Target Steps Up with Extreme Customer Sensitivity
Then, this last weekend, journalists and busy trial lawyers were trying to portray the CEO of Target as a perpetrator with his flawed surprise 10% discount announcement. The result? Target stores were flooded by people looking for bargains. Yes, a tiny handful got angry because there were unexpected exclusions (actually announced the day before and posted in stores) and customers didn't get the discount they should never have expected, and weren't entitled to. Naturally, those were the stories that appeared on television clips and quoted in local news coverage.
1. Target set the tone of responsibility and extreme customer interaction for events of this nature. I've been through many of these data loss scenarios and Target’s is among the most prompt, the most complete, and the most engaged with their customers of any in my experience.
2. Many local media suffered immediate memory loss regarding Target as an extraordinary victim in this particular case. And I rarely describe corporations as victims; Corporations and their leaders in these scenarios are more likely to be perpetrators.
Instead, the media and a wide variety of public PR commentators spent the weekend working to ding Target for every customer-helping suggestion or idea that was proposed to mitigate customer concerns and anticipate customer fears and questions.
3. Rather than looking at this situation as a whole, the media chose, as they usually do, to examine things incident by incident, circumstance by circumstance and failed to grasp the retailer’s likely overall strategy:
- First to report the situation to the proper authorities and begin cooperating in the investigation in an attempt to catch those responsible before the crooks knew that Target and the authorities were on to them.
- At the same time, to determine the extent of the incursion, and then formulate a series of responses, each of which escalated in their importance and their positive impact on Target customers.
5. The most important facts are these:
- Everybody lived.
- All animals survived.
- The environment remains safe and protected and held harmless by Target and its customers in this circumstance.
- Target gets to pay the bill for everything.
- Do things that matter for those real and potential victims of the circumstance.
- Make additional announcements and add additional protections, comforts, and calming reassurances for customers.
- Surprise customers with acts of generosity (which the media and commentators attempted to portray as a CEO stumble, fumble, and bungle).
- Prepare to endure the effects of bad news, badly reported because one thing Target knows for sure, the customers will keep coming.
One television station wanted to do a stand-up in a Target parking lot, but they couldn’t find a place to park.