Change is good. Communicate it well.

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We tend to shy away from making big, sweeping changes because let’s face it, CHANGE IS HARD.  But it is also good (really, really, good). Often, change can create happier customers and increase brand loyalty in the long run. 

In early February, LL Bean changed its longstanding return policy, offering customers a lifetime product replacement.  As a serial returner, I’ll keep my opinions about the policy to myself. What struck me about the announcement, was the honesty and simplicity. Something we can all learn from when changing a long-standing policy or tradition.

A few things I love about this announcement to keep in mind as you are thinking about instituting change and communicating it –

  •  MISSION. Relating the change back to your mission and how it will help them stay true to themselves and THE CUSTOMER
  • WHY. Giving the why helps create the feeling that the changes are inarguable and to help everyone. Help your customers and partners understand the changes.
  • TRANSPARENCY. Show a little vulnerability and how you are adapting.
  • GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT. LL Bean still has one of the best return policies in retail and they aren’t afraid to share it.  Take the opportunity to reinforce what you do well.
  • STICK TO YOUR GUNS + STAY ON MESSAGE. Sure, there is going to be pushback.  Make sure everyone and everything (from Facebook comment responses to phone conversations) stay on message.

We can all learn from how great businesses – big and small – create and share difficult decisions, that some might worry will hurt a business. LL Beans letter is a case study on communication done well.

 

 

Allison Cohen