Sears Sheds Its Customers… Hmmm

I just read a news report yesterday on destinationCRM.com with the title “Sears Outsources Its CRM.” At first I thought it was some sort of double entendre — it must have meant something else. But it turns out that Sears is handing over all of the targeted marketing for its Sears and Kmart brands to OglivyOne.

My take: Sears is not only having financial problems, it’s having customer problems (the latter is likely a key cause of the former). In Forrester’s Customer Experience Index which ranked large firms, Kmart came in 20th and Sears came in 24th out of 27 retailers on the list. So both brands are not meeting the needs of the customers that they already have. To pull itself out of the doldrums, Sears needs to change all aspects of how it deals with customers — from marketing through sales and service. And all of those pieces need to be revamped together (remember the 2nd principle of Experience-Based Differentiation: Reinforce the brand with every interaction, not just communications). So outsourcing a piece of the customer relationship seems like it’s heading in the wrong direction.

The bottom line: In times of trouble, firms should embrace customers relationships not shed them.

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I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

One thought on “Sears Sheds Its Customers… Hmmm”

  1. Sear owes me money since December 31, 2007 when they botched a simple tire problem. I have gotten nothing but excuses for nearly 2 years and they fail to respond to certified letters. I am about to file a legal action. Does anyone have any other ideas on how to get SEARS to pay this bill?

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