Marketing Mix: We'll call you - Harrods

Mix rang the department store to make sure our goddaughter wouldn't be affronted by a bad Santa.

Harrods Good afternoon, Harrods.

Mktg I want to bring my goddaughter in to meet Santa, but I read that you sacked the last one for inappropriate comments. Is this one alright?

Harrods He wouldn't be here if not.

Mktg Do I have to book?

Harrods No, you just go along. Avoid weekends if you can - it's very busy.

Mktg Will I have to queue?

Harrods Yes, but when the queue gets to a certain length, they issue you a time-slot to come back.

Mktg What time is it open till and do you have to pay?

Harrods 10am-8pm. There's no charge, but photos are £9.95.

Mktg Also, I need help to pick out some gifts. Is your personal-shopping service just for clothes? (Mktg is put through to an answerphone and calls back.)

Harrods Good afternoon, Harrods.

Mktg I rang just now and you put me through to the personal-shopping service, but it went to voicemail.

Harrods Yes, madam. There's nothing we can do about that.

Mktg OK, can you tell me about it?

Harrods No, I'm just a switchboard operator.

Mktg What about wrapping services?

Harrods I'll put you through. (Mktg holds for four minutes and then rings back.)

Harrods Good afternoon, Harrods.

Mktg I've rung twice about personal-shopping and wrapping services and been put through to voicemail and on hold. Is there anyone who can help me? (Mktg is put through to customer services.)

Harrods Hello, customer services.

Mktg I read that you sacked your last store Santa. Is the new one OK?

Harrods As far as we know.

Mktg Do you have a vetting process?

Harrods I can't comment as I don't recruit people, but I'm sure they do.

Mktg Is your personal-shopping service just for clothes or gifts too?

Harrods Whatever you like.

Mktg Is it free?

Harrods You pay for the wrapping; I'll find out about the personal shopping. (Mktg is put on hold.) It's by appointment, with a minimum spend of £1000.

VERDICT

Neither the switchboard operator nor customer-service representative performed as one might expect. I was put through to an answerphone and had to hold before I was finally transferred to customer services. Even then the call-handler was vague and could not reassure me that Harrods' latest Santa would be any better than its last. This is not the level of service one expects from the self-proclaimed 'world's most famous department store'.

SCORE 4/10.

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