Archive for August 7, 2013

JC Penney Keeps Plugging Away – First Apple, Now Kraft

 

I have been keeping tabs on this company since they started their one low price campaign a while back, in an attempt to reinvent themselves and gain business back in their stores.

 

The company has had a tough road, but they don’t give up. Their latest move, which was announced earlier this week, involved filling a long-vacant position in hopes of regaining traction in the retail world.

 

Debra Berman is a former Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for Kraft and was brought to JC Penney to head the marketing efforts. This position has remained empty for just over a year now, so it is a much needed position given all that is happening.

 

Debra has big shoes to fill and her work is cut out for her. From the debacle of the “everyday low price” fiasco to going back to sales, it’s time to rethink the company’s marketing strategy and start fresh.

 

Consumer perception is not very positive overall. The report last month that was released showing that employees came out to tell news outlets that, when the company went back to sales prices, they raised regular prices in an attempt to make consumers believe they were getting deals, did not help matters any.

 

I’ve always liked this company, and thought their first move in doing away with sales was risky but could change things for the positive. However, their stumblings through trying to deal with the fall out and once again reinventing (or reverting) their image were very public and has fallen under a lot of criticism. I’m rooting for the company and hope with the marketing position being filled, the company can regain its standing in the industry and come out stronger. They keep plugging away and I hope for the best for them!

 

I am looking forward to keeping tabs on the company to see if this newest hire can make a difference and get the company back on its feet.

 

 

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9 in 10 Demand Consistency Across Channels

 

This statistic should not be surprising – virtually all customers expect to communicate with a business through any channel they offer, whether it’s phone, email, social media, or online chat, and get consistent information.

 

While this may not seem like an issue that companies would face, a new study indicates that it might be. A study conducted by Synthetix revealed that there is still work to do.

 

According to the study, which you can download from their site, there are some key takeaways with regard to the multichannel experience:

 

Poor multichannel service

 

That 65% statistic is a bit high, but not terribly surprising. While companies have started incorporating multiple channels of communication, the message consistency remains a challenge.

How can companies improve multichannel communication? There are some easy ways companies can work through this:

1. Consistent training: make sure training guidelines are consistent for all employees, no matter what portion of the customer experience they are responsible for. Conduct regularly scheduled testing of procedures, guidelines, and role playing scenarios to evaluate performance and message consistency.

2. Cross train staff: allowing staff to learn different roles, especially ones in which customer communication is required, can be effective. Not only does it allow for cross training and seamless communication and messaging across channels, it also allows employees to learn more about the business. The deeper integrated they are with their work,the more successful they will be.

3. Communicate with & monitor franchise locations: this is a unique challenge where franchises are concerned – franchise locations are independently owned and operated, though still need to mirror the corporate branding, which includes customer communication. Ensuring that your franchise operations have all of the tools needed to communicate the corporate messaging and resolve customers issues consistently is key. Monitor franchise locations to ensure that their messaging coincides with corporate’s communication structure.

4. Do your research: customer feedback is vital; after all, they are the ones that receiving the messaging. Asking for their feedback after communicating with your company can provide valuable insight. Did they feel their needs were met? Did any part of the communication process seem confusing or unclear? During the resolution process, did they receive any conflicting information? If so,what was it? Looking at trends and feedback data can provide insight into customer perception, and, if there is inconsistency, it will help you to drill down to find out where the breakdown occurs so you can rectify it.

Multichannel communication is difficult to keep up with. These days we have information coming at us from all different directions, and companies are no different. Managing the communication messaging and consistency can be challenging, but is extremely valuable to your customer relations.

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