Most companies would look to forget a day when sales cratered, to less than 1% of an average day of sales. St. Petersburg travel insurance company Squaremouth has instead embraced the day with unusual verve and vigor.
The day was April 12, 2020. Some four weeks into the pandemic, Squaremouth posted a measly 12 sales — for the entire day. Although not a surprise considering its business model relies on people traveling somewhere and the world had come to standstill, the decline was jarring. The 38-employee company would eventually rebound, and now does at least $70 million in annual sales.
So earlier this year, when a new employee queried the veteran Squaremouth staffers just who was buying travel insurance in the onset of the pandemic, it gave the team an idea: to find out who those customers were, and the stories behind their trips and pandemic mindset. “We thought that would be really interesting,” Chief Marketing Officer Megan Moncrief tells Coffee Talk.
The discovery? The low point of sales was 12 on the 12th. The team, using emails and phone numbers provided at purchase, tracked down the brave customers that booked travel insurance that day. Then Squaremouth sent the dozen doers a thank you gift: $1,200.
Turns out giving away money comes with challenges. All 12, for example, says Moncrief, at first thought it was a scam. “No one believed us at first,” she says.
Once the customers bought into what Squaremouth was doing, it turned into a heartwarming project. Nearly all the April 12, 2020 customers talked about their love of travel, how they had to cancel and rebook multiple times and more. Click here to see the full stories.
The April 12, 2020 cohort included a group of retired nurses who named themselves the Ya-Yas; several families; a father with two adopted children from China; and a Brazilian woman stuck in the U.S for a year. One April 12 customer, Richard from Arizona, was headed to Portugal with his wife in late May 2020. That trip was postponed twice, he says, and was rebooked for this past April. A retired surgeon, Richard, recounts Moncrief, gave his $1,200 back to the company — specifically to the employee, Cecilia, who helped him make the purchase. That was another unexpected bonus from the celebration.
Moncrief says the effort was not only cool for customers, but a way for the employees to see how what they do matters. “Without (these customers) we would have had a day with zero sales, which would have been a tough pill to swallow,” says Moncrief. “But thanks to these twelve, it wasn’t.”