So the day after I posted the letter on Twitter, I got a phone call from Mr Thompson, the vice president of customer service for Barneys (formerly worked for Gucci and Moncler). The guy was really nice. We chit-chatted for a bit about teeth because I had just gone to the dentist, he apologized for my bad experiences recently and then we started talking about my letter.
The first thing we talked about was the in-store experience at LA. I reiterated that i didn't have any one particularly bad visit, just that the LA store was not as "magical" or exciting as the NY store.
I talked to him about how I found it discouraging to see several CO-OPs shut down recently. He explained the original ideas behind the CO-OP stores and he said that it was never a fully thought-through project and that they are focusing on the Barneys New York stores now.
He definitely provided a lot of interesting information about the brand's strategy. We talked about differences between Barneys and Bergdorf's, boutiques within department stores, floor layouts, the architectural changes they have been making to the NY store, the opening of the new 5th floor dedicated to shoes in NY, etc.
With regards to my premonition that the product offerings are not the same as they used to be; he explained that they have indeed been changing the vendors and he confirmed it was not just a figment of my imagination.
One interesting thing he mentioned was that complaints are usually the opposite of mine; that he gets more complaints about their NY store's SA "mentality" and that people tend to get along really well with the LA staff. I found that pretty puzzling at first but after thinking about it for a bit, I chalked it up to me living on the East Coast for a long time and being used to the NY type of personality.
After all this, we started talking about the webstore. This seemed to be the part he was most interested in and appreciated that my letter was really detailed. He had already shared my letter with another higher-up exec who stated that I made a lot of valid points. Apparently, they had been talking to their new web team earlier that day and brought up many of the same issues I described. So it sounds like they will be making some positive changes to the website.
I asked him if he was familiar with Oki-Ni or LN-CC and he said he was very fond of Oki-Ni and that he shops there frequently. Then we talked about the speed of the barneys site, we talked about content delivery networks, I talked to him about how load times have a direct correlation with profits....a bunch of stuff. He was really interested in everything I had to say.
Finally, he asked me if I would like to be part of their focus group and he put me in touch with a particular associate in NY who will help me find anything I want, take pictures, etc. He also said he would be forwarding my letter to the head of customer service at the LA store.
Overall, I think he did a good job of explaining a lot of things about the brand and how its changing. But most importantly, he provided reassurance that they are not going away, that they are refocusing on becoming a speciality store again and that my suggestions for their website will definitely not be overlooked. It was pretty cool.
Oh and he sent me a $1000 gift card to use on anything I wanted. Just kidding.
So for the people that thought Barneys wouldn't give a shit about my letter and that I should just bitch like a normal person or whack off instead.....I guess this just proves that even one individual can get the attention of a corporate giant.