Last Friday, Alfred Angelo bridal retail stores filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and abruptly closed its retail stores leaving throngs of brides in the lurch – most of whom had either paid in full or left a deposit. While there was internal communication to its stores (to shutter), there was no information provided to concerned customers via the company website or social media channels and calls to corporate headquarters by media outlets were not immediately returned.
No business aspires to go bankrupt. Businesses do their best to mitigate threats to their success, whether competitive, regulatory, economic, etc. Despite their best efforts, businesses fail every day. The bricks-and-mortar retail sector has been especially vulnerable due to the popularity of Amazon and other web-based retailers.
Even so, every business can choose to communicate with its customers in times of turmoil. A company as sophisticated as Alfred Angelo should have, at the very least, updated its website and social media channels immediately with a statement explaining the store closures and providing some measure of assurance to anxious brides. Finally, on Sunday, a message was posted on its website apologizing for the “inconvenience and hardship” resulting from its sudden collapse and directing customers to a chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for information regarding order status.
It’s not as if Alfred Angelo sells bicycles, furniture or some other pricey commodity that, while inconvenient, can likely wait to be sorted out. It sells wedding and bridesmaid dresses to fulfill a bride’s lifelong vision of her magical wedding day – which might be this weekend. Given this dynamic, it’s unconscionable for Alfred Angelo leadership to be utterly non-communicative and unresponsive to its customers. This behavior is callous and insensitive, violating principles – natural laws that are timeless and self-evident – such as justice, fairness, integrity, honesty, service, quality, and excellence.
And as the late Stephen Covey observed, “Principles are like lighthouses. You can’t break them; you can only break yourself against them” – a truth that Alfred Angelo leadership is experiencing right now.
Don’t settle for ordinary. Choose extraordinary. (It’s always a choice.) Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
New! Cascade the lessons from Delight Your Customers throughout your department, division, or entire organization. Order the Delight Your Customers Companion Guide by Steve Curtin and Brian O’Neill.
Watch the 90-second book trailer.
Illustration by Aaron McKissen.