If You Complain to J.Crew, the CEO May Call You

A Forbes article this week tells a pretty amazing story… 

“Sorry, I couldn’t answer your call earlier. I just hung up with the CEO of J.Crew.” So began an entirely unexpected conversation with my wife, Elizabeth… 

My wife proceeded to share that Millard “Mickey” Drexler, J.Crew’s chief and famed retailer, had shocked her with his call in response to an email she sent to the company’s anonymous “J.Crew 24-7” address.

Drexler had gone to some effort to talk with my wife. After emailing a response note in less than 24 hours, he and J.Crew President, Libby Wadle, left a voice mail with cell phone numbers and then took her call when she rang back.… 

Drexler and Wadle embraced [her] criticism, phoning her back with the heads of marketing and personal shopping on the line. Drexler soon apologized that Jenna Lyons, the company’s Executive Creative Director (and currently one of the most influential people in the fashion world), would have joined too if not for her vacation.

Read the whole article. It’s truly striking.

Sometimes, when trying to get a hold of a big company, I will send a request for comment into their “Contact Us” box. In most cases, that request doesn’t get a response, not even a computer-generated follow-up. It’s a box to nowhere. You wonder why companies even have it on their sites. 

The fact that J.Crew closely monitors its feedback, and even has the CEO of the company contact customers who complain, says a lot about that company. 

Every now and then, we see local TV news shows about nationally known jewelers that have disputes with their shoppers. Once these arguments get to the media, the customers almost always get their way, because the chain doesn’t want to look bad. But the fact is, once that dispute has been aired publicly, the company has already sustained a black eye. And sometimes those arguments even turn into class action lawsuits.

Regardless of the merits of these disputes, should they even get that far? The CEO doesn’t have to call up every person who complains. It could be the local store manager or division head. Just anyone who makes customers feel their complaints aren’t being ignored.

As Forbes put it: “Mickey Drexler went out of his way to do what an unfortunately small number of CEOs practice—he went the extra mile to get direct customer feedback.” That shouldn’t be so striking in this day and age. But it is.

JCK News Director