Midday movers: JC Penney, Herbalife

Midday movers: JC Penney, Herbalife

There are 14 comments on the MSN Money story from Apr 9, 2013, titled Midday movers: JC Penney, Herbalife. In it, MSN Money reports that:

J.C. Penney fired its CEO, Ron Johnson, which initially sent the retailer's shares higher in after-market trading Monday as the news broke.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at MSN Money.

shp4fun117

Portland, OR

#1 Apr 9, 2013
Well,
Ron had Great vision, we all wanted it to work... It was just too much too fast and he peed off a lot of customers.
For those of us that have been with the company for years, Customer Service Comes First!!!!! When you get rid of registers, coupons, associates(good) you get rid of your loyal customers. JCPenney was founded on GREAT Customer Service!! Greet, Respect,Engage,Assist,Thank!
Ron, you have Great vision and have done a very good job, but Customers Love JCPenney's for their sales, and service. The Libby is a Great tool, I Love it, but we need registers too and more associates to provide the Great Customer Service our Company was founded on! We Wish you well Ron in all that you do.:)

Mr. Ullman! Welcome back!!!
Former employee

Lexington, KY

#2 Apr 10, 2013
Libby's are not great tools. If they worked full time and had greater battery life, that would help. If store manager wasn't constantly badgering employees to approach customers so that Libby can be used so that 20% transaction were on Libby's each day. Seriously, I worked at Jcp for 2 years. The last 6 months-miserable. Words cannot express just how frustrating that place became.

Since: Feb 13

Westfield, IN

#3 Apr 10, 2013
Today when I left work at jcp there were five team members standing around the one register in Home chatting. Their area is spread out over the new streets around corners like a maze. The shelves with merchandise were trashed (they don't have fitting rooms to clean out) but not one of them felt it was important to be out assisting customers or at the very least picking up things off the floors and tidying up the shelves. I know the drill - wait until almost closing and quickly do a once over so they can leave. These are all really nice people and they know their merchandise.

The whole idea behind the Libby, hand held devices, was to stop that hanging around registers to visit and for employees to be out there helping customers. These team members would help if a customer came up and asked for help. No problem. But why do customers have to seek out people to help them? These five people were NOT new employees. They are not minimum wage teenagers new with no training. They had access to the Libbys but as usual they chose the "old" way of giving "customer service". Stand there and wait for someone to approach them.

Sure the Libby's had their problems, especially in the early months with all the glitches and lacking the capabilities needed to really roam and interact with customers. However, since last month, they were coming together and were really working well with being able to make jcp.com orders, scan stock available, plus all the other things we could do before. There was still some things to work out like needing docks to power up the Libby's when they start getting low instead of having to trade for a different one from behind a locked door. However, it is beginning to work much more smoothly more consistently lately like the plans had been for them from the beginning.

For those employees who were willing to put in the miles literally walking around making connections with customers and catering to their needs, the system with the Libby's was working. However, there continue to be way too many employees preferring the standing and chatting between them with going out and doing their jobs.

That is one reason why many customers have been complaining that the customer service has nosedived since Johnson came aboard. It wasn't him but more the attitudes of the employees who resisted any change that would make customer service a priority. It wasn't Johnson who wasn't giving the customer service. Those same employees can do all the blaming Johnson they want to, but it has been obvious as to who has blossomed and grown as top employees this past year and a half despite all the detours, sudden changes, lack of communication from corporate, less employees what ever the employees have had to overcome. If there had been more of those kinds of employees, and just because someone has been there X number of years, the customer service at many stores would not have had to suffer like it did in those stores. One can blame someone else for one's own woes, but when it comes down to it, mature people take the responsibility, try to do one's best and move forward. The rest just complain and blame everyone else around them for their own lack of effort. It has been challenging to do our job some weekends with the customer traffic in recent months, but not impossible. The Libby's make a huge difference for the better for us on those busy days.

Since: Mar 13

Pittsburgh, PA

#4 Apr 10, 2013
I worked for a company in trouble, ultimately it went out of business:( But going thru that, or whats been done to penneys demoralizes employees, and pretty understandbly they dont care. thats why employee morale is so important, and ron destroyed that:(

I hope penneys is able to recover, but ackman may be pulling the strings tom just put it out of business. Employees who suspect that wouldnt care....

