Old Navy: Great Prices and Great Customer Service

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With the many options for a retail experience, there is much competition between companies to provide an excellent experience. Not only do customers want to have a good experience, but also be provided with competitive prices. I get that there are high end retailers that consumers will choose for their intangible benefits, however there are also many customers who want to be able to pick out outfits for the whole family, with a decent price, while also receiving good quality and recent trends from the industry.

Image result for old navyI decided to highlight Old Navy specifically in this blog post, because of a recent memorable experience my mom and I had while shopping there. One of the many benefits that Old Navy provides are deals and discounts, which can be combined many times. My mom had received a birthday discount, and also had a coupon for $20 off of a $50 purchase. Once we finished up with our shopping we headed to check out. The discounts were scanned, however they weren’t combining (even though the birthday discount said it can be combined with any offer). The cashier called for additional assistance and the shift manager was happy to honor both discounts.

Even though this only resulted in an $8 additional discount, it was more meaningful that Old Navy as a company, respects their customers and wants to make the shopping experience as pleasant as possible. Instead of holding up the line to figure out all of the details of the coupons, the manager just made it right in the moment. Which I believe is key to standing out, and ensuring customer loyalty. My mom and I will absolutely continue to be Old Navy customers, and I am happy to write about the amazing experience that they provide.

Image result for GAPOld Navy is owned by GAP, which is also has the brand names Banana Republic and Athleta. I headed to Old Navy’s customer service page, where they also provide a user friendly platform for customers. They have a two column website, where they provide many options if a customer needs to contact them including; phone numbers, address in case you would like to write them a letter, as well as help in regards to their company credit card.

They highlight the top customer questions at the top of their page which are as follows:

  • How do I return or exchange an item I bought?
  • What’s the status of my order?
  • Can I track the shipment of my order?
  • Can I change or cancel my order?
  • How do I enter a promo code for an online purchase?

Old Navy has a very customer focused service website and makes it clear that they are there to help with whatever question or concern you may have. Simplicity helps companies to stand out, especially in regards to the customer service part of your site. Because consumers want to be able to solve their question or concern quickly and easily.

Have you shopped at Old Navy? What was your experience like? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Photo Credit: Old Navy Logo, Store Front, GAP Logo

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Alexandra Cappucci: GM Discusses The Great Full Gardens Experience

Image result for great full gardensIn the food and beverage industry providing excellent customer service is one of the key differentiating factors to ensure success of your company. Along with providing excellent food, the customer wants a memorable experience that they will share with their friends and family. I recently had the opportunity to interview a close friend, Alexandra Cappucci, who is the current General Manager for the South Reno Great Full Gardens location.

We talked a little about her background, as she is a fellow graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno. Alex has lived in Reno, Nevada for the past ten years and began working for the Midtown location of Great Full Gardens in August of 2013. She started as a server, and held this position for about six months, before transitioning into a management role. She transferred and became the General Manager for the new South Reno location which opened in October of 2016.

I asked her a little bit about what her thoughts were for the locations goals and mission. Her personal mission for the company is to, “create a restaurant concept where everyone feels safe and welcome, no matter their dietary preferences.” She discussed how many people create relationships over food. It is a place to have food and drinks with family and friends.

One thing that differentiates Great Full Gardens from other restaurants are the diverse food options they provide which increases the customers satisfaction. Alex discussed how you can bring an entire family to eat, while everyone is able to find something that aligns with their dietary preference, whether they are vegan, vegetarian, or a meat lover. They can all share the experience together and leave happy and full.

One of Alex’s personal experiences with the restaurant that she enjoys the most is serving kids who may have a dietary allergy. They can come and feel welcome and enjoy foods with their friends and family and feel as though they are part of the group. They have had kids come in and celebrate their birthdays with friends and have the ability to feel like a kid, while finding food options that they can actually eat and enjoy. She enjoys making a healthy impact on children, while also providing them with an amazing experience.

