By now, you've probably heard about the Amy's Baking Company debacle after the owners of Amy's appeared on Gordon Ramsay's US version of Kitchen Nightmares. If you haven't, here's the very quick run down: The owners went on the show because their business had been affected, they felt, by bad online reviews on Yelp and other food critic places. They wanted Gordon to verify the tastiness of their food, but that isn't what happened. He had a lot of food criticism, and Amy reacted with total arrogance, vitriol, and denial. To say she was argumentative is an understatement. Gordon walked off the show because he didn't believe the owners could get past their denial to accept help. After the show aired, the couple went on Facebook and things got out of hand: they acted badly to all the people posting nasty things and made a very bad thing....much, much worse. Amy's Baking Company is now the international poster child for how not to act on social media.
But now I want to tell you about a very good story about a very big company called Land's End.
Some of you will remember this from last week, but here's the recap---with a totally different ending.
Last week, I got a Land's End catalog and I went to order some pants online from the catalog. The pants were completely sold out. Annoyed, I asked their customer service via chat why they wouldn't stock items they knew were coming out in their catalog. I was informed that the catalog is printed months in advance, but there were loads of other nice products on the site if I wanted to have a look! I did not want to look, I wanted those pants. I felt like I had been baited and then switched.
Then, I went on Twitter. I Tweeted to them.
Once again, got a @landsend catalog in the mail and yet again their items are unavailable...feels like bait and switch.
— SierraGodfrey (@sierragodfrey) May 11, 2013
They replied, "We're sorry you're disappointed." I can't show the tweet here because they deleted it-- my guess was that they didn't want that showing up on their timeline. I replied,
@landsend its not my disappointment you should be worried about...the loss of brand integrity is worse :(
— SierraGodfrey (@sierragodfrey) May 11, 2013
This was true: my primary concern here was hey! How come you don't care about the loss of my trust in your brand? As a marketing professional, I get the significance of brand value....and it looked like Land's End did, too, because they deleted my tweet. But that was the wrong way to protect their brand because that doesn't make a brand ambassador out of me.
Then, I blogged about it, and other people responded that they too had had the same issue with stock and catalogs, and they also commented that this was surprising because Land's End prided themselves on customer service--and I agreed. They did.
Then, after a few more tweets from me saying that Land's End had deleted their tweet, which felt like a big slap in the face, I got this from them:
@sierragodfrey We are sorry our response is gone. Wld you like us to assist you in finding a possible alternate prod? Again we apologize.
Note: this still shows up in Tweetdeck, but not on my tweetstream on Twitter.com and not on Land's End tweetstream, either. You could say they deleted it but I don't actually know. Maybe there's a way to hide tweets.
I had no response to this tweet, anyway, since it didn't address any of my concerns.
So what were my concerns? After thinking about it a few days it came down to two for me:
- I felt like a little person vs. a large corporation who could do and say whatever they wanted, and it would be hidden. I felt small.
- What did I want? I wanted the pants, yes. But most of all, I wanted Land's End to learn a lesson. I definitely didn't think this was remotely possible.
So I let the matter lie, because who cared?--certainly not Land's End. I took down my blog post about the situation because I felt that ultimately my little bout of online shouting didn't matter at all--no matter that I thought my grievance was totally legitimate. I also didn't think it necessarily belonged on this blog.
So imagine my surprise when yesterday I got a package in the mail-- from Land's End.
I sure knew I hadn't ordered anything. But this was a small little package. Here it is:
Yep, that's a box of pearls with a handwritten note from them saying:
Between our chain of exchanges we messed up and want to make it up to you. Please accept this chain of pearls as a token of our sincerest apologies.
your friends at Land's End"
I want to point out a few things here:
- This was a handwritten note.
- They researched me to do this. They looked at my blog and then found my name in their database--which isn't Godfrey.
- This did this immediately-- I blogged and tweeted about all this Monday, May 13, and I got the box Saturday May 18.
- They did not ask me to blog or tweet about this.
I thought this was pretty classy.
So here we have a company that messed up -- but they didn't have to do anything. I'm little, they're big. But they did. In the end, they stuck to their brand value of customer service, and reached out to me.
I could have tossed the box over my shoulder and said, "Ha! Too little, too late." I knew that they knew I'm active on twitter and that I blog, and that I was likely to mention this. But I might not have, either. That's a chance they were willing to take. I wanted to talk about it because this is a success story. They didn't say, as so many companies do, "We know you were upset, so here." They flat out said, "We messed up."
That's cool in my book.
So, Land's End, which I expect will read this since you've got me on your radar, kudos to you.
You did everything I wanted and you emerged with class. Nice job.
*Here is the complete Amy's Baking Co story, and it should have links to the show on You Tube as well.