It was only 3 years ago that we were talking about the Lands’ End famous no-questions-asked return policies. They were the one brand that symbolized amazing customer service.
Lands’ End would take anything back. You could wear a bikini to a paintball convention and return it because it was stained and didn’t provide good protection. Occasionally you’d pay postage, but that was it.
Now we talk about Zappos. Constantly. Same offer, same friendliness. Much, much more brand awareness.
Why aren’t we talking about Lands’ End any more? Not much has changed on their end. My theories:
- Zappos upped the game. Unlimited returns with free shipping is remarkable. Paying for shipping is no longer good enough.
- They aren’t part of the conversation. Lands’ End has completely missed the social media revolution. No twitter, no blog — nobody talking about them.
- Word of mouth is missing. There is not a single “tell a friend” or “share this” link on their site. If you don’t ask for referrals, you don’t get them.
Lessons: If you don’t ask for word of mouth, you don’t get it. If you don’t join the conversation, you get ignored. If there is nothing for fans to link to, they’ll link to someone else.
This makes me sad. I hate to see a beloved brand fade away because they forgot why people love them. But if you ignore the fans who love you, they’re going to fall in love with someone else.