First let me start with one of my axioms:
Death of a Business……
“First, the business forgets its customer…….
Then, the customer forgets the business.” ……..Mark St.Cyr
Over a year ago, I wrote an article about my experience with a bookstore chain that I had been a “customer” of for years. The experience in my last visits were not only frustrating, but as time past seemed down right comical. Now it’s just a sad tale of squandered business opportunities for the retailers of books. ( Here are the direct links to the original articles… Article Part 1 ….. Article Part 2 )
Today it was announced the book store chain Borders was filing for bankruptcy. Although I’m saddened, I’m not surprised. Are you? Since I wrote the original articles over a year ago I have not been back to visit or buy another book. Not only have I not purchased anything in the store, I have not bought anything online with them either. As a matter of fact, I receive more discounts or coupons that I can use today than when I was an active customer. Not only do I not use them, I no longer even visit their website. I just don’t care. What’s really the final illustration of this point? I’m stating this as I hold a gift card in my wallet that was a gift that I have yet to redeem. I really could care less. Some may be asking themselves “ that shouldn’t make you stop reading?” Point is..I haven’t. I’ve read, and purchased dozens of books since my last visit there, just not with them, and remember, I have a gift card in my wallet.
Say what you want about hard economic times, format changes, changes in taste, changes in what ever. The change that made a great retailer change from profitable to insolvent was the change in strategy from a customer driven focus, to just some policy driven focus.
The glaring lesson to be learned from their story is it looks like they kept the customer service manuals either in the mystery, or science fiction section. But we all know how this thing turns out in the end. To bad it’s now an obituary.