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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Never anger a reporter (and we are all reporters)

Observation:   Yesterday, I engaged one of my colleagues in an email conversation about the recent negative press surrounding Best Buy.  The conversation was sparked by this story from Forbes (click to link), which focused not only on Best Buy’s reported failure to deliver some online purchases on time during the holiday season… but also the experience of the article’s author during a recent visit to a bricks-and-mortar store.

This morning’s edition of the Research Brief newsletter offers a more widely-researched set of issues that can cause customers to become disenchanted with a service provider, whether that provider is an online entity or a physical store.  Click here to see the online version of that brief.

Implications:   These articles inspire thought about what to do when a customer service mechanism breaks down.  First, have a team of folks fix it as immediately as possible.  At the same time, take immediate ownership of the problem, and acknowledge it to those customers who are affected… in a manner that demonstrates transparency and accountability, rather than simply appropriating blame or making excuses.

If you take nothing else away from the Forbes piece, let it inspire these two pieces of cautionary advice:

1)    Make sure your site includes inventory controls that help you avoid failing to deliver online purchases within a reasonable time, and
2)   Never offend a reporter during his or her shopping experience.  (And by the way, in an age of blogging, Facebook and Twitter, we are all reporters.)

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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