To Discount or Not to Discount?

Too discount or not to discount? That is the question on many minds representing the luxury brands. Luxury brands are in a tough position right now. Thin is in, and I’m not talking about weight here, I’m talking about your wallet.

Market studies show that over indulgent consuming is out, and frugal is in. According to a recent study by the New York-based Luxury Institute, 62% of wealthy consumers report that economic conditions have altered their views on luxury purchases. People, even the wealthy, feel bad flaunting their money with people around them losing their left and right. Now is not the time to show off that $5,000 Louis Vuitton bag. According to a recent article, customers that do purchase luxury brand products are being more discreet about their spending, requesting their purchases to be sent to their hotels or for plain bags, instead of the usually coveted designer shopping bag.

On the flip side, market studies consistently reveal that discounting the price of luxury items discounts the value of the brand in the eyes of the consumer. Part of the appeal of luxury brands is that it’s exclusive…something that not everyone can buy. Luxury brands work hard for the label “designer” and to build an image of exclusivity and privilege. If they discount, that exclusivity could nose dive.

The luxury brands have got some major brainstorming and research to do to figure out how to survive this recession. Because bottom line, they can’t deny the research that reveals showing off the bling-bling is not the cool thing to do in this economy, but what do they do about it?

April Bell

Customers 1st 2009 Podcasts: A Conversation with Kathleen Peterson

As we get gear up for the 2009 NACCM: Customers 1st Event this year, we’re going to be interviewing and getting to know the speakers and sponsors who will bring their perspectives on customer service to you. We recently sat down with chair Kathleen Peterson to talk about the event, both today and what has changed since she first chaired it back in 2003. This podcast will have six part, so check in next week for part two.

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When you chaired NACCM last, NACCM has really grown up and evolved with the industry. Now it’s all about the attendee, creating a customizable, interactive experience. Tell us why you’re excited to return as chair this year and why you think this event is a MUST attend for all customer-centric leaders, particularly this year.

Kathleen Peterson:
I’ve always felt that this conference was the most focused experience for customer management leaders. It’s always been about the customer experience across the board and I think that when we look at what this current state that we’re in, it’s become more important than ever for professionals to come together to experience not only the experts but the networking and the one another and the bouncing ideas off of each other. This is really the opportunity for leaders to develop themselves more. A lot of the training and the leadership that these folks provide is often not returned within the enterprise which forces them to seek that kind of learning and overall learning experience externally. And of any conference that anyone could ever go to if the mission is to learn not only what theories are out there, but what realities and what practices have yielded good solid results, this is the only conference to do it at in my experience, and I have seen plenty of them.

For better customer service, be a better customer

In a recent article at Wise Bread, they look at how being a good customer can lead to better customer service. They point out that there are so many customer service articles today about being great at customer service, but it is a two way street. They give advice to you as the customer to get the best possible customer service. They advise the customers to document everything, learn to file effective bug reports, and when you’re treated right, be vocally appreciative.

At the end of the article, they look at what a supercustomer is and how to become one:
I use “supercustomer” to describe those ‘ the best! ‘ who go beyond the call of customer duty (intriguing way of looking at it, hmm?) and don’t just routinely consume, they actively participate in improving the people & products of the businesses they enjoy.

Playful rivalries appearing on Urban Dictionary

The Boston Globe recently took a look at the Urban Dictionary and how popular it has become online as a place where cities have began to take their rivalries. Many of the different entries, which come from users who submit new dictionary terms, still have to do with the amount of money the certain cities possess. The article looks at a few of the towns around Boston and their definitions. Read the full article here.

FreshDirect Focuses on Customer Service

BusinessWeek reports that, “During the current downturn, FreshDirect, the online grocer, based in Long Island City, N.Y., is defying the odds. CEO Richard Braddock (formerly the CEO of Priceline) says that while previous Web grocers used capital to expand, he is focusing on the customer experience. “We are going to make mistakes,” he says, “but we will make you feel special, and our job is to offset the inevitable mistakes with some great solutions and great service.”

Check out the BusinessWeek’s video with CEO Richard Braddock

What other companies are defying the odds in this economic climate by succeeding because of great customer service?

Using Facebook to Screen Candidates? The Info You Get May be Illegal

Many managers are using Facebook and other social media outlets to understand more about a particular person’s candidacy for a position at their company. Much has been written to warn potential candidates of what information they provide on social networks, i.e, excessive drinking or being pictured in less-than-professional situations. But because of the tight restrictions of what can be asked of a job candidate (marital status, religion and age), managers who find out this information on social networks may prove to be inadvertently illegal. What if, for example, the interviewer uses the knowledge they garnered from a candidates Facebook to make a determination of an individual’s candidacy based on their marital status, religion or age?

Whereas Facebook may allow managers to protect themselves from hiring undesirable candidates, is it really the best tool to use from a legal perspective?

Social media brings new corporate rules