Neiman Marcus has had a tough time in recent years increasing sales and ending their string of quarterly losses. That all seems to be changing. We can hope that the headway can be attributed to new CEO Geoffrty von Raemdonck.
He assumed control in February of this year and the quarterly loss for the period ending in July was substantially less than the previous quarter’s reporting. As well, sales at Neiman’s have increased during this period. There is no reason why Neiman’s shouldn’t be doing a block-buster business – the economy is excellent, they have the name cachet, and they have people like me who have been their customers throughout their adult lives. All that remains is for the company to start hiring slightly higher-quality staff and treating the customer as though they were . . . the customer. In recent years, Neiman’s previous stellar performance in customer service has slipped – I would put that blame at the feet of previous leaders of the company. There’s no real excuse for having order-takers who know nothing about the products and don’t have the ability to answer customer questions with any intelligence and efficiency. During the past year, I have dialed in a number of times with the intent of placing phone orders based on merchandise that I had flagged from catalogs received. Only to be confronted with staff who were so unknowledgeable and so inept that I ended the calls without placing an order. For one purchase, I dialed back 4 separate times until I found someone who was capable of efficiently processing the order, answering questions about some of the merchandize (such as, does this item run true-to-size), and completing a rather extensive order with efficiency and a good disposition. These are the things that either detract from sales or are the make-up of having loyal customers who keep returning because the service is as good as the merchandise. This is an area that I am sure Neiman’s, under new management, is willing to work on. Along with von Roamdonck’s plans for doubling digital efforts that are intended to allow data mining and supply chain improvements expected to make the customer experience more personalized. The goal should be on enhancing the customer’s positive experience – customer satisfaction is actually the make-or-break in the current atmosphere of high marketplace competition.