February 22, 2016 | Randy Kish

CX Failures this Week: Gap & Panera Bread


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Originally posted on LinkedIn.

Board Room Failures.  Ivory Tower Missteps.  Big Chair Bungles.

Call them what you want, but what sounds good in the board room can fail miserably when translated to store execution.  While most often due to block and tackle sales engagement, it’s also true of basic store signage.  The following two examples are from two retailers who are innovating, but should reconsider their execution from the Customer’s perspective:

The Gap

Little help here? This is a classic failure poorly written signage coupled with a lack of associate knowledge.  “Reserve In Store, Hold Online Ready In Store” – is this Queen’s English? What am I missing here? Where do I go and when?

If an English Major from University from Michigan and an Economics Major from UCLA can’t figure it out — you’re in trouble. Taking a step further, when asking the associate about this new program, they struggled to explain how it worked.

Free advice: Change it to say what it is: “Reserve Online, Pickup In Store” and train your associates on it. The final two yards in execution can determine your success of failure. Score a touchdown.

Panera Bread

Bait and switch. I went to order my Pick 2 and selected the wonderful looking Thai Wonton Soup.

Cashier: “The Thai Wonton Soup is not offered with the Pick 2.”

Its in the picture, so why not? Apparently it counts as two? The funny thing about it is the Manager shared that you can upgrade to it. Buy if its in the picture, why does it cost more? So, not only do I feel cheated, my soup just didn’t taste as good as it would have otherwise.

Free advice: If its in the picture, its in the deal — no exceptions, no price increases. Also, the lovely cashier was new and in training (her badge said so). Please make sure they understand your key promotion — these two are were your “A” team, and customer facing lunch associates.

We should recognize that both The Gap and Panera Bread are innovating in their respective spaces. Its not easy to predict that what looks good on paper will work in the eyes of the customer. Talking to your customer, in a structured and scientific way can help not only guide your strategy, but also monitor your execution.

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About the Author

Randy Kish is a Customer Experience Specialist and Retail Innovation Advocate at ForeSee. He joined the company in 2011, bringing over 20 years of retail experience that started on the selling floor at Nordstrom. Randy crossed over to the software side of the retail industry in 1993 with a primary focus on store operations and retail analytics. A native San Diegan, Randy earned his BA in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and MBA in Finance from San Diego State University.

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