Trust is a big factor in our relationships — whether they are person-to-person relationships or customer-to-firm relationships. And apologies may help engender trust.
Recently, a marketing-oriented research study looked at apologetic behavior and trust. As reported by Suzanne Lucas for CBS Money Watch:
“A new study by Alison Brooks (Harvard), Hengchen Dai (University of Pennsylvania), and Maurice E. Schweitzer (University of Pennsylvania), showed that people were much more likely to lend a stranger their cell phone when the stranger first apologized for the rain – something that was clearly outside of his control. The difference was significant: Only 9 percent of strangers handed over their phones without the apology, but 47 percent did when the person apologized. The study also looked at apologizing for a computer override, and another cell phone situation, this time with a delayed flight. In all cases, apologizing for something that was clearly not the person’s fault resulted in more willingness to cooperate and higher trust ratings.”
Click the image to read more at BPS Research Digest.
Retailers know that customer shoplifting and employee theft cost them billions of dollars a year in lost revenues just in the United States and well over $125 billion worldwide. But, the phenomenon of excessive customer returns seems to be growing, and that also affects the bottom line. And this problem has not received enough attention — until now.
Are you a “wardrober”? (Read on to see what this is.)
Consider these observations by Cotten Timberlake, Renee Dudley, and Chris Burritt, writing for Businessweek:
“Many merchants have long lived by the mantra that the customer is always right, adopting liberal return policies in hopes of winning the loyalty of free-spending shoppers. But with a recent increase in the wearing and subsequent return of expensive clothes — a practice merchants call wardrobing — many retailers are taking a stronger stand against the industry’s $8.8 billion-a-year return fraud problem. Bloomingdale’s, in February, started placing 3-inch black plastic tags in highly visible places, such as the front bottom hemline, on dresses costing more than $150 as they are being purchased. The clothes can be tried on at home without disturbing the special tag. But once a customer snaps it off to wear in public, the garment can’t be returned. Some electronics retailers have also turned to hefty restocking fees to discourage short-term use of expensive electronics to watch events such as the Super Bowl. And high-end outdoor goods retailer REI recently announced it’s ending its lifetime return policy after customers took advantage of its lenient rules.”
Click the image to read more.
Photo by Emily Keegin for Bloomberg Businessweek
As we have noted several times before (click here, for example), we are not very much in control of our privacy when online. And the steady beat of new stories on this topic gets scarier and scarier.
Consider the latest from the Wall Street Journal, as reported by Amir Efrati:
“Every hour, an active Google user can generate hundreds or thousands of data ‘events’ that Google stores in its computers. These include when people use Google’s array of Web and mobile-device services, which have long collected information about what individuals are privately searching for on the Web. It includes the videos they watch on YouTube, which gets more than one billion visitors a month; phone calls they’ve made using Google Voice and through nearly one billion Google-powered Android smartphones; and messages they send via Android phones or through Gmail, which has more than 425 million users. If a user signs in to use Gmail and other services, the information collected grows and is connected to the name associated with the account. Google can log information about the addresses of Web sites that person visits after doing Google searches.”
“But there are signs Google is feeling increased pressure to calibrate how much emphasis it puts on user privacy. Scarred by a small number of past user-privacy missteps that generated global controversy, and under increased regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. and Europe, executives are engaged in wide-ranging internal debates and in some cases slowing product launches to address privacy concerns, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Click the image to read more from Efrati.
Photo by Associated Press