Sears Sheds Its Customers… Hmmm

I just read a news report yesterday on 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 am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

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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