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Bag Borrow or Steal Chief Executive Russ Blain sent a note to his customers last week. In short, it said “We can do better.”
The business gives customers access to about 2,000 styles of handbags from 50 brands, allowing them to rent the bag on a weekly or monthly basis. The inventory ranges from a $198 Michael Kors ‘Camo’ Zip Top Tote that rents for $12 a week to a Hermes Porosus Crocodile Birkin 30 Satchel that retails for $42,000 and rents for $1,632 a week.
Blain joined 8-year-old, Seattle-based Bag Borrow or Steal about two years ago.
“I came in and said, ‘There are a lot of things that are complicated about our site. It’s just wrong,’” Blain said.
The company previously charged a membership fee for access to its service. In his letter to customers last week, Blain announced a change: free membership, free insurance to cover normal wear and tear and free shipping start immediately.
The impetus for the changes was the voice of customers. Blain took the time to listen. In fact, he read more than 20,000 survey responses and took them to heart.
“I spent a lot of time talking to women,” Blain said. “Some had been to the website, some had not. I would watch them interact and when they got to the sign up process…we lost them.”
The company previously required users to enter their email address for access to the site.
“I took that down,” Blain said. “I felt strongly that we live and die by the quality of our product. Customers need to come on board and experience the product. Since the simplification, we’ve seen a lot of new customers. I think we hit something here. It’s a way simpler process for them now.”
Blain is still listening to customers, using the feedback to delight customers with access to the hottest handbags and accessories of the season. “I share those comments with the entire company once a week,” he said.
“It’s a cultural shift. We’re all talking about the customer.”
There’s this occasional moment where you find yourself in front of a stranger holding a brilliant bouquet of long-stem roses. And, then there’s the split second later when you realize the roses are for you.
Each Valentine’s Day, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM President Chris McCann gets to be the stranger, arm full of flowers, waiting for a smile.
“My brother [Chief Executive Jim McCann] and I go out and make deliveries every year and people are surprised,” McCann said. “They say, ‘You’re making deliveries?’ But we want everyone to make deliveries. It’s important to see personally how consumers react.”
When an employee was slated to begin work with the company last year on Feb. 15, McCann encouraged him to start a day early if he really wanted to understand the company mission.
“He described a delivery in a not-so-nice neighborhood that put a big smile on a women’s face,” McCann said. “He said it was the best thing in the world.”
And, that’s the 1-800-FLOWERS business. “What we have learned is that our customers come to us not just because they want to send a gift, but because they want us to deliver a smile to someone. It’s not necessarily flowers or chocolate or wine…we’re in the business of smiles.”
That’s the kind of attitude that helps a company attain the STELLAService ELITE seal. 1-800-FLOWERS proudly displays their ELITE seal on the homepage.
It’s a great accomplishment for a business full of complexities. For instance, those roses in your Bieber Fever Bouquet likely traveled from South American field to flower shop within 36 hours. And, they’re among more than 11.2 million stems delivered by 1-800-FLOWERS on Valentine’s Day alone.
“There are lots of things that can go wrong,” McCann said. “The thing I’m most proud about is that when something does go wrong we bend over backwards to make it right with the customer. It’s not just a transaction. It’s an emotional occasion.”
STELLAService has assembled a list of its ELITE and EXCELLENT rated stores in categories popular for Valentine’s Day gifts. It’s an easy way to make sure Cupid’s arrow is on the mark.
STELLAService Top Rated Sites For Valentine’s Day Shopping
For Something Floral
For Something Shiny
Think Outside Of The Chocolate Box
First and foremost, Happy Customer Service Week! Regardless of your industry, it’s important to step back every once in a while to recognize the people who – day in and day out – help resolve customer problems and generally try to make life easier for all of us.
To that end, we found one company that has decided to commemorate Customer Service Week in the most ironic way we could image: by providing worse-than-normal customer service!
The customer care team at O.co (also known as Overstock.com) is taking some time off this week in honor of the quasi holiday. As a result, O.co customers are left “celebrating” Customer Service Week with longer call hold times and increased wait times to reach an agent via live chat, as warned by O.co’s Contact Customer Service page…
Don’t get us wrong – we wish O.co’s customer care team the best, and we think ALL great customer service professionals should be recognized and rewarded for their hard work. We just found it strange that a company would commemorate great customer service with, well…worse customer service.