Personalized customer service gives Samsung a big viral push

August 29, 2012  |  Russ Martin  |  Comments

For the second time in four months, the personalized PR actions of Samsung Canada have landed it on the heavily trafficked front page of Reddit, a socially enabled news sharing site that occasionally measures page views in the billions.

On Tuesday evening, a thread featuring a letter the company sent to a customer was in Reddit’s top spot. It was posted by Shane Bennett, a Ontario-based Reddit user who first helped Samsung go viral in May when he asked for a free phone on the brand’s Facebook page. He did so with a bit of artistic charm, sending Samsung a picture of a dragon to help plead his case.

Drew Bomhof, the community manager for Samsung Canada, politely declined Benett’s initial request. Instead, he complimented Bennett on the drawing and, in return, sent him a  drawing of a kangaroo on a unicycle. Bennett posted a photo of the exchange to Reddit, and it was quickly up-voted to the front page.

Three months later and despite the initial rejection, Bennett finally got his phone.

As a thank you for helping the brand receive positive Reddit exposure, Samsung sent a customized Galaxy S III encased in Bennett’s dragon drawing (see below).

The letter reads, “As a token of our appreciation for the positive media you helped us attain earlier this spring, we’d like to thank you with this very cool, one-of-a-kind Samsung Galaxy S III. This is the only customized S III in Canada, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed watching the story of the Dragon and Kangaroo go viral.”

Bomhof, who actually works for Samsung’s agency Cheil, said he gets requests for free product often, but few are as creative as Bennett’s was. He thought it warranted an equally creative response.

He said he tries to bring a personal, human element to his interactions with Samsung customers on social media. “That’s important and not a lot of brands are doing it,” he said. “Letting people know someone is listening and caring.”

After the first viral hit, Samsung Canada’s marketing vice-president Andrew Barrett, congratulated Bomhof. The first photo, posted to Reddit through the image sharing site Imgur, has received over 600,000 views to date. The latest photo has received over 400,000. Barrett later did a presentation on the topic at Samsung’s head offices in Korea.

The post comes at a welcome time for Samsung – a California court ruled last week that the company infringed six Apple patents – but Bomhof said the timing was unintentional. However, he admitted he was happy to follow up the court loss with a positive PR hit.  “It’s a pretty great way to diffuse the situation,” he said.

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