bean Boots to my door.

So, do you think my friend will buy his next ten pair of boots, and all his other outdoor, Daniel Boone, trail-blazing gear from L.L. Bean for the rest of his hiking days?

I’d say: roger that Wilco! 

Happy weekend everyone.  Talk to you next week from Las Vegas and the SOCAP Spring Symposium.


  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing such a brilliant service story Barry. What a way to turn a customer into a raving fan – and probably not just him, but the majority of the people he tells too!

    Have a great weekend!


  2. Thanks for sharing an awesome story. Oh so curious, though. What was your friend's expectation when he made the call?

  3. Barry, thanks for sharing this remarkable story. I realize that every company might not be able to have the same policies and flexibility as L.L. Bean…but companies do need to focus on the customers' entire life time value and not just look at the customer as one transaction at a time.

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