Today Show Fail, Part II – Getting it Right


Share on LinkedIn

Some of you might have seen my rant against the Today Show’s Steals & Deals for promoting amazing deals that were virtually impossible to get. Guess what? I wasn’t alone in my frustration. This particular episode that aired on November 2nd, 2010 raised the ire of many consumers who tried to purchase the XOXO jacket or the Tahitian pearl set and wound up angry…and empty-handed. Just check out the comments section of my post and you’ll get a sense for just how dissatisfied consumers were with the experience.

Today Show Steals & DealsI don’t think the Today Show knew how much strain on the system its deals would cause. Nor do I think they adequately prepared the individual retailers. But I don’t think they should stop the concept altogether; it’s a great idea and people love bargains. The Today Show, (and the supporting retailers), however, need to focus on the customer experience for the sake of their brand.

So rather than harp on what didn’t work, here are four suggestions for increasing consumer satisfaction and minimizing brand erosion. I hope you’re listening, Today Show Steals & Deals:

1. Establish a centralized ordering system.
The Today Show takes the brunt of the anger and frustration because it serves as the promotion vehicle for the Steals & Deals offers. The popular NBC show might want to consider a centralized method of ordering so that the purchase process is controlled, uniform across offers and more easily managed. By handling the back-end (order management, fulfillment, shipment), the Today Show “owns” the consumer relationship and isn’t reliant on the retailer to deliver the optimal customer experience.

Too big a shift? Consider a registration process that allows consumers to queue up via the Today Show website. Product registrations then could be routed to the individual retailers for purchase and fulfillment.

2. Prepare the retailers.
The Today Show segment producers really need to properly vet the retailers to ensure they have the resources to handle volume spikes. In the words of a commenter on the Today Show site, “‘C’mon Jill and The Today Show-If these company’s (sic) can’t handle Today Show viewers, they should’nt (sic) be on your show as one of the “deals”!”
The show can use historical data can serve as a benchmark to better prepare the retailers for the inevitable influx of orders, a result of having their products featured on the most popular morning television show. But the burden must be shared and the retailers need to get their own houses in order. Their Marketing and Merchandising departments need to work closely with IT well in advance of the Today Show promotion to ensure activity spikes (e.g., web and call center) can be absorbed. In other words, do your due diligence before putting your brand’s reputation on the line.

3. Add additional channels.
For the Steals & Deals show I referenced above, consumers were encouraged to visit the retailers’ websites or call 800 numbers to take advantage of the deals. But with the proliferation of smartphones, these same companies could consider investing in mobile sites with one-click ordering or allowing people to text in a particular code to register for the deal, guaranteeing their order. And they should consider Interactive Voice Response (IVR). A Quaero client uses IVR technology to allow customers to easily order products using their phone’s keypad. It greatly reduces the burden on the call center and saves the client big bucks. Adding additional channels could help alleviate traffic to a single location and make the deals accessible, thus improving overall customer satisfaction.

4. Map the Experience.
In today’s world, an ideal customer experience isn’t a “nice to have” but a necessity. A poor customer experience can have disastrous consequences – brand erosion, dissatisfied customers, loss in sales – just as a good one can be highly beneficial. Companies should spend time mapping out their ideal customer experience, identifying potential “off ramps” and critical decision points. Then, they can determine which channels, programs and promotions best meet the needs of their customers. Maybe it’s not a highly visible opportunity like Steals & Deals.

4. Most importantly, communicate. Customers will tolerate delays only if they’ve been told about them. The Today Show and its associated retailers should make sure they communicate how they’re going to handle product shortages and shipping delays; this can’t fall solely on the shoulders of the retailers. The Today Show, as the promoter, has a responsibility to their audience. It should communicate the retailers’ policies on its own website. Doing so could yield a positive result: consumers are often more satisfied with an experience where a mishap occurred and was handled well than they are with an experience where no mishap occurred at all.

Image Source: “Jill’s Steals & Deals – http:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek
Michelle BB brings almost 20 years of technology marketing and marketing services experience to Quaero as the Executive VP of Sales & Marketing. She channels her experience as a consultant into the role of chief evangelist, helping companies understand how to make their data work for them, not against them. Michelle earned her Master's degree from Simmons College.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here