Customer Service at L.L.Bean

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : MKTG250 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 500 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Customer Service / Customer Experience
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : 1996-2010
Pub Date : 2010
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : L.L.Bean, Inc.
Industry : Multichannel Outdoor Goods and Apparel Retailer
Countries : US


The case discusses the customer service initiatives of L.L.Bean, Inc. (L.L.Bean), a US-based multichannel retailer. L.L.Bean had evolved from being a mail order company selling hunting boots into a leading international retailer selling apparels, home furnishings, and outdoor equipment. Its endeavor was to deliver quality products at reasonable prices and offer excellent customer service to customers. In its 98-year-long history, the company had preserved the customer-centric tradition set by the founder and had, over the years, molded its operational policies to provide superior purchasing experience to customers.

The company believed that a satisfied customer helped build customer loyalty and encouraged repeat purchases, which were essential to achieve success in the retail business.

The case discusses in detail the customer-friendly policies of L.L.Bean and the customer service practices that had resulted in its being recognized as a customer service champion by consumers and industry observers. This also helped the company to perform better than its rivals during the global economic recession of 2007-2009. Experts felt that the company's superior customer service provided it with a competitive edge.


Understand the importance of customer service, particularly in the retail industry.
Study the customer-centric policies of L.L.Bean and the various practices that the retailer followed to provide superior customer service.
Understand how the customer-centric policies and practices contributed to the success of L.L.Bean.
Explore strategies that L.L.Bean could adopt in the future to attract more customers.


  Page No.
Customer Service Champion 1
Background Note 3
L.L.Bean's Customer-Centric Policies 6
'Logistics and Order Fulfillment' at the Heart of the Business 10
Using Information Technology 11
Satisfied Customers Provide L.L.Bean a Competitive Edge? 13
Looking Ahead 15
Exhibits 17


Customer service, Customer experience, Customer loyalty, Customer satisfaction, Online retail, Catalogue retail, mail-order retail, Customer-centric policies, Easy Returns and Exchange policy, Logistics facility, Order fulfillment process, e-commerce business, Customized contact center system, Reverse logistics center, Competitive edge, L.L.Bean

Customer Service Champion - Next Page>>


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