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Richard from LEGO, Luka, and some great advice from Sensei Wu

Before the events of the last week fade quickly into the hum drum of normal life, I want to jot down a few thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind and to answer a few of the questions I have received.
A few people have suggested that Luka's email to LEGO and the reply he received were a PR stunt. I can reassure these people that both were entirely genuine and Professional Images and our family had no links to LEGO whatsoever.

Last Monday was a quiet day and having Luka receive the reply from Richard over the weekend, I thought that my friends and family on Facebook and Twitter might like to see it. I copied the contents of both and combined them into a JPEG to make them easy to share.

My tweet:

 

The emails:

Immediately after sending it and every time I see it pop up since, I so wished my brain had produced the word 'judged' instead of 'aimed', but too late, the send button had been hit and it was out there.

Within seconds it had been retweeted. And then again. And again. And so it continued for the week. Actually, it's just been retweeted numerous times, as I write this. As I sat listening to my iPhone pinging away at each retweet, I must admit I was flabbergasted with my mouth dropping more and my eyes widening as they continued.

I have always believed in saying thank you to people who make the effort to retweet me. (My Mum always said manners cost nothing). So I started replying to each person saying thank you. By midnight that first day I had done little else to be honest and I was still five hours behind and with stinging eyes I had to admit defeat and sleep. I started afresh the next day from the top so to those people who kindly retweeted me to whom I missed saying thank you, may I say thank you now.

ITV were the first media network to pick up the story. Well done @TimGattITV for being so on the ball. Tim asked for a photo of Luka which I duly emailed across and that was the first to be published - Luka hanging up his stocking on Christmas Eve. With my PR photographer hat on, and having finally got the message that this might interest other news networks that may also like a photo, I shot the one of Luka with his Sonic Raider, which he set up on the table purposely leaving a gap for Jay ZX to go when he came in the post. I've always said a press/PR shot should always tell tell the story, and as at that point Jay ZX hadn't arrived, this seemed to do it.

The picture was tweeted on mine and Luka's Twitter accounts with the knowledge that if anyone wanted the picture, they would take it. (Looking back I do wish I'd embedded a picture credit to Professional Images!). But take it they did. At the last quick look, searching for "Luka Apps" on Google brings up over 40 pages of results from websites all around the world, most of which carry the picture.

At the very heart of this though is the 'perfectly aimed' reply from Richard. What can I say about it that hasn't been said already? Watching Luka read his carefully crafted reply was an absolute joy to see.
Initially, he was excited that he had even got a reply and then as he read it out loud to us you could could see his face drop as he read 'My bosses told me I could not send you one out for free because you lost it'. On reading further, 'I decided that I would put a call into Sensei Wu to see if he could help me,'  his eyes lit up and he couldn't read the reminder of the email fast enough. To actually discover Sensei Wu had said it was ok for Richard to send him a new Jay left Luka literally bouncing up and down and giving myself and his mum big hugs. Along with thousands of other people, that bought a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat.

Last week I emailed Richard, and cc'd in LEGO's CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorm, to say thank you to Richard for his wonderful reply to Luka. I am very pleased to say Richard was given permission to reply personally to my email and we have now exchanged quite a few. I have promised not to reveal his surname or any personal details about him before anyone asks.

Everyone has been saying Richard should be rewarded for his reply and I am happy to quote from his email to me 'My inbox was flooded with emails of congratulatory messages and proverbial pats on the back. At first I had no idea what I had actually done until I saw Luka's name in one of the emails. I saw Luka's post about how I am his favourite person from LEGO and it made me a bit teary eyed to be completely honest.'

I have no doubt Richard has a bright future in customer services and he has set an example to other companies on how it should be done. At some point we will meet up so we can say thank you personally to Richard. Luka wants to give him a big hug.

UPDATE:

After the recent worldwide praise for Richard's amazing reply to Luka and the subsequent 'money can't buy' publicity he brought to LEGO, you would think he would be their most valued employee and could be sure of a quick career progression through customer service management. Apparently not.

It turns out Richard was one of many temps the company routinely employ each year at its offices in Enfield, Connecticut to meet the increased demand over the festive season.

Despite rumours he would be employed permanently by the company, bosses decided this was not to be and in a shock move, at the end of his temporary contract which ended last week, they let him go.

Richard set the threshold by which customer service departments should be judged and his reply to Luka has been used by customer service managers around the world as an example of perfect service, and what can be achieved by a well thought out reply to a customer.

In recent emails to me, Richard has done nothing but praise the company he worked for but I can't help feeling his bosses got this one wrong. It begs the question, what does an employee have to do for a company to earn its gratitude?

Richard could not reveal his true identity whilst an employee of the company, but now a free agent, he has been able to do so in a tweet this morning to his best customer, Luka.

So what does the future hold for Richard, aka Rocky, Calsetta now he is a free agent? I can't imagine it will be long before a more forward looking business wants to harvest some of that star quality, develop its customer services and learn from the best.

Offers, enquiries to @CalsettaRocky...

Updated 28/01/2013