Libbys who are known to not work well dont encourage people to use poor equipetment

Since: Feb 13

Westfield, IN

#5 Apr 10, 2013
Bob: morale has nothing to do with people standing around a register chatting. It has a lot more to do with work ethic and from my experience that is quickly disappearing from the work force. People have been standing around a register chatting for all the years I have worked at jcp.

Saying the reason someone isn't doing their job because their morale is low is just another excuse. It has been obvious that many of those same employees have been posting on these boards over the months because all of a sudden they were expected to do more then just standing there. They just plain didn't like that directive. period.

There isn't a job around in this country that doesn't have a staff feeling overworked, underpaid and feeling like he or she has to do the job of what used to be done by 2-3 other people. Americans have to get used to that idea that companies expect more with less.

What was the mood at our store after the shock wore off? Not bad actually and not any better or worse then last week. The same enthusiastic and positive people I have worked with are still enthusiastic and positive. No change from two years ago and today.

What did one leader say? "Let's just do our job". That is all we had to do all along and those of us who have weathered all the changes will continue to work no matter what else is thrown at us. We won't blame others and do just that - do our jobs.

If the company fails, then it fails. Until then we will just do our jobs to the best of our ability and if that means using the Libby to allow us to do our jobs even better, then that is what we will do.
ahappycamper

Canton, IL

#6 Apr 10, 2013
JCPTM, I don't know what JCP you work for but I can tell you that the one I have worked at for many years does not have employees just standing around waiting for customers to approach us. I have always been very proud of the level of customer service I have given and have loved my job. Ron Johnson has treated his best employees as well as his most loyal customers very badly in my opinion and his changes and attitude have definetly affected the moral of the majority of his employees. It's not blameplacing, it's a fact. The Libby's do not work well and the customers don't like them either. I'm hoping that things will improve now that RJ is out of the picture.

Since: Feb 13

Westfield, IN

#7 Apr 11, 2013
camper: Yes, it has always disheartened me to see the standing around registers. It actually had gotten somewhat better in the past several months although not completely disappeared. That is why I was so shocked to not only see this happening at the ENTRANCE register of the store, but to have so many employees congregating at one time. It reminded me of when the teacher left the room, the kids would do whatever they wanted to. Whatever the reason for this, it does not give a good impression of the store. It diminishes the great work the rest of the employees do when customers see that.

There are MANY employees that give the level of service that you speak of at our store - that is no question and I think those have been the ones who have kept the ship sailing when it came to great service. The same employees are the same ones who get exceptional comments from customers on surveys and that has always been the case. However, there were and still are the ones who fail to see work to be done during slower times. It amazes me to hear employees say things like "I am going on break. I am bored".

I love my job but my morale was never low this past year nor 15 years ago. I guess my way of thinking is if I were concerned about losing my job, I would do what was being asked to be sure I kept mine.

I have to say I felt the same way as you about the Libby's in the early months. I started changing my mind just recently after I gained confidence and actually used it naturally instead of feeling pressured to use it. As for customers, I found that once I felt comfortable using one I could easily transfer that confidence to a customer and made it into a fun experience. The introduction (finally) of the stylus yesterday eased the anxiety of the elderly guy I had yesterday who hadn't seen anything like a Ipod before.

If there is anything I have learned from working with the public is that people are resistant to change and it takes time for them to accept any change, even minor. It's kind of like getting a child to eat a new food that he completely rejected the first time. What is it, it takes up to 12 tries of tasting that new food before the child might start liking it? Maybe that can be applied to accepting some of the unexpected changes (the good ones!)for customers and employees? It worked for me to accept the Libby and it took a LOT more times then 12!

I wish the register clingers weren't still around and felt like they could go out and do more with the customers. Like the lady told me the other night as we walked upstairs and were discussing the Libby. "I like my register". There was no question that she was firm about that thought.

I don't know what improvements you are seeking with the "new" management. I would like to see more product, especially in sizes. I would like to see ALL the lighting in the stores being upgraded, not just in the shops that are complete. I would like to see more areas that allow folding clothes to put in bags for customers. I would like to see an upgrade on dress code, but there is no way I could walk around as much as I do now with heels. The last time we used a pedometer one shift, I had walked over 17 miles. I would like to see the completion of the service desk as planned before this.