In order to follow through on the customer service side of the business I asked Alex about some of the training that goes into creating the awesome culture they have. She discussed one of the main focuses is initially finding employees with the right fit. Having someone memorize a menu or work a computer is easy, but it takes certain individuals to fit with the culture and connect with the guest.

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Great Full Gardens calls the hiring process an “audition.” The audition process lasts 3-4 hours, where the applicant can see what goes on behind the scenes, and how the team works. They can see the chemistry the employees have with the customer. This is a mutual decision where both the restaurant and applicant need to mutually decide if it is a good fit, which furthers the strong culture of the company.

Once completing the audition the new hire undergoes training of every position, and completes modules. There is a lot expected of employees, where they have to study and complete a test before working on the floor by themselves. Modules allow the team to be prepared and also allow the guest to feel safe and welcome. Employees need to be extremely knowledgeable about the foods being prepared and served. Being aware of what items are gluten, dairy free, paleo, or affect allergies to name a few are helpful to the customer. Many customers with different dietary restrictions and allergies can all find something to eat and enjoy on the menu.

Great Full Gardens is an amazing local restaurant, and talking to Alex gave a better sense of how they are able to provide such an amazing experience for their guests, along with continuing their strong culture. Next time you’re in the Reno area, make sure to make a stop by Great Full Gardens, you won’t be disappointed!

Photo Credit: Great Full Gardens Logo, Alex Cappucci, Great Full Gardens Seating

Movie Theaters Are Increasing The Experience They Provide

Image result for movie theaterThe Social Age has changed the way people are able to access movies, music, television shows, and other sources of media. People used to have to head to a movie theater if they wanted to see the newest feature film. However, today many people wait for movies to be released digitally. No longer are movie theaters the go to for a movie experience.

This can be difficult for an industry, because many times theaters are not filled to capacity and they are losing sales each and every day. Millennials and the dominance of smart phones, make it difficult for many to sit through an entire movie without checking their phone for an update. This has obviously become a problem over the last decade or so, because every time you go to see a movie there is a screen telling everyone to turn off or silence their phones before the movie begins.

Image result for movie theater popcornMany people also are reluctant to pay the excessively high prices for food and beverages, which is one of the biggest sources of profit for many theaters. Most of the profit from the ticket sales, go back to the movie studios. These companies are relying on people to buy the concessions to keep the business running.

In order to combat the pressure of the ever changing expectations from the customer, many movie theater companies have been increasing the experience they provide in order to entice consumers to come back for more. Expanding concession options have gone from the typical popcorn and soda, to offering ice cream, numerous brands of candy, and even offering alcoholic beverages like beer and wine.

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Fandago has started changing out the interior of their theaters, and have turned some of their larger theaters in Luxury+. These theaters have extra wide aisles, leather seats, and the option to recline the seat as well. This allows the customer to enjoy the movie as if they were at home. No longer do customers have to sit side by side, cramped into a theater, which is never filled to capacity anyways.

This is an extremely smart idea, because instead of quantity the focus has turned to quality. Providing a memorable and comfortable experience for the customer. Many even allow the customer to choose their seats ahead of time, also eliminating the pressure of finding the right seat. Creating a stress free and fun experience.

What other ways do you think movie theaters can improve the customer experience? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Photo Credit: Seating, Popcorn, Fandango

Bank of America Created a Stress Free Experience

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When it comes to people’s finances, safety and security protection are huge deciding factors on where consumers will do their business. Banks across the world have the intense pressure of maintaining customers’ confidentiality and protecting their assets for them. This is all part of the customer experience and service they provide. A customer needs to be reassured that the bank they keep their money in will keep them protected, otherwise why would anyone use their services at all. This is part of the financial industries customer service practice.

Image result for debit card fraudI decided to recognize Bank of America in this blog post, because I recently dealt with fraud to my account with them. This is not something that has ever happened to me before, so I was shocked when I realized that somehow, someone got the information to my debit card. Thankfully, it was only used for a small transaction amount, but just knowing that someone had access to my card was enough to cause stress and anxiety.

