Target’s Customer Service Debacle Over Popular Designer Missoni


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Retail chain Target had an interesting week. They launched a special designer collection from Missoni, who typically sells in upscale boutiques and retail fashion stores. The response was, at a minimum, amazing.

Apparently hundreds of customers were lined up outside of the stores, waiting for them to open in anticipation of being first to get the fashion designers clothes at a steep discount. As customers ran through the store, they quickly sold out. The online experience was similar; so many customers that the website crashed and merchandise was sold out.

Was it a customer service debacle?

In the world of retail, good items that are in demand and are priced right will sell well. Discount those items and they sell more. In a perfect world, inventory will match demand. Unfortunately, the demand for the Missoni merchandise at Target was overwhelming and they quickly ran out. Apparently, from what I’m reading about the situation, that’s a good thing for Target and a bad thing for some customers.

Here is my take. Bravo for Target as they continue to upgrade their image and their merchandise. They have worked hard to broaden their customer base across social and financial demographics. This is another step in the right direction.

Most customers are smart enough to realize that retailers can run out of their merchandise. It happens. Target customers who were too late to the stores walked away disappointed. Online customers are being told that some orders will be delayed and in some cases canceled. And unfortunately, some customers will be unhappy, even angry, about it.

As for customer service, let’s watch how Target handles it. I’m betting on Target. It is not their goal to upset their customers. That is not what has kept them in business all of these years. I’m confident that they will do what is necessary. The customer will be told when to expect delivery, or they will be told that their order cannot be fulfilled. Either way, Target must act fast to reset their customers’ expectations. They must inform them of expected delivery dates and meet, if not exceed these expectations. If refunds are the answer, they must act expeditiously.

Someone once said there is no such thing as bad PR. Obviously there are upset customers, complaining directly to Target or leaving comments on various websites. That said, Target has managed to create an awareness and fresh buzz about their stores and their merchandise, thereby continuing to build on their reputation as a mega-retailer focused on selling quality merchandise and creating a positive guest experience.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.


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