Make The Customer A Winner
There is a Williams-Sonoma customer who was abandoned a few years back when the company decided to close the store he normally shopped at. Other than a sign on the old door, the company apparently did not think it worthwhile to attempt to retain him. Or assumed he would automatically perform the steps necessary to shop at the next most convenient location.
I doubt it was personal - large multi-national organizations do not normally organize to conspire against a single individual except in the movies. But it might be fruitful to think about what might have been done.
Behind Door #1
The most likely explanation is that this occurred due to nobody at Williams-Sonoma even thinking about doing something about all these stranded customers.
One way to maintain a customer focus is to utilize a technique called “voice of the customer”. This is a business process management technique which can be implemented in a number of ways – personal interviewing, focus groups, surveys, etc.
Analyzing the data thereafter obtained may take the form of Kano analysis (see my last Technorati post for an example of a Kano diagram), a “House of Quality”, or other such tool. Customer requirement metrics may also be a part of a SIPOC diagram.
Behind Door #2
Another cause might have been a data management issue. After all, he continued to receive the catalog, so they knew the name and address.
Continued on the next page
But perhaps the database was established such that it could not be searched or queried appropriately to draw out an “impacted customer list” for a store closing. Maybe the distance to the three closest stores was not a database field. Maybe a companion data set that could hold or calculate that field could not be integrated, merged or linked cost-effectively.