Thankfully, Bank of America has securities protocols in place to alert when activity on my account is made. I elected to have email notifications when any of my accounts with them are used to purchase something online, over the phone, or wherever a merchant would need to key in my card numbers. This was how I was instantly alerted that someone had used my card number electronically to make a purchase. I logged into my account and was easily able to find a help number, to contact since I didn’t recognize the transaction.

Once I called the number I answered a few questions and was alerted that the hold time was about fifteen minutes, but in this situation I was willing to wait because it involved my financial security. However, Bank of America provided a great option to leave my phone number and they will have someone call you back once you are next in line; instead of having to wait on the phone. Another great customer experience option.

Image result for fraud protection bank of americaI received a call back in a timely manner, and the employee was extremely educated and knew how to handle the situation quickly and efficiently. We went through a series of questions to help identify the situation, and I was notified that my account would be monitored for the following ten days, as well as instant closure of that card. She filed my claim, and said a new card would be shipped to me in a week, which I received.

I felt the stress melt away instantly, because this situation was handled so efficiently by Bank of America. I thank them for protecting my accounts, and ensuring my financial security with them. Bank of America provided an amazing customer experience and I am happy to continue by business with them.

Have you ever had to deal with fraud to your bank accounts? How did the company you do business with handle the situation? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Photo Credit: Bank of America, Debit Card, Secure

Walmart: Do They Value Customer Service

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Walmart is an extremely successful company, known for its low prices and breadth of products they offer. I guarantee almost everyone has made a trip in there for one reason or another, whether you wanted to or not. Their low prices keep the customer coming back for more, which is a good thing, because if it was solely on their service they provide many people may opt for a different option. Companies can’t be great at everything, and Walmart does many things right. However, when it comes to their customer service and experience they provide the consumer they are less than stellar.

Walmart for the most part doesn’t offer a horrible experience, but usually their stores seem to be understaffed with employees who aren’t necessarily going out of their way to help. As a previous retail guest experience manager I know the ups and downs the customer service industry has to provide, and one of the keys to success is making sure the customer is heard when they have a problem. Timely feedback is essential. Even if the feedback isn’t timely it is crucial. No feedback in the Social Age is unacceptable.

Image result for long lines at walmartNormally I have a fine experience at Walmart; I find what I need for a great price. However, this past holiday season my mom and I made a trip to Walmart that was less than thrilling. There were only a handful of registers open, and the lines were extremely long, reaching back into the clothing. Many people around us were complaining, one man looking for a manager. I understand the pressure of holiday crowds. However, what was the worst part was there were two employees standing and watching for over ten minutes before finally deciding to jump on a register to help out with the lines.

Image result for bad customer serviceProactively deciding not to help during a rush time where customers are angry will only lead to a negative experience and likelihood of giving a poor review. I have never given a bad review, but this time I had to take the survey provided at the bottom of the receipt. I answered the questions and offered a detailed description of what happened. Months have gone by and I have never been contacted by their customer service team to address my complaint.

I wrote a couple of previous blogs about how to treat your customer, and being sincere in your response. However, giving no feedback leaves a different kind of lasting impression in the customer’s mind that the company doesn’t even care to address a concern when it is brought to their attention. With the Social Age there are so many different kinds of opportunities for companies to interact with the customer. Many of these are quick and easy and don’t take too much time out of the day, but make a huge impression on the customer.Image result for bad customer service

Like I said, Walmart does numerous things right, but in this example they failed to follow up on a negative customer experience. What have been your experiences at Walmart? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Photo Credit: Walmart, Long LinesSurvey, Service Matters

Wendy’s: Customer Engagement Gone Viral

Image result for wendysThe Social Age has provided companies with many new ways to provide an excellent customer experience. Not only can companies reach out or advertise in many new ways, but they can also interact and engage with customers easily. When a company really hits the mark, then most likely they will reach viral status. Companies can go viral for both negative and positive interactions, but when they do something great they will increase customer loyalty, and also get some free marketing through social media and the consumer doing the marketing for them.

