To Spin, or not to Spin?

Posted by Rebecca in Uncategorized

With a little less than three weeks until the presidential election, the notion of ‘spinning’ anything is generally not advised. When it comes to skin care, though, you have to spin it to win it. Truly clean skin, that is. The folks at Clarisonic, a Seattle-based tech startup known for its Sonicbrush toothbrush and skincare devices, certainly believe in spinning. Since launching, the company has made seemingly little missteps: it’s helped raise more than $2 million for cancer research, gained several celebrity endorsements (unpaid, mind you) from the likes of Cameron Diaz, Tyra Banks and Oprah Winfrey, and achieved remarkable sales figures ($105 million in 2010), making it a smart buy for L’Oréal last year.

Clarisonic has also made smart decisions in selecting its retail partners. From Nordstrom to Amazon to Bliss, consumers – men, women, young and young at heart – can purchase the right Clarisonic spin brush that suits their needs. As many of our clients know all too well, a retail partner can define success for a product – or it can drive sales into oblivion.

So what happens, then, when a retail partner makes a mistake?

Recently, a small group of Peppercomm-ers were made aware of a special promotional code at Blissworld.com which awarded a 100 percent discount on Clarisonic purchases made on the site. Too good to be true, or did we just stumble into a super-secret, super-savvy marketing stunt designed to surprise and delight both Bliss and Clarisonic enthusiasts? Never ones to question a brand’s marketing motives – or a good deal – several of us made good on the offer. With holiday parties just around the corner, visions of glowing skin began dancing in our heads.

However (you knew this was coming), the promotion code turned out to be available in error, and the dreaded ‘oops we made a mistake’ email hit our inboxes later that week. One could practically feel skin tone fading while reading the company’s attempt to make right: a 25% code for a purchase of $75 or more. Huh? How does that begin to make up for this colossal mistake? This wouldn’t have been nearly as bad had Bliss not then charged everyone’s credit cards the full amount ($159). Double whammy.

After some lively tweeting, many of us were put in touch with the VP of global communications for Bliss. Our individual levels of interaction with her varied; I personally had a twitter exchange, direct message conversation, email correspondence and finally a phone call with this person. The end result: a refund on my credit card and a brand-spanking new Clarisonic spin brush of my very own.

While my faith in Bliss is somewhat restored (how can you not love the at home triple oxygen™ instant energizing mask?), it begs the question: what’s the price of customer service. Better yet, what’s the value of customer loyalty? Had Bliss not responded the way they did, I would have, begrudgingly, found an alternate to their fab products. But now that I’m on a first-name basis (BFF might be taking it too far) with one of the company’s top people? Yeah, I’m at a higher state of happy.

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One Response

  • Lauren says:

    Great post, Rebecca! You are lucky that you received the brush. I received a curt email response – three full days after sending three emails about my concern for the fact that my credit card was charged when I was told I would get the product for free. I was given a refund but no extra deal. The “apology” email was disastrous. They tried to make light of the situation instead of fix the problem, which did not leave me feeling “buttered up.” Here is a snipit:

    “We sincerely apologize for our error. We want to ask you to give us a chance to make it right. That”s why we”d like to “butter” you up with the following offer:

    Get 25% off your next Bliss product purchase of $75 or more.** Simply mention code BLISS25C when you order or enter this code at checkout.

    We”re sorry for the momentary lapse in doing our beauty duty, but we hope this offer will help “wash away” any hard feelings and keep you on the Bliss bandwagon!”



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