The best improvement for me is to go back and that would never fly, is go back to fair and square prices and just use the coupons and occasional sales like they had been going to in recent months. This going back to before fair and square prices in able to use the non stop coupons and sales is not an improvement at all. Why in the world do customers prefer higher prices so that they can sometimes get the item "cheaper" by waiting for a coupon? I am still in sticker shock from the upped prices on many of the items in our department. My co worker lost three large sales just yesterday when the customers balked about the price even with the 20% off coupon. Any other time, we would have sold those easily.
Anony mouse

Lexington, MA

#8 Apr 11, 2013
JCPTM...you have 5 employees AND a cash wrap in the home area??! LUCKY YOU! Shame on them for standing around! In my store, we DON'T have a cash wrap in the Home Dept, only Men's. Our 2 (if lucky) Men's Dept associates have to keep walking in circles; Libbys in hand between Men's, Home & construction barriers!!

Re: the other stuff...YES to more stock/sizes--needed badly.YES to needing more fitting room help. PHOOEY on the new pricing AND endless coupons (if that is indeed what they are returning to) I re-ticketed some stuff & was appalled at the markup. Customers are SO preconditioned to having their precious coupons, they really aren't seeing the bigger picture. It's kind of like a "Pavlov's dog" reaction--see coupon & start drooling.

You guys got the stylus for the Libby? YAY--sick of hearing customers bitch about how "funny" their signatures look. I hope we get em. As for the Libby--a great tool @ times but today, I was 1 of the few who had no problems with it. ALSO I work w/2 associates who are technologically incompetent & are always interrupting ME when something 'goes wrong' with theirs! They are otherwise good workers but their Libby problems do not bolster customer confidence.

YES, We NEED bagging areas/folding stations for this
system to work properly. ALSO, we NEED the Findmore desk back. Sorry, most associates STILL don't know what to do if there is something out of the ordinary with an order. Once again, they interrupt ME to figure it out.(Yes, I've worked Catalog). I am quite certain Findmore "shrinkage" was phenomenal this year due to associates mishandling exceptions, etc. Also--YES to shops layout; the store looks fantastic now. We are no longer a cramped, sloppy conglomeration of tired looking fixtures.

Martha Stewart goes out in my store tomorrow--along with $1.00 flip-flops (ugh!)

Only time will tell if JCP makes it. I don't think Mike Ullman will really know what to do until he is able to get back in & take a good look at EVERYTHING. I'm certain that there are many things WE are not privy to that need to be addressed.
CCC

Norcross, GA

#10 May 7, 2013
Former employee wrote:
Libby's are not great tools. If they worked full time and had greater battery life, that would help. If store manager wasn't constantly badgering employees to approach customers so that Libby can be used so that 20% transaction were on Libby's each day. Seriously, I worked at Jcp for 2 years. The last 6 months-miserable. Words cannot express just how frustrating that place became.
I have been at JCP for five years and I don't know how much longer I can take it. The Libby is too restricted and too conditional. Only works in certain situations IF you don't lose the connection. Then you have to go running around to get bags or the receipt. OR it craps out in the middle of a transaction AFTER you've pulled a customer out of line! It is humiliating! They did it all wrong. Put back some decent registers and enough associates that we aren't so stressed trying to keep everything up. THEN you will get better customer service and LESS call outs by associates who are frustrated and burned out!

Since: Feb 13

West Lafayette, IN

#11 May 7, 2013
since the RJ era ended, there really has not been any push to use the Libbys like it used to be. One reason they pushed everyone to use them was to get them comfortable using them. If the libby was sitting in a drawer or wherever, it wasn't being used.

I was one who didn't feel comfortable using them so that "push" worked on me. I haven't had a freeze up in months now and I use it to ring up customers, open ICAPS, look up merchandise availability on jcp.com , check inventory and check prices(that last one has been especially helpful to me). I often walk customers to other departments to complete their purchase (like show them shoes to go with the rest of their clothing they are buying)and ring those up down there. Again, months ago, I would have lost the connection, but I don't anymore because I am familiar with using it now.

