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Whether you’re a JCPenney customer or not, the press regarding the recent company changes have been unavoidable. In 2011, former Apple executive Ron Johnson was hired by JCP to revolutionize the brand. With a successful history in the Apple retail market, Johnson had high hopes to replicate that model throughout JCPenney stores nationwide.

Johnson’s vision was to take the retailer once known for it’s frequent sales, discounts and promotions to a model with “everyday low prices”. He envisioned mini-stores within the store, where higher value brands could be featured and consumers could have an elite experience.

What Johnson didn’t take into account is that he expected customer’s shopping behaviors to change as dramatically as the stores did. Unfortunately, shoppers did not adapt, sales continued to fall, and Johnson was eventually let go.

In an effort to save the brand, JCP hired their former CEO back and just released this apology commercial which has been plastered all over TV, internet, and social media sites:

Whether you’re a small business, or a multi-million dollar operation, here are three business lessons that we can learn from JCPenney’s ad:

1. Take Ownership
JCP admitted they made changes and “some you liked and some you didn’t”. While they are not directly saying “we’re sorry” they’ve indirectly admitted that some of their changes were wrong. If you’ve made a mistake – take ownership and admit that you were wrong.

2. Listen
“We learned a very simple thing: to listen to you, to hear what you need, to make your life more beautiful.” Most people just need to know that they’ve been heard. Even if you can’t promise an immediate change, it’s best to let your client, customer or friend know that you heard them and are working towards a better solution.

3. Have a Call to Action
JCP does a great job re-inviting people back to their stores and insinuated the experience will be better than before: “Come back to JCPenney. We heard you.”  I’ve always been a believer that some people just need to be told what to do or where to go. If you’ve had a bad experience with a client or customer, don’t be afraid to ask for their continued business – just be sure to give them a better experience the second time around.

So, will you be going back to JCPenney?

Jen Stretch

Jen Stretch is a marketing professional with a decade of web-based technical experience. Her core competencies include and marketing automation consulting, implementation, and training. She is a certified Administrator with five years of marketing automation experience.

Jen is also a enthusiastic cyclist and applies the same competitive spirit that she has on the bike to push businesses out of their comfort zone and beyond their perceived finish line.

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