Why are Librio’s emails written by animals?4 minute read
Librio’s Eager Beavers
If you’ve ever bought one of Librio’s personalised children’s products or contacted our wonderful support team, you’ll know that there’s something a little different about the way we communicate.
That difference: Animals.
With Eddie “The Eager” Beaver as their leader, our support tasks are carried out by a host of forest animals from owls to moles, badgers to seals.
(Yes, seals might not be your typical forest animal, but he really did have the best application and we don’t discriminate on animals based on where they were born.)
Why the forest animals? It’s a question we hear often, so we thought we’d let our own human leader, CEO Ed, explain:
Thank you, Moo
It all started on a train deep in the Alps shortly before we launched in November 2017. After running support teams for 10 years in my previous roles, I knew LIbrio needed best-in-class customer service, but I also felt we also needed something to make us memorable and set the Librio experience apart from the humdrum of everyday life.
While looking for inspiration, I returned in my mind to the business cards I’d bought for Librio earlier that year. I bought them through Moo.com and their confirmation mails stuck in my mind as being really different and really funny.
Here’s my confirmation email from March 2017.
Maybe it’s my childish sense of humour, but Little MOO and Big MOO made me laugh - and more importantly, made me remember my order of something as mundane as business cards 6 months later.
I looked around at the Librio world that we were creating. What could we use from our world that could bring that fun and unexpected element to our communications?
I looked at a recently-completed spread from our first book, The Tree, The Key & Me.
Who could be our Little MOO?
Of course! The Eager Beaver!
Let’s humanise him a bit.
Ed sounds like a good name.
And Eddie Beaver was born.
I returned from my train trip and sheepishly showed my fellow Librions. “I’ve, er, made all our customer support emails written by animals…” Luckily, they were on board. The rest is history.
Risk vs Reward
We were aware that adopting animal personas for all our communications was not without its risks.
- Would people consider us unprofessional?
- Would people think we’re insulting their intelligence and belittling the not insignificant sums they pay for our products?
- Can you really handle an angry customer while writing as an owl?
- How do we walk the line between being extremely professional but also having fun creating wonderful children’s products?
Just as we were amazed by how warmly people reacted to the products we’d created, the reaction to our forest animal friends was overwhelmingly positive. Indeed, if you look at our thousands of 4 to 5 star reviews, a surprising number of them mention the excellent support given by Eddie Beaver, Mrs. Owl and co.
In fact, the animals seem to actually defuse situations before they escalate. As long as the support is quick and excellent, our customers seem to grant us a little extra leeway, because the animals seem to make the whole enterprise more relatable and more, dare I say, human.
Our favourite animal escapades
Communicating in this way has given us the opportunity to have a bit of fun doing the “boring” work of customer service, to bring some storytelling into our communications and to deal with serious matters in a jovial way.
In our first month, hundreds of books were delayed due to quality issues with our printer.
Who was the bearer of bad news? None other than Seal Goodman (Head of Quality Control) - I know you shouldn’t explain jokes, but, well, Seal of Approval + Saul Goodman = Why there’s a Seal in the forest. By wrapping a serious message in a professional but fun manner, our customers were much more forgiving than if we’d just sent a normal human-generated email.
When we took the bold decision to keep Christmas sales open 5 days longer in Switzerland by driving a van full of books across the continent in the dead of night, who was the driver of that van? None other than Mr. Badger himself. Luckily, he made it in time, but who could have blamed him if he hadn’t?
One customer even wrote to say after working in copy writing for 20 years, it was the best company email she'd ever seen. . Congrats, Mr. Badger.
There are certainly those who have not found our animal antics as funny as we’d hoped, but from the feedback we get, these seem to be very much in the minority.
For the foreseeable future, they’ll live on and prosper and hopefully continue to bring a little smile to your face as you open your confirmation mails.