Experience Case Study Series – Anis De Flavigny


Here’s a great case study for what truly responsive customer service looks like. The company concerned is Anis Flavigny – a French sweet manufacturer, best known for their iconic tins of aniseed candy. Having been given a tin as a gift, I wanted to buy more, but struggled to find any stockist in the UK. When I tried ordering direct from the Anis Flavigny website, I found that a 2.40 tin carried a 17.90 delivery charge! This struck me as a little steep for a 50g non-perishable, small tin of sweets.

Indeed, when I checked out the French postal service prices myself, they cost only 6. So I emailed their ecommerce team, asking why the price was so high, and for some help in making a purchase.

The response came direct from the General Manager, thanking me for my enquiry, and adding two comments:

  1. She was surprised by the discrepancy in the shipping costs and promised to look into it personally and reply to me within a week
  2. In the meantime, she provided contact details for the sole UK retailer of the sweets, based in London

Sure enough, within a week, I had a further email. Anis Flavigny shipping costs included insurance, web tracking and guaranteed delivery within 7 days, none of which were offered by La Poste’s basic price. Prior to my enquiry, the ecommerce team had felt that offering these premium services were key to being able to track or replace an item, should a problem occur. Following my email, the company decided to alter their website proposition in order to give customers the choice between the existing premium service and a low cost version, based on La Poste’s standard rates.

The General Manager thanked me for my interest, and emailed me again two weeks later to say that the modification was now in place.

Why is this great service? I’d suggest it has 4 key components:

  1. Listen – the General Manager genuinely wanted to understand the issue, and saw my inquiry as an opportunity to improve
  2. Act fast – in the short term, this meant giving the customer a fast, local alternative to getting access to her products.
  3. Systemise the solution – she could have fixed the problem for me manually, by offering a discount or even sending a freebie. But that would not have been sustainable, nor would it prevent future occurrences. Instead, Anis Flavigny chose to change the proposition itself, to ensure the solution would be permanent.
  4. Ownership – even though my enquiry was sent to the ecommerce team, the General Manager took personal responsibility for solving it, and ensured I heard only from her direct, at all stages of communication.

The result? I not only felt valued as a customer, but also have told others of this story, and written this blog – proof positive that a good customer experience increases the likelihood of favourable word-of-mouth (for NPS fans, you know this all too well, but for those that are unfamiliar with NPS, see this link)

PS: the sweets themselves are good, and very popular at my client meetings!