Marketing in the Making

Marketing; Thoughts and Questions

The Business of People.

What is L.L. Bean known for? Yes, they do sell outdoorsy equipment and clothing but there is something even greater. Their customer service. From grade school up until high school everybody always had those L.L. Bean backpacks with their initials on them. Every year they got a new one, and in a different color too! (These backpacks certainly last longer than one year, but everyone seemed to be getting a new ones so often.)

If you buy a product from L.L. Bean and it rips or breaks somehow they replace it and don’t make a big deal about it. Because of this strategy and their great attitudes, Business Week has awarded L.L. Bean second place in their second annual list of Customer Service Champs Other well known companies with customer service rated in the top ten include Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and JetBlue Airways.

The key thing you always learn when working in…well every type of business is “the customer is always right”. The vast majority of companies may teach this rule but few actually follow it. With out customers or clients, you would not have a company. When a customer has a good experience at a store or with a certain company, he/she is more likely to pass on the recommendation. That good recommendation may only reach a few people but as we have all seen and heard, bad news, gossip and experiences travel much faster and to even more people.
Take the United Airlines example from the summer of 2009. The airline damaged musician Dave Carroll’s guitar during transport and refused to take responsibility. Carroll took to social media to get the word out and created a video on YouTube, that went viral entitled United Breaks Guitars The airline’s lack of response and poor customer service caused more damage and money to combat the issue than a simple smile and apology would have done.

Customer service can make or break a company. We are in the business of people and so, in the end, our job is to please them.

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4 thoughts on “The Business of People.

  1. Sarah on said:

    I agree completely with this. I’ve always said that I love meeting nice people and a business’ customer service policies are a really important aspect of that. Even if a company has great products/services that you may want to go back and purchase time and time again, if people have a bad interpersonal experience with them, chances are they will lose customers anyway.
    From Business Week’s list, it seems to me that most of the highest ranking companies also fall in the higher price range. Do you think there really is a connection between price and customer service, or is it just a shared preception that more expensive always means better?

  2. manuel on said:

    Is there a level of customer service where the cost of the customer service is higher to high? Obviously if a car company had a policy like LLBean, it would not work so well. Where is the dividing line, if a line eists

  3. Mary on said:

    Excellent point!

  4. Sarah, thanks for commenting! For the more expensive brands, I think people tend to expect more of an expensive atmosphere. This means that the personnel are trained to act appropriately and treat their customers with more respect. Also, the companies tend to have more money to spend on training their staff. What do you think?

    Thanks for the comment Manuel! Each companies customer service strategy is going to differ from the next. Each industry is going to have different strategies because they will have different products and services. Some of the factors have to include the products/services and employee to customer ratio. Did that help?

    Thanks Mary!

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