When a customer experience doesn’t live up to its brand
25.01.10 | Posted in General
When I think of Tiffany & Co, I think Audrey Hepburn. I think elegance and sophistication. I think romance and aspiration. It’d be fair to say that many women (and men) have stood outside the iconic jeweller’s window, dreaming that maybe one day a Tiffany piece will be all theirs.
So what happens when that day comes and you’re left feeling empty and ripped off?
Tiffany & Co is to me the perfect example of a brand not measuring up to its heritage and brand story. A few years ago a friend and I went in there to try on engagement rings. We were as excited as schoolgirls entering the store. Almost immediately we were let down. No one offered to help and when eventually we asked for some service, the assistant was distracted and nonchalant.
I’d almost forgotten that vacant disappointment until this week when I wanted to buy a gift for a client. Thinking that Tiffany would be an ideal place to find this present I jumped online. I found two pieces that would’ve been suitable and picked up the phone to dial the number listed on the site. An American girl (“Hi this is Tiffany”) answered and when I asked her how she was she said, “Good, what can I do for you?” as if trying to rush me off the phone. I took a deep breath and asked about the difference between my two choices.
Again, with her response, I felt brushed off and not looked after. She was disinterested, and the whole time I felt as if I were an inconvenience to her day. I wanted the gift sooner than the 7-10 day delivery period so she gave me the number of my local store.
When I called there, the same thing happened! Complete disinterest (bordering on rudeness!) from the person I spoke with. No friendliness, no shared excitement that I was purchasing from arguably the world’s most famous jewellery brand, no love.
This was in stark contrast to the customer experience my husband and I recently at one of his favourite brands – Deus Ex Machina (www.deus.com.au). This is Mambo founder Dare Jennings’ latest venture and they’ve got it going on. The staff seem engaged and passionate about the brand (it’s a motorcycle/surf culture business) and are happy to have a chat with you. When we were there, the general manager of the flagship store (based in Sydney’s Camperdown) spent a good half hour with us, took us into the workshop and shared the story of how the brand came to be. I suppose they understand that it’s a good investment to engage customers in that story so that then we’ll go and tell it to others. Hmmm, it worked!
Have you had similar experiences where a brand has failed to live up to your expectations; or perhaps a brand has surpassed what you expected? Love to hear your thoughts below.