I worked in another department a couple weeks ago, with my Libby in my pocket. I asked where they kept their "hidden stash" of bags and they all looked at me with no clue as to what I was talking about. It was so obvious that Libby use was next to zero there (they have the four register quad with the other quad of four very near). That shocked me to hear that. We have six "hidden" spots around our department that keeps bags, ICAP forms and I am familiar enough with the different register numbers to pull up the closest paper receipts. It's not that tough to do. It just has to be thought out, planned and the employees just have to utilize that option instead of complaining that nothing works or is inconvenient. We had plenty of weeks then months of things seemingly not working right and frustrating ourselves and customers. It just takes some effort on our part to figure out the system that works well for one's neighborhood.

I agree with Anony that the most annoying thing about the Libbys are not the machines but the employees who STILL don't know how to use them right and are constantly interrupting us to ask how to figure it out. I guess those employees are where we used to be several months ago while trying to learn how to use them. I just have to say that Libbys are definitely the "more you use them the easier it is".

At least when we have to reboot a Libby it doesn't take a half an hour at minimum like the registers take. We also have a cord to reboot one of ours at a time, so I can get mine back up about 20% while at break or lunch. Just try to keep it above 50% power and use it often to keep the Libby working smoothly without too many problems.

Since: Mar 13

Pittsburgh, PA

#12 May 7, 2013
All emloyees could be REQUIRED to wear a tracker or carry a libby all all times..

The records would be instantly available showing where all employees were every minute, and combided with time stamps on security cameras what every employee is doing.....

Big brother YES, better managed store YES YES YES!
Anony mouse

Lexington, MA

#13 May 8, 2013
I agree with Anony that the most annoying thing about the Libbys are not the machines but the employees who STILL don't know how to use them right and are constantly interrupting us to ask how to figure it out. I guess those employees are where we used to be several months ago while trying to learn how to use them. I just have to say that Libbys are definitely the "more you use them the easier it is".

Thank you JCP--One of our store's biggest problems with the ipod ARE these employees/register huggers who are unable/resistant to using the ipod. I work in several areas of my store. At 1 four register quad. There are 2 employees,(neither register huggers) who are DRIVING ME CRAZY! Both are longtime employees & otherwise good with all tasks. If they haven't gotten used to the ipod by now they never will. THEIR BUMBLING DOES NOT INSPIRE CUSTOMER CONFIDENCE. On the other hand, I LOVE being free to roam outside the quad & check ppl out/price check/search inventory/read a floor plan;etc on the fly.
Alternatively, we also have hip iphone/ipod owning employees 30 years my junior who HATE the ipods.(They also hate ringing & are much happier cleaning the floor.) GO FIGURE??
AND THEN, we have the register huggers/ICAP queens who NEVER move from the register at all...they use the ipod from BEHIND the register! This defeats the whole purpose of the thing.
I must say that although the Libbys are handed out each day, there doesn't seem to be the pressure there used to be to do 20% of transactions on them.

Since: Feb 13

West Lafayette, IN

#14 May 8, 2013
Anony: I can see we are on the same page on this subject. Refreshing to connect with someone else who sees things the way they are.

I bought some herbs today at the local farmers market and had to use my debit card. Low and behold, the lady behind the table pulled out her trusty hand held device to ring up my sale. OMG, my information is surely compromised now. Seriously though, I had to laugh inwardly after reading all the hate posts about Libbys at JCPenney's. I did decline the email receipt offered.

I have to work in Misses this weekend during the doorbusters and everything else going on. Our local university is also having graduations all weekend that always brings in tons of out of towners. I hope I can live through all that this weekend. Wish me luck!(This isn't my usual area but I am familiar with it)

Since: May 13

Location hidden

#15 May 8, 2013
CCC wrote:
<quoted text>
I have been at JCP for five years and I don't know how much longer I can take it. The Libby is too restricted and too conditional. Only works in certain situations IF you don't lose the connection. Then you have to go running around to get bags or the receipt. OR it craps out in the middle of a transaction AFTER you've pulled a customer out of line! It is humiliating! They did it all wrong. Put back some decent registers and enough associates that we aren't so stressed trying to keep everything up. THEN you will get better customer service and LESS call outs by associates who are frustrated and burned out!
i totally agree..as a customer we always look forward to a good service of the store.

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