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Report: Lowe’s investing to win customers

BY Staff Writer

New York — Lowe’s is going on the offensive, and investing in a wide array of initiatives to win shoppers from rival The Home Depot.

“Everything we did [in the past] was store-centric. Today, we are all about the customer. So, it’s about meeting the customer on their terms, no matter how they choose to interact with Lowe’s: Whether it is in their room, at their jobsite, on the phone or on the web,” Robert Hull, CFO, Lowe’s, told Reuters.

Hull said he saw great potential to expand the company’s online business. He also said the company sees the opportunity to expand to 100 stores in Canada, where it currently operates 31 locations.

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Study: Social media may ease negative word-of-mouth impact

BY Staff Writer

Ann Arbor, Mich. — A study released Tuesday by customer feedback management firm CFI Group found that social media may be blunting the impact of negative word-of-mouth.

According to the findings of its annual Call Center Satisfaction Index, CFI Group said that social media commentary after a call center experience can have a counter-intuitive impact.

“What we are seeing is that, if you have a bad experience, you post it once on Facebook for all to see and then you’re done with it,” said Terry Redding, director of development and delivery for CFI Group. “By the same token, we are seeing good experiences posted in the same way. In fact, we’ve observed that positive comments generally outweigh negative ones almost as a rule.”

While a bad experience may increase the odds that someone will tell others, the sheer number of positive experiences and positive posts seems to be outweighing the negative word-of-mouth in volume.

Another key finding in this year’s report, said CFI, was the shift to self-service, particularly via the web. In 2011, 27% of respondents had tried to resolve their issues elsewhere prior to resorting to working with the call center. The primary alternate channel was the web.

“This is the first year since we’ve fielded that study that we’ve seen a decrease in overall score on the private sector side,” said Redding. “We feel the drop is due to an increasing number of easier calls being offloaded to self-service channels like the web, leaving the more complex cases going to the call centers.”

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West Marine CEO steps down

BY Staff Writer

Watsonville, Calif. — West Marine said Tuesday that its president and CEO Geoff Eisenberg will resign once a new chief is appointed.

Following a leadership transition period, Eisenberg will serve as a special advisor to the West Marine board of directors.

West Marine has already initiated the search for a new CEO. No reason has been given for Eisenberg’s departure.

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