Good Morning, Purist Gentlemen & Ladies-
As you all know, I had an unusual experience after my visit to the AP boutique last week in Atlanta. After expressing interest in the coveted Brown Camo AP, I received an email attempting to qualify for this purchase-- with some questions that I found intrusive and offensive. My husband posted this email exchange here, and it triggered many responses and thoughts from all of you along with a swift and immediate response from both AP and Watches of Switzerland.
First, kudos to Michael C for his quick engagement to involve AP—as I know we both love this brand and want to see AP be very successful in the brand experiences that they deliver to every consumer. After his engagement, I had immediate personal contact from the CEO of AP North America, Patrick Ottomani, and also Executive Vice President of Watches of Switzerland (who operate the boutique), David Hurley.
Over the last two days, I spoke with both gentlemen, and I was very pleased to see the actions that they are taking to ensure that this never happens again. I also received heartfelt apologies for the experience that I received. When I spoke with Patrick, it was clear that he had already been involved to engage the correct team at Watches of Switzerland, and also to ensure that brand standards, ethics, and customer practices were reinforced with the boutique and the leadership. He did an excellent job of ensuring me that a core platform of his leadership will be to expand and uplift the experiences that AP delivers to consumers globally.
My conversation with David Hurley was equally contrite and apologetic which I greatly appreciated as a first step. The remainder of my call with David was impressive as it was evident that he was taking immediate and clear steps to correct the experience that I received. As someone who specializes in crafting experiences for luxury consumers and brands globally, service recovery is something I watch closely. I am happy to report that David exceeded my expectations with the following actions:
1.) He called me from the Atlanta boutique where he was working on the ground with the leadership team ensure that correct processes and practices are reinforced, and this breakdown was immediately addressed. The training and client engagement policies were all being addressed.
2.) He was having coffee with the salesperson who sent the email to coach and support the correct way to engage a client. I personally appreciated that he made the commitment to do this face-to-face, to coach and not punish, and to work through this issue as development opportunity. I actually found that this gentleman had promise while I was in the boutique, so I was pleased to see this approach from David.
3.) He 100% focused on the commitment of Watches of Switzerland to implement and support the highest standards of customer engagement across all of their boutiques, and he left me with the confidence that he was acting in accordance with this statement.
4.) He invited me to visit the New York SoHo boutique with him to see the experience that they are crafting for consumers. I will be spending time there this Saturday, and I am looking forward to seeing the vision that Watches of Switzerland has for their future in the market.
Overall, I felt that that both of these brands and leaders responded with excellent consumer engagement, an authentic and genuine desire to correct the situation for the long term, and a balanced and clear approach to crafting policies and processes that will keep this from happening to others.
Patrick and I will have a chance to coordinate a meeting in-person this fall, and I look forward to learning more about the customer journeys and experiences that AP plans to craft for their passionate and committed fans (like this 44 Rose Gold Offshore Lady!).
Have a wonderful weekend fellow purists!