Sunday, November 17, 2013

Take Personal Responsibility for OOSs

When you sit down at your favorite restaurant for dinner, it’s good to be told what items on the menu aren’t available that evening. Better to have everything in stock, but if some dishes aren’t, it’s good to be told before you might make up your mind to have that one. Better to be told by the host who seats you and hands you the menu, but if not then, it’s good to be told by the server early on.
     But in many retail store situations, advising the shopper of every out-of-stock (OOS) at the start won’t work. There are too many items and too many variations of items, such as sizes and colors.
     When you tell the shopper you’re OOS after the shopper’s made a choice, is it better to pin the blame on the store (“We didn’t adequately anticipate the demand”) or blame the supply chain (“Our supplier has been slow”)?
     Tipped off by the post title above, you may have guessed store blame’s better. University of Bologna research supports that choice. The outrage about the outage will be less when the store takes personal responsibility. If the salesperson says, “I didn’t adequately anticipate….,” the shopper irritation is less yet than with, “We didn’t adequately anticipate….” For a big bonus, add, “Here’s what I’ll do to compensate you for the out-of-stock bother, and here’s what the store will do to make this less likely to happen for you and other shoppers in the future.”
     That’s not to say you and your store taking responsibility leaves the supplier unscathed. Stanford University research found that being jilted by OOS’s affects broad brand reputations. Study participants were told they could win Guess sunglasses by completing a word puzzle. Then upon trying to claim their prize, the winner was informed the supply of Guess sunglasses had been exhausted. Later in the study, the winners were asked to rate Guess wristwatches and Calvin Klein wristwatches.
     The experience of being told Guess sunglasses were OOS led to lower ratings of Guess watches and higher ratings of Calvin Klein watches.
     In these past weeks, we’ve seen apparently heartfelt mea culpas and corrective action commitments from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and from President Obama. Consumer behavior research findings would recommend that course as wise considering the Affordable Care Act out-of-service. We’ll see what the lasting effects are on the Obamacare brand.

Click below for more: 
Resolve Customer Complaints Carefully 
Control Out-of-Stock Irritation

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