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From: Jared Hamilton
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Ketty Colom

Ketty Colom Digital Marketing Specialist

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I'm Sorry...

You probably have noticed J.C. Penney's heartfelt apology taking over the airwaves afterjcp i'm sorryposting a 13 billion decline in revenue while trying to attract young customers to their stores.  In this newadvertising campaign, the company admits it made mistakes and alienated many of its longtime customers. The voice-over in its most recent ad, "It's No Secret" states: “Some changes you liked, and some you didn't. But what matters with mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing, to listen to you."


 

What if YOU make a mistake?

 

Admit it--  Managers often look to protect themselves instead of helping the dealership move forward. None of these actions will win back your customers; the only way to get past a mistake is to apologize sincerely and swiftly.

 

Be empathetic--While there are many things outside your control, you can train your staff to practice empathy when the customer is disappointed with an outcome.

 

Open your ears-- When a customer actually takes the time to tell you what’s wrong instead of hiding away and complaining online, is a great opportunity to learn something.Give the customer different options for communicating, including social media, email, phone, text, and regular mail. Make sure there are processes in place to  respond to these the same day.

 

Changes to be made--Tell your customer specific changes that will be made in order to correct a mistake. If you cannot come up with an action plan immediately, get back to the customer in a specific period of time to make sure this is done.

 

Do better--Customers get frustrated if they get repeat apologies for the same mistakes and nothing ever changes.

 

So how does J.C. Penney commercial end?

 

"Come back to J.C. Penney. We heard you; now we'd love to see you," the voice-over states.

 

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What do you think of J.C Penney’s campaign? Would you ever issue a heartfelt apology like this over the airwaves? Comment below! 

Eric Miltsch
It's great that they addressed the issue & made the apology. However it probably could have been avoided if they truly understood the behavior of their customers - they LOVED their physical coupons. Taking away the coupons gave shoppers the perception of greater control over the prices and the comfort of knowing they were getting a good deal. Removing the coupons and simply telling shoppers the prices marked were already the same low price they'd get from a coupon involved more trust - and they weren't abale to provide that trust without the actual coupon. In the end, regardless of the mistake, brands must address the issue ASAP to salvage whatever trust is remaining and begin building it back up as well.
Ketty Colom
Eric, I shopped at JCP before this fair and square price and I even had their CC. But then the moment they stopped offering discounts for using my CC I haven't shopped there. Frankly, I don't even have a desire to start shopping there again. HUGE mistake, HUGE. An apology might be enough for some loyal shoppers, but they're out of luck with me.
Jade Makana
Hi Kelly-Great story! Very juicy topic,too. It's interesting to think how Ron Johnson could have such a magic touch with the Apple store concepts, and then strike out so hard in another retail chain. I have to agree with @ericmiltsch, it seems to come down to a basic issue of not taking the time to understand the customer. It will be fascinating to see what happens next, both with the store and the former CEO.
Ketty Colom
Hi Jade, it's Ketty, not Kelly.....a lot of people make that mistake ;-) I actually can believe he struck out. I mean people who shop at JCP aren't the same people that shop at Apple. And you and eric are right, understand the customer! That's why you need to create buyer personas!
Jade Makana
@ketty, Oops, so sorry. My name is Jade and people always call me Jane and I hate it:) Thanks for your response. Keep up the good work.

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