In what practical ways are today's retailers responsive to the needs of their customers? These programs reflect an industry-wide concern for the problems discussed in the preceding article
lack Levy and Bill Weil review replies to questionnaire.
For the past three years, the Denver chain of Fashion Bar stores has mailed a questionnaire to each of its 90,000 charge account customers. The survey has invited comment on store policy in such areas as business hours, location of stores, customer service, and charge account practices. Those who check off the yes and no questions and return the questionnaire to the store receive a $5 gift certificate for being a "Director-for-a-Day."
Is $5 times a potential 90,000 worth the effort? It is according to chairman jack Levy. More than 35,000 customers returned the questionnaire during the three-week program last August, and business increased from 15 to 20 percent each day. Rather than redeem the certificate for a $5 "free" gift, as some anticipated, customers actually ran up an average $15 sales check,
But the idea was more than a promotion. "It started," says lack Levy, "when we decided to ask our customers if they agreed with our policy of being closed on Sunday. And they have agreed each year. But we have learned a lot more. Favorite subjects have been escalating prices, better quality merchan-dise, less 'kooky' women's fashions, and the quality of sales help."
Most revealing of all have been written responses to optional questions. "I was appalled," wrote one woman, "at a lady shoe clerk wearing a garment with a bare midriff. I shall henceforth request a clerk in decent garb or pass department by." People like the opportunity to let off steam, says Jack Levy, "and we know we are not always right." In fact, up to 400 of these comments prompt a reply each year from him or president William Weil.
The results, in terms of goodwill, increased efficiency, and higher sales traffic, are an invaluable asset in helping Fashion Bar meet its competition in the Denver area.