L.L. Bean proves once again that they are the leaders when it comes to providing exceptional customer service. The National Retail Federation recently released the results of their fifth annual NRF Foundation/American Express Customers' Choice survey, conducted by BIGresearch. This is the third year in a row that Beans has held the top spot. Overstock.com came in second, followed by Zappos, Amazon and QVC. Go Beans " go Maine!
According to a statement released by the NRF, 8,600 consumers were asked to answer this question: "Thinking of all the different retail formats (store, catalog, internet, or home shopping), which retailer delivers the best customer service?" L.L Bean came out on top!
I happened to be in the L.L Bean outlet store recently. As I waited in line to make a purchase I watched as folks approached the counter with returns. The associates working the counter were gracious, accommodating and processed the returns with few questions asked. The customers left satisfied. L.L. Bean has a very liberal return policy and that has created a sense of trust among those who buy from them. I know that if I get something home and change my mind, if it doesn't fit or is defective, L.L. Bean will take it back hassle free.
According to the L.L. Bean Web site, back in 1916 a sign hung on their wall that read, "I don't consider a sale complete until goods are worn out and customer is still satisfied." Today, they stand behind that statement by saying, "At L.L Bean your satisfaction is always guaranteed."
If you own a business, ask yourself if you provide the same level of customer service as the leader, L.L. Bean. Do your customers trust you, your service, your products? Do they feel confident knowing that if something isn't right you will make it right? Granted, there will always be customers who abuse return policies, but they are far outweighed by the benefit of building a loyal base of customers who return again and again because they know they will be taken care of before, during and after the sale. By following the model set by L.L. Bean, your business will stand a good chance of surviving and thriving for many years just as L.L. Bean has.