Today is June 12, seven weeks since this story was posted.
I received an email from LensCrafter’s Senior Director, Service Quality this morning with an apology.
While I was washing my car a few weeks ago, I decided to stash my glasses inside my pants pocket because they were constantly getting wet from the water that was splashing off the car.
If you wear glasses and wash your car you know what a pain in the you know what this can be. One can elect to spend as much time drying his glasses as he does washing his car or take the preferred route and ditch the glasses until the task is completed.
At about the time when I was aggressively attacking a hard-to-reach area of the roof that stubbornly avoided my best intentions, I heard a “crunch” that came from the area that is the right-hand pocket of my pants. I can only assume that I was so focused on the task at hand that I had forgotten where I tucked my glasses only to discover that I must have broken them while trying to reach the aforementioned area.
I attempted to make them work on a temporary basis with a strip or two of strategically placed Gorilla tape until I could get in to see the optometrist to update my prescription and find new glasses.
My insurance plan had changed since the last time I purchased glasses so I had to find out which retailer accepted it and decided on LensCrafters because they had a couple of styles that I liked and my wife was happy with a recent purchase that she made at their store.
Monday, April 2 – Eye exam completed and next stop LensCrafters.
The LensCrafters salesperson was courteous and knowledgeable and walked me through the selection process until I found frames that suited my taste and then we moved on to a fitting and wrapped up the transaction shortly thereafter.
During the purchase process the salesperson asked me, in addition to the verification of my insurance information, to provide and/or verify my home address, home telephone number, cellular number, and email address. This information was added to my profile and then stored in what I assumed to be their CRM tool.
This is where the deal goes south and the point of my post and that is LensCrafter’s disconnect between the customer and their inability to deliver the type of customer service that I expect and deserve.
No matter what anyone says about their product or service it is a given that somewhere along the line there is always a chance that something can go wrong and the difference between stellar customer service and lip service is how one handles customer service issues when they arise.
In the case of LensCrafters they advertise the following FAQ on their website that flies in the face of what this customer’s experience has been to-date…”Maybe you wonder what sets LensCrafters apart from the rest. It’s pretty simple, really – our unwavering, never-ending commitment to quality glasses and your satisfaction. Every one of our stores nationwide is ready to cater to your eyewear needs, whether it’s new frames or just a simple adjustment. Simply put, we love your eyes. And we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you love everything about your LensCrafters experience from start to finish.” Read on and let me know if you agree with me.
Let’s refer back to the conclusion of my purchase for a moment. Although LensCrafters suggests on their website that they can provide their customers with “a pair of quality eyeglasses in about an hour” my salesperson suggested that due to my prescription and the lenses that I selected, my glasses would take about seven days until my glasses would be ready. In addition they would call me on the cell number that I provided to notify me that my glasses were ready for pick up.
Today is April 23, 21 days since my purchase, not one single phone call from my salesperson or another store representative other than those that I initiated, and no glasses as of this post.
So allow me to share the customer relation steps that I feel should have taken place the minute my credit card was swiped.
- Time to connect – Although my transaction had been completed from a payment standpoint the customer connection should now be in full swing. If you have a CRM tool and you collect a customer’s email address, as LensCrafters does, then put it to good use and send your new customer a thank you note via email and then expand that connection with other information and offers in the future.
- Product tracking – If you are selling a product that will be delivered to your store or place of business then give your salespeople the ability to track the status of a delivery. In this day and age, “I’m sorry”, along with no additional explanation is simply an unacceptable excuse for not having a customer service policy in place that allows one to effectively deal with issues of this nature.
- Red flag – At this point we are now 10 days into the transaction and no glasses. Now there’s a problem and you must shift from order taker to solution maker and do two things. 1 – Call your manufacturer and shake their tree and then follow up with your customer and provide a detailed explanation along with a plan-of-action before he has a chance to call you to find out why you dropped the ball.
- Manufacturer disconnect – Now I’m beginning to wonder if LensCrafters even has a CRM tool because if they did there would be steps and processes in place in order to avoid what now appears to be a complete meltdown. Since no one at the store level can provide a definitive explanation as to where my glasses are and what their best estimation is as to when they will be delivered, this issue has now moved beyond unacceptable. If your product comes from a manufacturer or a third-party it would be prudent for you to get some sort of answer from the manufacturer and then be able to share it, good, bad, or ugly with your customer.
- Get out of your own way – The date is April 19 and LensCrafters is now 17 days behind schedule. This is your last ditch effort to move this issue from the outhouse to the penthouse. If you have an online tool it should have diverted this issue from the store level to someone who has the ability to make this right. “I’m sorry but your order along with other customer orders somehow got lost” is not the excuse your customer is looking for right now. As long as this stays in the hands of a salesperson at the store level you are setting the stage that will surely deliver this customer’s next transaction to your competitor.
- Make it right – When you reach the point where you are 21 days behind scheduled delivery, as we are today, you need to have a plan in place to make things right between your company and your soon-to-be ex-customer. In the case of LensCrafters, I think a full refund is in order and should be issued on the day that my new glasses rest on my nose.
Here are a couple of ideas that will help you to establish a solid foundation for your customer service policy;
- Brainstorm with your employees, manufacturers, business partners, online advocates, and customers on a regular basis and come to some conclusion as to what constitutes good and bad customer service. If you have an Online Reputation Management tool (ORM) then use it to find out what your customers are saying about you as well as what they are saying about your competitors.
- Once you’ve defined what quality service means in your business and to your customers, make a commitment to it. This usually means writing and publishing a customer service policy. It also means sharing it with your employees. You want to empower you employees to be able to respond – they are on the front lines and as such should be capable first responders! Share the details of your customer service policy at all customer touch points. This includes in-store, online, and anywhere else your customers can access your company, product, and services. Use this to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- When you say you are going to deliver something then deliver it when promised. If you can’t then don’t make that promise.
- Provide a “100% Customer Satisfaction Guarantee”. If your customers aren’t satisfied with what they purchased then provide them with a full refund. In the case of LensCrafters provide dissatisfied customers fix the problem and the provide them with a 50% percent off coupon for them or their family or friends to use toward their next purchase.
So what’s your take on this matter and if you were LensCrafters, how would you have handled things differently?