Within this past year, Lululemon Athletica discovered its yoga pants were so sheer that . . . well, let us just say they revealed more than most users wanted to reveal.  Consequently, Lululemon Athletica responded by pulling the product.  This decision cost the company millions of dollars, but it was the right thing to do.  Now the company could replace the pants with a more durable product.  Bravo to Lululemon Athletica for its sensitivity and responsiveness.

Unfortunately, that is when the company response turned out to be even worse than the original problem.  Early reports indicate customers buying the new yoga pants soon discovered they were still overly sheer.  To make matters worse, these new pants had serious quality problems involving seam strength, holes, and rapid fabric pilling.

This “revealing” problem also reveals some lessons for every businessperson:

1—Do Your Homework.  If you are going to fix a problem, first ensure you have enough research to guarantee the new product meets all specifications.  Sometimes just taking a supplier’s word or the shop manager’s word for something is not enough.  Sometimes the preferable strategy is to do some in-person visits.  Remember, you already created one problem for your customers.  You do not want to give them a double header.

2—Do Your Quality Assurance.  A new product line might indeed be exactly what fits the bill.  Nevertheless, QA capitalizes on the old “trust, but verify” practice.  A solid QA program will help catch these kinds of product malfunctions before they damage the customer experience.

These lessons might sound pretty basic.  Sometimes it is the basics that keep you from losing your pants.

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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