Saturday, December 20, 2008

Clueless in Customer Fulfillment

Every holiday season I share a few supply chain blunders that I personally experience. This year I am picking on The GAP. More specifically, The GAP's more formal chain called Banana Republic. I've been a loyal customer for many years. This year was no different and my girlfriend ordered a dress online, which was then shipped to my parents house in NY (sadly, the company still doesn't offer the ability to ship internationally). This worked out fine as I planned to bring the dress back to Austria with me during a recent visit. To make a long story short, when I arrived back in Vienna, the dress was too big and I shipped it back so my mom could exchange it.

Armed with the online receipt the store manager wouldn't let my mom exchange it for a smaller size. Nor would she give a store credit. The reason, they needed the bar code on the packing slip. This was tossed out with the paper recylables. No matter, I charged it with the Banana Republic LUXE card for loyal customers, customer fullfillment can fix this easy, right? WRONG! For some reason they cannot print another copy of the packing slip. How customer fulfillment management allows this I have no idea. After speaking with Kate in customer service she tells me that the normal process requires me to ship the dress back to them, via UPS, for free to get the credit. Huh? I replay this back for Kate and say, "So you would rather eat the $20 to have this shipped back to you, not to mention pollute the environment more, instead of simply reprinting me the packing slip and emailing it to me so I can return it to the store." She replies, "yes". I should have asked her how this process fits with the company's new green efforts. I told her I won't be return the dress, but I will be returning my GAP stock.

This is what happens when you don't have an integrated, end to end supply chain, where in this case, logistics and customer fulfillment are disconnected.


Travelling Imagination said...

I have grown to like your writing. I follow you closely through RSS feeds.

However, don't you think acheiving this end-to-end streamlining of business goals with customer satisfaction is really hard to acheive? I mean, how does the customer rep care if it is harming the environment. All that she cares is that she follows company rules.

This question has been plaguing me for months now. How exactly do companies acheive this end-to-end integration??

Travelling Imagination said...

I blog on some similar topics.

Christopher Sciacca said...

No its not hard to achieve. The customer rep needs to be tied into the same measurement process as everyone else. She should get a her bonus no only based on customer sat, but based on metrics that measure across end to end, such as cost take out and green supply chain. Then she will care.

Ryan said...

I would love to share my traveling exhibition over the holidays. But fortunately I don’t have the man-hour or the will to complete this lengthy and journal of events. Let just say American airless should go out of business.
Happy Holidays