I’ve always been a huge fan of LL Bean. My family has bought clothes, shoes, jackets, and bags from them for many years. In particular, I’ve always been a huge fan of the backpacks. My sister bought one in the 80′s, and I think it’s still floating around with my dad. The last backpack that I bought was probably 10 years ago, and LL Bean’s stuff comes with a lifetime guarantee.
I suppose in what can be considered a moment of not really wanting to have to pay for more stuff right now a.k.a. greed, I wanted to get a new one for free that didn’t have a crumbly liner. And I wanted to take advantage of the lifetime guarantee. So I hit up the store in Columbia. Well, when I asked the cashier she asked me how long I’d had the bag. Then she laughed at me, and said that she’d never heard of the guarantee and the store would go out of business if that were the case. Of course it was a little shaming, and I do own the Beaners some money. But I think her dismissive behavior and clear lack of knowledge of one of the central tenets of the store was pretty bad, and made me fairly indignant.
And well like anyone who has something to complain about, I decided to head to the internets. So I posted a comment on Twitter about how I was a little displeased. Apparently, LL Bean is one of the companies that chooses to monitor Twitter for comments about their company. So I received a message from their chief marketing officer telling me that the guarantee does still apply if I’m not satisfied.
Well, as Groundswell puts it, the company/CMO took advantage of the opportunity of using Twitter “to be human,” and now I feel less disgruntled and more pleased with my experience. It is a reminder that if you’re a retailer just how important it is to instill the company’s core customer service tenets. An example of that would be Nordstrom, where customer service is key. When my friend worked there, she drove to someone’s house to deliver something someone had ordered. And even though Nordstrom is not as pricey as Bloomingdale’s or Neiman Marcus, their customer service is what has me returning, rather than dealing with the snooty cows at either of those department stores. And perhaps that should be applied across every company, not just retailers.