Wendy’s has recently come into the spotlight for their customer engagement Tweet that has since gone viral over Twitter and the internet. This is a great example of when companies engage their customer, they not only excite consumers, but get their brand name out to the masses.

Here is the Tweet posted by Carter Wilkerson, which started it all:Image result for carter wilkerson

  • “Yo @Wendys how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?”

Surprisingly, Wendy’s decided to comment back, their Twitter is known for hilarious interactions and comments. Here is what they had to say:

  • “18 Million” to which Carter replied; “Consider it done”

Carter then pinned this conversation with the Tweet, “HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS.” This was posted on April 5, and since then he has reached over 3.6 million retweets, which is now record breaking.

Image result for ellen degeneres and carter wilkersonThe previous record holder, Ellen DeGeneres, who had the famous Oscar selfie, which currently has just over 3.4 million retweets, invited Carter to be on her show, which heightened the competition and social media frenzy around this Tweet. Other large companies jumped in and have since Tweeted at Carter, encouraging others to help him reach his goal.

#NuggsForCarter has since taken Twitter by storm. Carter now has a website where t-shirts are being sold and proceeds are going to charity.

As a Reno area local, it is great to see a local high school student from our area gain this kind of recognition and viral status. Wendy’s did it right in terms of customer engagement, and all it took was a simple reply. Companies can get a mass amount of free marketing when engaging through social media platforms.

Head to the internet and search for #NuggsForCarter and check out his website for more information!

Photo Credit: Wendy’s, Carter, Ellen

Oreo: Customer Engagement Winner with #MyOreoCreation

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Companies are always looking for the next big way to delight and excite their customers. Providing a cutting edge experience or impression is the key way to stand out against competitors in this ever changing Social Age. In order for a company to truly engage their customers taking to social media with viral videos, ads, or hashtags is the way to get the consumers attention. With the lightning fast presence that social media platforms provide, this is the way to go if you want your newest trend to spread like wild fire.

Image result for my oreo creation contestThis brings me to the newest viral engagement trend that Oreo recently came out with. They are not only engaging consumers to interact with them over social media platforms, but are willing to pay you for your contribution! The #MyOreoCreation contest is the newest thing to hit the internet in the past couple of weeks, and the amount of engagement they have received is outrageous.

Here is a quick overview of what this contest is about:

  • Create an idea for the next Oreo flavor
  • Share your flavor, creation, or inspiration
  • Submit by text, Twitter, Instagram, register online
  • Respond to Oreo social posts
  • Use the hashtags #MyOreoCreation and #Contest
  • Just like that you are entered to win $500,000 if chosenImage result for my oreo creation contest

This is truly a completely viral way to engage your customers and get them excited about interacting with your brand. I guarantee more people will be thinking about Oreo’s than they were a month ago. In the Social Age contests like this are what excite consumers and increase their loyalty to your brand. You are empowering the consumer to come up with the next great flavor, so they are now not only a consumer, but a creator as well.

Oreo is known for its seasonal or limited time only flavors like; S’mores, Strawberry Shortcake, Brownie Batter, Cotton Candy, Pumpkin Spice and Red Velvet. So it makes sense to get the customer involved in coming up with their next interesting and enticing flavor choice. Not only does this engage the customer, but will bring in profits for the company once the winning flavor is released.

With this viral customer engagement plan, of course I had to brainstorm my own flavor to submit to Oreo’s contest. With the help of my wonderful mom we came up with a beach time Oreo: coconut vanilla cookie with slightly salted turquoise crème, inspired by the sweet and salty atmosphere by the ocean.

What is your Oreo creation? Head to Twitter and let Oreo know, before time runs out!

Photo Credit: Oreo, Contest, Oreo Package