What BDS Tactical Can Teach about Good Customer Engagement

So, it’s a few days after Christmas. I had some money to spare. Every year or two I have a fun side project. In previous years it’s been guitars, amps or traditional archery. This year it’s been upgrading my AK-74. As my upgrades near completion, I found myself with a little extra cash and I thought I’d share an enjoyable experience I had with a company. 

About three-ish years ago I bought a brand new Bulgarian AK-74, four magazines, and 500 rounds of 5.45×39 for $500. How’s that for cheap?  Between trips to the range, I’ve slowly been upgrading this bad boy. First upper and lower hand rails. Then a forward grip. Then a laser-light combo. And of course, the bayonet. You always need a bayonet.

But, I’m between parts at the moment. I had about $80 for Christmas, but a Texas Weapons System scope rail runs $140, and the reflex site that I’ll eventually put on it runs $60. So what’s a guy to do?

A Good Engagement

A friend of mine a good while back had mentioned BDS Tactical’s Facebook page. I’ve liked their posts in the past, so I figured I’d try a trick that I pull when I go into gun or guitar shops: Tell em my limit and see what happens.

I haz teh monez. How can I spend?
I haz teh monez. How can I spend?

Usually, when I walk into a guitar shop and say, “hey, I have $[XXX] to spend and I’m interested in [YYY]”, I deal with guys trying to get me to go over my limit. It’s like the words that I have said are completely meaningless.

BDS Tactical, on the other hand, plays it classy:

You haz teh monez? You should keep sum of them.
You haz teh monez? You should keep sum of them.

A few things here:

  • Using the word “personally” is very meaningful —whether you really meant it, or not, I like hearing what a person’s opinion is
  • Mentioning a product that isn’t on the homepage means that you know what you’re selling
  • Recommending a specific product, rather than a general one, helps me make a decisive purchase
  • A sensible argument for why I need it —I can use it every day
  • Providing details about the product that aren’t regurgitations of the web content is polite, and doesn’t insult my ability to read for myself
  • A coupon code for free shipping is definitely the warm, neighborly thing to do
  • You didn’t even try to spend all my money. Not even close

In one paragraph, BDS tactical convinced me to buy something that I hadn’t even thought of. Granted, I’ve known for a long time that I’ve needed a good tactical belt —but tactical belts are expensive. So a belt is something I’d have bought eventually, but…did you say free shipping?

A Smooth Recommendation

Now, if you check out the BDS Light Cobra belt, you’ll notice something towards the bottom of the page: product recommendations.

Oh, hey, these other things might like ur monez
Oh, hey, these other things might like ur monez

I have no idea if the gal running the Facebook page was thinking of this, but kudos to her if she was. If you’re paying attention to the prices, you will notice that three of the four items recommended would keep me under my $80 limit.

If you’ll notice from the screenshot, two of those links got clicked. Because…you know…she did point out that I was under my limit. And…dang, I have wanted a nicer sling. And those slings keep me under my limit. And now I don’t have to worry about shipping. Golly gee, what’s a guy to think?


ooooh, she's a clever one, isn't she?
ooooh, she’s a clever one, isn’t she?

Of Course I Bought the Sling

Now, I don’t know what degree of cleverness the guy or gal running that Facebook page has going on, but I’ll be totally honest: They’re doing it right.

They engaged the customer (me) with useful information, addressing me with personable words, made a meaningful recommendation, a subtle argument for it, and even did me a favor by saving me money (this is the  principle known as reciprocity). This is the entire Neuro Web Design playbook rolled into one paragraph. And, because whoever is running this Facebook page is a real human that has real human thoughts, they even jumped right into customer service mode:

If they can pull this off, someone gets a Christmas card next year
If they can pull this off, someone gets a Christmas card next year

In Conclusion

The website, user-generated content (recommendations), and social media work best when they’re a team. BDS Tactical Gear took me from a Facebook commenter to a guy who spend $74 on their site. They let their social media person engage me with personable recommendations that drove me to their site.  They let the up-sale recommendations on the product page do their own work. And the fact that you’re still being friendly, well, that just means I’ll be back.

Good job, BDS Tactical Gear. Someone give the person running your Facebook page a raise.




1 Comment

  1. //

    Hey Frank, thank you for the kind words and putting the BDS name out there. This is Terry and I am the Director of Sales and Product Management at BDS Tactical Gear (and a guy!). It was me whom you were corresponding with, and I appreciate the fact that you were pleased with what BDS was able to do for you.
    We know we build great gear, as the entire management staff are Marines, we have used the gear! But we are not always appreciated for the care that we put in to dealing with our customers. We really DO care about what you need, how you will be using it, and that before, during and after your purchase you are happy with the service you have received.
    Again, if there is ever anything I (or BDS) can do for you, let me know!
    Terry A Horvath
    Director of Sales and Product Management
    BDS Tactical Gear

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