Big Box Store Turns Ho, Ho, Ho into No, No, No

Black Friday is traditionally a shopper’s grand dream. However, it’s not surprising that, sometimes, the dream turns into a holiday nightmare — at least it did for the giant retailer Target. The trouble started with a price reduction misprint in a Target ad for a particular TV. The trouble then escalated because of the heavy volume of shopping that happens on Black Friday. The trouble then turned into a nightmare when Target employees lied about the mistake by telling customers the TV was sold out.Target ad crop

What could have been a great opportunity for Target to turn around a bad customer service experience simply escalated out of control — damaging Target’s reputation and customer loyalty.

View the full video posted by USA Today on 12/2/2013 by clicking the picture to the right.

What would you have done if YOUR store had printed an incorrect advertisement?

Strategies that Turn it Around:

How to turn a marketing typo into an opportunity:

1. Assess the monetary impact of the error.

a. Will the increase in sales volume make up for the pricing error? If so, honor the price as advertised.
b. Can you offer an equivalent product at the reduced price?
c. Can you give an extra bonus or two if customers pay the original price?

2. You MUST apologize immediately to each and every customer who asks to purchase the particular product that was not priced correctly. Dedicate a store employee to camp out near the item and sincerely apologize for the mistake – while offering other viable options.

3. Whatever you do, don’t lie! Tell the truth. You’d be amazed at how positively most of your customers will respond.

Remember: People (usually) understand that mistakes occur. The sooner you honestly communicate a problem and try your best to compensate for your error, the faster you can work toward maintaining your reputation and the easier you will continue building a loyal following. And that is something that your company can ho, ho, ho about all year long

What would YOU do (or have done) if YOUR company accidentally advertised incorrect low prices on a marketing piece? Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

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