Are you reaping the dismal results that you sowed a couple years earlier?

The story: Labor Day night I placed an online order with L.L. Bean (which went flawlessly).  The next morning I woke up and decided to change the size of the item I had ordered.  Calling into Bean, the person who answered didn’t even need my order number because they immediately recognized me and my order from my called ID.  They checked to see if the order had shipped (it hadn’t), they cancelled the original order and took my new order over the phone.  It went very fast, the person I was handed off at first to could take care of everything, and there was zero hassle.

The results: I hadn’t shopped L.L. Bean in maybe 20 years, but I will be a regular from now on.  Also note that L.L. Bean has been around a long time, has survived several technological revolutions, has flourished in times of excruciating competition (Land’s End and other Bean-killers, the Net, etc.), and has done all this throughout God knows how many sytle and fashion changes over the years.

Now, do you suppose that the results in the above paragraph might have some cause and effect relationship to the elements of the story that are underlined?

What’s particularly interesting is that all of their excellent service (both electronic and human) is the result of factors that are either off-the-shelf or easily replicated.  Which makes it hard for me to understand why any company that can benefit from this kind of excellent customer service and customer experience doesn’t have it in place.  (To take the most elementary and inexpensive: how many times do we, even today, have to give our names and information more than once to a company we’ve called into?  There is absolutely no reason for that to happen.)  The only answer I can come up with is that management doesn’t really want it.

So, to those managers who made that “we don’t need it” decision previously, I ask: “How’s your business doing in this deep recession?”


This entry was posted in competitive advantage, customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, customer service, process management, retail. Bookmark the permalink.

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