Jingle All The Way and the Customer Experience


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A time-honoured truth is that people may forget your words and even your actions – but they never forget how you made them feel. This is especially true when it comes to Christmas presents giving.

With the holiday season behind us, I’m still reflecting on a shopping experience I had that mirror’s Arnold Schwarzenegger’s story in the 1996 movie Jingle All the Way.

The film vividly portrays the real-life frustrations of two rival fathers as they desperately compete for a Turbo-Man action figure for their son’s on last-minute Christmas Eve shopping spree. As gifts for my friends I wanted to purchase three bottles of perfume. I bought two bottles of perfume at a busy London shop. Despite the overwhelming customer traffic, the staff employees took the time to wrap my gifts. Unfortunately they did not have a third perfume in stock, so the next day I visited their shop in another city in UK. Not only did the staff not offer to wrap the perfume for me—they outright refused to wrap it for me when I asked them and were ready to walk out of the deal. This not only showed the lack of 1) consistency across the chain and 2) emotional intelligence in their staff but also 3) long term view of the customer from their store managers.

Yet it was the experience with a shoe retailer that was most similar to the Schwarzenegger movie. They did not have my brother’s shoe size in store and so I ordered online and paid extra for a 24 hour delivery as I was about to fly back to Bulgaria for Christmas. As it did not arrive within 24 hours and the tracking number did not provide any update on the second day, I looked for a number to call them on. Guess what? The retailer hid it! I managed to find out after a Google search that they use a subcontractor for deliveries. I called the subcontractor and understood that I wouldn’t be getting my delivery even 48 hours after the order. After another search I found the retailer’s number and called them too. I was number 23 in the queue and after an hour wait I spoke with the representative. I asked that they transfer the delivery to my address in Bulgaria since they couldn’t deliver it on time here… but they refused. They also refused to look for the nearest store that has the shoes in stock for me. As this retailer is virtually a monopoly in the sneakers market in UK, I ended up calling two of their stores and visiting two other stores before I could manage to buy what I wanted.

Again this experience showed the lack of emotional understanding of this retailer. Going back home without a Christmas present for the loved ones is an experience that will mark your relationship with that company for years ahead. However, in this case I was not surprised to receive this sort of treatment as companies in close to monopoly position tend to be transactional at best. Being transactional is not necessarily a bad thing in terms of short term financial performance as you can make money as long as customers do not have options. I was stuck in my Christmas shopping rush. However there is more risk associated with it as customers, like me, are happy to switch to a competitor when the opportunity arises.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Zhecho Dobrev
Zhecho Dobrev is a Senior Consultant at Beyond Philosophy with 7 years of management consultancy experience and more than10,000 hours devoted to becoming an expert in customer experience management. He has worked with a wide range of sectors and countries. Some of his clients includeCaterpillar, FedEx, American Express, Heineken, Michelin etc. Zhecho's expertise includes conducting customer research on what drives customer behavior, journey mapping, customer complaints, measurement, training and more. He holds an MBA and Master's degree in International Relations.


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