Archive for December 31, 2012

LL Bean Pushes Shipping To The Limit: All Hands on Deck

 

Online shopping was a favorite this holiday season – reports are indicating that online shopping broke records this year. If you did any online shopping yourself, you may have felt the effects of it – more items were out of stock on many retailer sites, and some customers reported (minor) issues with items being ordered and then later notified that the item was on back order or out of stock.

 

Many retailers pushed the envelope with shipping dates, pushing the “must order by XX to receive by Christmas Eve” deadline farther back than it ever has been.

 

Personally, I was pleased with some of the online shipping options and deliveries I received during the holiday shopping season. Two retailers, Toys R Us and Amazon, promised delivery on some of my items on Christmas Eve. However, they arrived days earlier than anticipated, which was excellent. I was not surprised by Amazon’s early shipment, though Toys R Us surprised me for some reason.

 

LL Bean was another retailer that made the news as far as catering to the truly procrastinating customers. This year, in addition to wanting to help as many customers as possible, LL Bean pushed the last “order by” date and had an “all hands on deck” mentality. 500 administrative staffers, including Chris McCormick, CEO of the company, worked in the shipping department during the height of the holiday shopping season. From packaging items to handling customer service calls, everyone pitched in to make sure their customers’ shopping experience was a successful one.

 

According to an article on this topic, LL Bean went above and beyond. In addition to ensuring that all shoppers, no matter how much they procrastinated, would get their purchases before the holiday, they went into anticipation mode: in anticipation of the storm that impacted a good portion of the country right before Christmas, the company upgraded hundreds of orders to next day air at no cost in order to get items delivered before the storm.

 

Competition is as fierce as ever, so it’s no surprise that retailers are pulling out all the stops to encourage customers to purchase from them. LL Bean was no exception, and I think that the “all hands on deck” mentality sent a positive message to both customers and employees – you’re important to us.

 

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The Many Faces of Customer Feedback

 

Customer feedback can be challenging to get, and customer reviews are sometimes even more challenging. I came across a pretty neat way Roto-Rooter encouraged customers to provide feedback and leave reviews.

 

First, they offered a promotion that was pretty tempting – post a review online and the customer would be entered into a drawing to have their services paid for. As this can be a costly service, the offer is quite tempting.

 

The company goes a step further and offers clear and simple instructions for customers to submit reviews. They give step by step instructions on what search terms to use in Google to pull up the location, where to find the link on the search result to provide feedback, and how to do this.

 

They also offer similar instructions for Twitter and Facebook. Is a customer in a hurry and doesn’t have time to read through the entire instruction set? No problem – they offered a QR code for customers to easily connect on both social media sites, with “write a review’ information readily available.

 

The combination of a tempting promotion and multiple ways for customers to leave feedback where they are most comfortable sets the stage for a successful campaign. This is a great example of encouraging customer feedback.

 

 

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One Small Change…..

 

I came across a video that made me think about the customer experience…..how can you take the mundane, make one small change, and completely change the way people think about it?

 

As you’ll see in the video below, the goal was to encourage people to take the stairs more often than the escalator. One simple change piqued curiosity and made that goal happen.

 

 

I recall Zappos making the online chat experience a bit more fun. While this dates  back a couple of years, I think it’s a good example of making the customer experience a little more fun. This in turn will make it memorable – people will talk about it, and they will certainly be back.

In this case, you can see a snippet of the chat between a Zappos rep and a customer. The customer, trying to have a little fun, was talking in the third person. The rep, without missing a beat, mirrored the customer’s “talk” and they continued the conversation in that manner, all the while serving the customer and getting his needs met.

 

As we go into the new year, think about your customers’ experience when they’re interacting with your staff or shopping. Think a little outside the box to decide what one small change you can make that may make a difference.

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