Abstract: This case discusses the customer service initiatives of LL Bean, Inc, a US-based multichannel retailer. LL Bean had evolved from being a mail order company selling hunting boots into a leading international retailer selling apparels, home furnishings and outdoor equipment. Its endeavor was to deliver quality products at reasonable prices and offer excellent customer service to customers. In its 98-year long history, the company had preserved the customer-centric tradition set by the founder and had, over the years, molded its operational policies to provide superior purchasing experience to customers.
The company believed that a satisfied customer helped build customer loyalty and encouraged repeat purchases, which were essential to achieve success in the retail business. The case discusses in detail the customer-friendly policies of LL Bean and the customer service practices that had resulted in its being recognized as a customer service champion by consumers and industry observers. This also helped the company to perform better than its rivals during the global economic recession of 2007-2009.
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Experts felt that the company’s superior customer service provided it with a competitive edge. The case will help students to: (1) understand the importance of customer service, particularly in the retail industry; (2) study the customer-centric policies of LL Bean and the various practices that the retailer followed to provide superior customer service; (3) understand how the customer-centric policies and practices contributed to the success of LL Bean; and (4) explore strategies that LL Bean could adopt in the future to attract more customers.
This case is designed for MBA / MS students and is intended to be part of the marketing management curriculum. It can also be used in the business strategy curriculum. The teaching note includes the abstract, teaching objectives and methodology, assignment questions, feedback of the case discussion, and additional readings and references. It does not contain an analysis of the case.