AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Bodyshop's response - I think it is not good enough

The e-mail came February 24, 2004. It took me some time to read through it and think through it. Finding something positive about it.

Here it is:

"Thank you for writing to us. We appreciate honest feedback from customers as we truly treasure our customers, especially those who are close to us.

I am very sorry that your family's shopping experience at The Body Shop Mid
Valley Megamall recently was a disappointing one.

Although our shop girl should have politely explained how our People membership card works, I would like to bring to your attention that it is stated on the back of the membership card that any balance from the RM35 rebate could not be refunded nor brought forward. As we don't have any 'reduced' vouchers available, our shop girl was not able to offer any other flexible options on the spot.

While it is heartbreaking to dampen the excitement of a little one, please keep in mind that your wife can redeem her rebate anytime within two months of qualification.

Your message has been relayed to the shop manager of The Body Shop Mid
Valley Megamall for immediate action. We always strive to see a satisfied smile on our customers' face and hope that you will return to find we have improved ourselves in our service to you.

Yours sincerely,


I responded to Bodyshop with the follwoing

Thank you for responding to my e-mail and my sincere apologies for my late reply and allow me to outline my points .

I still believe that there is not enough empowerment on side of your employees and a lack of training. Okay, I sure don’t want that the girl is loosing her job but continuing this e-mail exchange and I am not angry with her – she is the most innocent here. And if a lack of training is the consequence of her behaviour, a company is to blame, not the employee. That your shop doesn’t have reduced vouchers or that something is stated at the back of a loyalty card is just not good enough – how many people read it? Or does they understand it? Recall it at the time of purchase?

What I don’t really see is the flexibility of your outlet to respond to customer’s needs and to really have them leave your shop with a smile on their face. Remember, a bad experience is related many times more than good ones, as sad as it is. Today, consumers have plenty of choice for purchases of their products, and to win customer loyalty is harder than ever for retail outlets. I understand that there is plenty of competition, that margins are thin and costs are high on your side, but this is exactly the reason, why employees need to be empowered, and consumers need to be engaged. Bodyshop is already charging higher prices, but attracts a lot of people due to its ambitions and high values. You probably spent millions of dollars to sustain and develop an image via promotions, advertisements and other kind of activities - and this is the result.

In addition, actually, there is no action item in your e-mail - is there any change in your approach to customers? In fact, you push the issue to the customer - that Bodyshop doesn't have the vouchers, that regulations are stated at the back of the membership card. You only state that you hope we will have a better experience the next time around.

You also write about the satisfaction and happiness that you want to create within your customers. Now, for just a moment, imagine the happiness my kid would have had, if your salesgirl would have been empowered to just give him the soap, for free – a loss of less than RM4.00 Imagine, how we as parents would have felt? We would have told the story 10, 20, 30 times, and those who would listen to it would related it further – a real snowball effect. Imagine the positive resonance that would have been for your shop.

Now, just imagine that the opposite happens? I had a good impression of Bodyshop earlier, but now there is a slightly sour taste, whenever I see the shop, read something about it or share stories with others about customer experiences.

Just put yourself into a customer’s shoes and remember the last time you went shopping and had the feeling that something is not quite right? How do you react?

Do you think I am right? Tell me at


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