Over the course of the last year I’ve been a bridesmaid in three separate weddings, all of which required me to buy a dress from David’s Bridal. In my opinion, David’s Bridal has a ton of problems associated with the customer journey. Some of these include website experience that isn’t very user friendly, a lack of documentation on policies for customers, typically unfriendly and impatient staff in store, and so on.
As a consumer, I try to be as understanding as possible because as a marketer I know how hard it is to automate business processes, and also how hard it can be to change them. That being said, David’s Bridal has a serious return policy problem. Not only is the policy frustrating, but the entire process surrounding the policy.
- Navigate the painful website and decide on a dress (or order the dress you have been told to order by a bride).
- This should be done minimum 6 months in advance with David’s Bridal to work out kinks.
- Call a store and ask them to order it for you OR order the dress online
- If you call the store, be careful to be explicit in the color code, size, and style because otherwise you run the risk of not receiving the right dress).
- Go in store and try on the dress.
- Other than having to go to the store which can be a pain, this is the best option in the likely event you need a different size or style.
- Decide to return or keep the dress.
- In store, the experience is ‘fine’. Online, the experience is one of the most frustrating customer experiences I’ve had with a company to date. This is where the process completely breaks down.
The most recent time I ordered a dress from David’s Bridal was coincidentally during a crazy busy month at work. I had to make sure a dress got ordered, in case I needed to order a different one. I blindly ordered a dress, hoping it would fit. Once I received the dress, it hung in my closet for about 2 weeks before I finally had a few minutes to try it on. The dress didn’t fit. I opened the package it came in, and wasn’t able to find any documentation on how I might go about returning it. After scouring my emails (found nothing here), trying to call David’s Bridal without success, and digging through the website for almost an hour, I was able to find a small link that told me to put in my order number and get an ‘RMA’ number for return. What is an RMA number?
After going through more phone calls and finally discovering that I was outside of the return timeline, I had to beg them to take the dress back, and had to order another one while I was on the phone with the customer service agent to get a refund. But this refund wasn’t going to come easy. I finally got the awful email pictured on the right. After calling back again to ask HOW to return it, they informed me that I needed to buy a box, go to the post office, create a shipping label, and then write the RMA number on a package ‘big enough so that the receiving department can find it…. OK…. To sum this up, I got a refund, but had zero communication from the company regarding receiving my return for over a month.
I believe the biggest fundamental problem with David’s Bridal having a bad policy and overall frustrating customer experience when returning an item is that because the dresses are pricey, and often the consumers don’t have any other option than to buy the dress there, the organization has no real incentive to invest in making the process better. In my opinion, there is a lack of understanding of potential future consequence by ignoring a truly painstaking process for customers that could have buying influence over others in the future.
I think that if the returns department and the customer experience department (if that exists) would team up and do a Root Cause Analysis, lay out the customer journey, and then implement a RACI chart, it likely would really help to facilitate making some small changes to improve this experience.
Questions to the class: what do you think David’s Bridal should do first to start to fix this process? Which other tools could they use to facilitate improving this experience? What do you think will be the long term negative effects that they will face unless they fix this?