Archive for the 'customer service' Category

JYSK comes to the UK

Another Danish homeware retailer, JYSK, is looking to open its doors in the UK. According to Retail Week they’re scouting locations in and around Yorkshire.

I’m wondering if there is really room for another furniture/homeware retailer in the UK so it’ll be interesting to watch if they can succeed where Ilva seem to be failing.

The iPhone swizz couldn’t he just have given them all $100 credit? And why will you only be able to redeem your credit against a purchase at an Apple Store? What a swizz. Seth says he steps up to the plate, no chance.

The Boots No7 Perfect marketing conversation

In a recent BBC horizon programme, Professor Lesley Regan, looked to create her ideal beauty cabinet. The programme featured prominently (in the interest of science you understand) a particular product from Boots, No7 Protect & Perfect Beauty Serum. On the Boots website this product now varies between being sold out and customers only being able to buy one, even though it’s 3 for 2 on the home page. This stuff has become like gold dust even though the programme aired nearly a month ago.

Yesterday my wife’s friend called her to tell her she was on her way to the local Boots because they’d called her to tell her it was in stock but to be quick! I’m not sure if they got any that way but later we moved onto ebay where there seems a healthy trade selling the product around 50% above the retail price. Meanwhile stock levels are so low they’re advertising the fact and customers are being steered towards other similar products one of which is also at a limited stock level.

All of this without TV advertising (not counting the horizon TV programme of course) selling a £16.75 product by word of mouth with a buzz through mothers who meet at a local primary school every morning. They all have permission to talk to each other and be influenced by each other, which is why many of them wear crocs as well. They all have permission to have a conversation and although television creates a subject for the conversation, tv advertising seems not to unless it really stands out and I can only think of a couple that do at the moment. Conversations like these with implicit permission happen all the time and if I wanted to sell a product or service this is where I would start, the virus might be slower to spread but I suspect it would have a longer lasting effect.Boots No7 Perfect Serum webpage

Boots No7 Protect Serum webpage

Customer Service at Ilva

Last week Ilva won an award at the Retail Week Awards for it’s Customer Service. Well in fact the award was for Innovative Retailer of the Year and I quote “Crucial to the Danish Furniture retailer Ilva making its mark when it arrived in the UK last year was its ability to attract good staff”. The text in the awards brochure goes on to talk about the company putting together a comprehensive package to attract and retain good quality staff including health care provision and pay rates in the upper ‘quartile’ for the sector. Other initiatives include a profiling tool known as DISCovery, something to do with dominance, influence, sustainability and conscientisouness!

This is all fine so far, but based on our experience when we visited Ilva in Gateshead there seems no proof of this actually working. Sullen staff (nice haircuts mind!) standing around in groups, trying it seemed to learn how to use the IT system, arguing with each other in the café and who didn’t know what they sold to eat, cashiers slumped with their chins on their hands chatting to each other while a customer waited to be served, diffucult directions to enter and exit the building (customer service is not all about staff) and ultimately very few staff who looked like they had any experience in even buying furniture, (a prerequisite I think in being a retailer or working for one is knowledge from a customer point of view).

I care about customer service because it’s close to my heart and is a fundemental basic of retail design, and what’s annoying is to give a business an award when the innovation plainly has not reached the shop floor. Perhaps all the staff have been to Denmark for their training, perhaps they know the product inside out, but when they don’t communicate any of the brand to the customers the innovation obviously fails. Surely any award has to have substance in order for it to be authentic? I wonder if any of the judges visited the businesses who were up for this particular award, shopped at them and drew conclusions from real experiences, if they had they would know that giving the award to Ilva makes it not worth the crystal it’s etched in.

Bloomingdale’s customer service

This post from Consumerist shows how to write a customer service letter and think of all the free advertising spreading round that family, (alright it cost him a handbag) not to mention online. If I was cynical I think he’d know this was going to end up online but it’s so nicely written I think that should be forgiven.