Global consumer intimacy
As brands create a presence across multiple channels and markets, how do they ensure quality and remain in close touch with their customers? I just experienced a great example that definitely cemented me as both a loyal customer and, as evidenced in this note – a vocal advocate.
A few months ago I made a purchase at L’Occitane’s airport shop in Kuala Lumpur. After being assured several times by the staff that this could be brought back to Sweden through an Amsterdam transfer, I bought several liquid soaps and creams. When I reached Amsterdam, it was to my disappointment confiscated by customs. One could argue that it was my own responsibility to know the rules and therefore face the consequences, however, since the staff at L’Occitane had so confidently reassured me that it would be no problem, I had put my faith in that.
When I was back in Stockholm I wrote a letter to L’Occitane’s customer service. A few weeks passed by with no answer. I was disappointed, but figured such a large company probably would not take responsibility for individual offices and that my email was lost somewhere. But, to my delight, I eventually received a very friendly email from Hong Kong where a woman offered her sincerely apologies both for the delay in her reply as well as for my inconvenience. A few weeks later I had a shipment from HongKong sent to me. In there was a personally written note with an apology together with a completely new set of soaps and creams as well as some extra gifts! Now THAT’s customer service. But it didn’t end there. They followed up with the sales staff who made the sale to share the story with them. With that, they told me that they weren’t just trying to satisfice me, but that they took my inconvenience seriously and were continuously working to improve the experience of shopping L’Occitane.
Now, when I think of Lóccitane, I don’t think of that frustrating experience at the airport. I think of a brand that understands that creating positive experiences in every brand interaction is critical for success. Global consumer intimacy? I would say so.