This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs. I got a call today from Lori Pappasino at Lord & Taylors. Was she upset! She read the blog entry about my experience there and I’ve got to say took it real personally. She apologized. She listened. She apologized again. She felt badly and I could feel it. She told me about her efforts at L&T to create positive customer experiences. She expressed regret that they had failed Mom and I. I explained (how could I not) that perhaps if this had been another store, perhaps if this had been one of the discount chains, or even one of the other department stores, that I wouldn’t have felt nearly so bad. But after all this was Lord & Taylors ‘ the ‘special’ store of my youth. The Lord & Taylors of special dresses and first suits and ladies’ lunches ‘ I had a higher expectation. And so the gap appeared to be so huge because this venerable old institution owed me (and Mom) more. It compounded my insult and made it feel even worse. After all, it’s all about the feelings. She got it. In fact ‘ she got it all. She understood my point of view as a customer and as a professional in her field. She even went through (she didn’t know this) most all the steps I teach to deal with and upset or angry customer. She listened, she let me vent, she empathized ( so well, I think I want to take her to lunch) she restated the problem to make sure she really understood, she told me what she was going to do to make sure it would never happen to another customer, she offered a letter of apology to my mother with a small ‘atonement’ (my word, not hers) she thanked me for my business and told me how valuable I was and that she wanted to earn our trust once again. She really got it. Congratulations Lori ‘ you ‘Wowed’ me with your recovery skills. She explained how the whole company is now going through retraining in customer service behaviors. I’ll bet I make it to the ‘Here’s how not to do it’ section of that training. Good. Stories are memorable. They are asking the question in their company, ‘What are we going to do differently’? I couldn’t help myself, I offered a few suggestions. It’s a great question and one that everyone should be asking! One thing is for sure ‘ if she teaches everyone in the company what she knows about ‘recovery’ skills, they’ll be well trained. In case you want a little poster for your wall to remind you of those steps ‘ we’ve posted it here LINK for you or anyone you think might need it. Enjoy. Practice. Prosper. If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!
This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs. I’ve just left the Estee Lauder counter in Lord & Taylor’s. I’m shaking my head. Lauder is having one of their special offers ‘ buy $39.50 worth of product and get a free gift. My Mom uses their products and like most people loves the free gift. This time (very clever) you get to customize the gift. You get to pick from two color palettes (warm or cool) and a choice of daytime or nighttime creams. We walked over to the relatively small counter where there three (count them ‘ three) sales people. Not one of them noticed us nosing around. I had to ask ‘Are you having a special offer today’? ‘Yes.’ ‘Uh ‘ can you tell us a little about it’? She gave us a brief description, nothing exciting at all in her voice, and void of some important details. My Mom, recovering from a broken hip, and leaning on a cane said great ‘ I need some powder. The young later brought out the powder and stated that the powder cost $29.50. ‘Okay,’ A moment of silence and then I got it ‘ it was probably not enough to qualify for the gift. So I needed to move the conversation along to the next level I guessed. ‘And what do we need to spend to get a gift’? $39.50 More silence and one of those glances that suggested that perhaps we were interrupting something very important that she needed to do. It was momentary, but my body picked it up. Now my Mom picked up the ball. She looked at me and said, ‘Need anything’? ‘I really could use a lipstick.’ ‘Okay.’ And then, nothing. ‘Where ARE your lipsticks’? I asked, really wanting to bolt out of the store screaming. ‘Over there.’ And so I climbed over a cart that was blocking the way, and then moved it out of the way so my Mom might make her way around the road block too. I quickly picked a lipstick. Now it’s time for Mom to pick the components of her gift ‘ the young lady asked my not-hearing-too-well Mom. ‘Do you want warm or cool colors’? Not knowing what she was getting into, or what the young lady meant she picked one. When I brought to her attention after seeing the colors that she wasn’t going to like the beige lipstick we asked the young lady to switch it. What resulted was a deep sigh and look of distain. Had I been there alone, it would have been the moment of truth, where I either told the truth about what I was seeing or left the store, but I stayed for the rest of the transaction. To my utter amazement, after we paid, the woman looks up and says in a somewhat convincing voice, ‘Thank you so very much. I really appreciate your business, thanks for coming in today.’ The amazing part ‘ she said it all while maintaining a scowl on her face. It made me feel quite ill, it was that strange. Next time you express appreciation ‘ please remember to inform your face. If you want to learn more about inspiring the kind of culture that would NEVER (I repeat NEVER) produce this kind of behavior join the experts at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management where we’ll be teaching you how to make the customer really FEEL like #1. If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!