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!