Customer Experience Featured Article

The Redefining of GNC Customer Service

November 11, 2014

A recent news report reveals that the health supplement store GNC has taken a hit this year on Wall Street, having failed to reach the same success as its best year ever, 2011. As such, it the company is reportedly undergoing a brand transformation to create clearer skies ahead—and improve the customer experience in the process.

Reading Eagle tells the brief story of the company’s new CEO, Mike Archebold, who took the reins only three months ago. He reportedly did it, however, with an optimism that speaks not about the middling year of 2014 but more about the success Archebold declares could come in the future as a result of increased public health awareness. Official company figures showed third quarter revenue down from $674.5 million in 2013 to $656.3 million this year. Additionally, store sales showed a drop of 6.9 percent this quarter from Q3 last year compared to a rise in sales from Q3 2012 to Q3 2013 of 8.2 percent.

The news brief states that Archebold has called GNC customers “the most loyal in the industry,” and now he is on record saying the company will begin to offer deeper discounts on items throughout the store. The tradeoff comes from customers having fewer discounted items. Archebold’s motto, “Fewer. Bigger. Bolder.” appears to be working.

“These days, customers tend not to respond to 10 percent off anything. They need to discount deeper,” Archebold said of the change in marketing strategy.

“We haven’t had a lot of pushback from customers,” he continued.

This new strategy comes in direct contrast to the “Beat Average” campaign that is now on its way out the door. The plan to create deeper discounts is reportedly showing an increase in gross profits for the health chain whereas “Beat Average” was not. Customers everywhere should not expect to see a complete brand-wide revamp for another few quarters; for now, though, an initial offering of fewer discounts, bigger discounts, and bolder discounts is making a showing at select locations.

In addition to discounts, the retailer is also expected to begin offering a wider range of products, including those that offer protein based on plants and natural sources. Such offerings could appeal to health-conscious consumers who also look for vegan or vegetarian ingredients.

Customer service may also become warmer, according to the Reading Eagle report. Although Archebold said he would prefer that every customer be greeted by his or her name, that is not always possible. A “warm welcome,” he said, is essential, and customer-engagement training for employees will reflect that idea. Archebold said it would be foolish to try to predict future stock prices, but he mentioned that stock prices should follow a focus on business growth.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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