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Is Mike Ullman Listening To The Blogosphere? Are You?

[RKG letterhead]
Box 8025
Charlottesville, VA 22906

February 24, 2008

Mike Ullman, III
Chief Executive Officer
J.C. Penney, Inc.
6501 Legacy Drive
Plano, TX 54024

Hello Mike –

I enjoyed your keynote speech at the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org spring conference last year. The next day I wrote a positive blog post about your talk (http://tinyurl.com/346989).

Subsequently, three of your customers posted complaints in the comments on our site.

These appear to be legitimate customer service complaints (rather than fake slams by a competitor seeking to besmirch), but one never knows for sure. These three customers thought a comment on my firm’s blog would somehow reach you, or your customer service team.

At this year’s spring Shop.org, Andy Sernovitz gave a keynote during which he suggested the marketing activity with the highest ROI is monitoring the blogs for customer comments, then saying “thanks” to positive remarks and saying “how can I help?” to negative remarks and trying to resolve them.

I am curious as to what processes J. C. Penney customer service folks are using to discover and resolve customer services issues across the blogosphere. I hope J. C. Penney can reach out to Ms. Kachelein, Ms. Leonard, and Mr. Joris and help them out if you can.

You, or your customer service folks, are cordially invited to post a follow-up comment on our blog suggesting more direct channels to reach J. C. Penney customer service.

I’d very much welcome your thoughts, as the leader of a tremendous retailing brand, as to how blogging is changing the relationship between corporation and customer. Is this issue significant enough to reach your level?

Thanks again for a great talk, and best wishes –

[signature]

Alan Rimm-Kaufman
President, Rimm-Kaufman Group

Letter posted on our blog Feb 24th.

Letter sent via postal mail on Feb 25th.

Wonder if Mike or J.C. Penney responds!

letter to mike ullman, JC Penney CEO, the envelope

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  • Alan Rimm-Kaufman
    Alan Rimm-Kaufman founded the Rimm-Kaufman Group...
  • Comments
    6 Responses to “Is Mike Ullman Listening To The Blogosphere? Are You?”
    1. Jerome says:

      I would be VERY interested to see a response. I have a $1000 problem I have been ‘patiently’ working w/ Penny’s since Nov 07 that isn’t resolved. BBB complaint is next, followed by blog comments like this. I am looking for Penny’s “upper management” contact info so they understand how their company treats its customers. Shared this story with many fellow military and co-workers, will continue to share

      Summary: bought a hutch from Penny’s with a manufacturing defect verified by a Penny’s rep (uneven shelves), ordered a 2nd one that was delivered to my residence w/ EXACT same issue. Apparently customers serve as Penny’s quality control or it’s customer beware. Requested a 3rd one AND to ensure my warranty hadn’t ‘started’…Penny’s said it did upon delivery of the 1st one though I never had received an “acceptable” product to begin with. All I asked for was the full period/benefit of my warranty since obviously it could be a long time before I get an acceptable hutch…rep said it wouldn’t take long…I argued otherwise and weeks later someone finally conceded and and made my warranty start contingent on receipt of an “acceptable” product. Been waiting for 2 months since then, Penny’s never calls me, I have to call for updates, they have no idea when another hutch will be available. Asked if anything was available in the region, anywhere! Tired of staring at my $1000 paper weight in my dining room, won’t dare put china in it. Soooo, I want my money back (so i can get my wife a hutch, and NOT from Penny’s), but policy is I can’t get a refund but can get a credit to other WONDERFUL QUALITY PENNY’S products…

    2. Katia says:

      Alan,

      I’ve never experienced a Customer Service issue with Penny’s, but am somewhat following their improvements on their website, which seems to have done pretty well, according to them. Maybe there’s a topic for a future interview? :-)

    3. Patrice Larkin says:

      Dear Mr. Rimm-Kaufman:

      Was a reply rec’d from Mike Ullamn regarding your Feb. 25th inquiry? I’m not finding a reply post. I am also experiencing a problem that I wish to address to the Chief Exectutive Officer of J.C. Penny.

      Thanks,
      Patrice Larkin

    4. Nope, Patrice.

      Even though this (somewhat ridiculous) series of blog posts are first-screen results for a Google search on Mr. Ulman’s name, JCP has yet to respond.

    5. LUCI MACIAS RON says:

      MIKE ULLMAN, I RECEIVED A LETTER TO ALL RETIRED, PENSION-ELEGIBLE ASSOCIATES DATED MAY 22, 2009, I WOULD LIKE MORE INFO BUT COULDN’T FIND IT ON ASSOCIATE KIOSK, WHERE ELSE CAN I LOOK FOR MY PENSION PLAN BENEFITS INFORMATION?
      PLEASE LET ME KNOW, THANKYOU! LUCY MACIAS RON

    6. Me says:

      FYI.. he may not be getting your mail because you have the wrong address. Plano, Texas’ zip code is 75024. Not 54024.