What a 5-Year-Old Taught a National Retailer About Customer Service & What You Can Learn From It

Most national retail chains probably wouldn’t care much what a five-year-old girl has to say about their children’s clothing selection. After all, they have bigger fish to fry, whether it’s reducing costs, outdoing the competition, or increasing revenues.

But when the CEO of the Gap, Jeff Kirwan, heard about 5-year-old Alison’s letter (published in the Washington Post) asking for less girly clothes featuring pink and princesses and more neutral images featuring superheroes and sports, he saw it as a customer service opportunity.

Here’s how Kirwan responded to Alice Jacob’s letter:

“I got hold of the letters you sent in and wanted to be the one to reply to you. I’m Jeff and I’m the head of Gap.


You sound like a really cool kid with a great sense of style.


At GapKids, we try to always offer a wide range of styles and choices for girls and boys. This includes a selection of girls’ tees with dinosaurs, firetrucks, sharks, footballs and some of our superheroes. Our latest Disney Collection, Beauty and the Beast, is also all about the strength and bravery of girls, and that’s something that’s really important to us.


But, you are right, I think we can do a better job offering even more choices that appeal to everyone. I’ve talked with our designers and we’re going to work on even more fun stuff that I think you’ll like.


In the meantime, I’m going to send you a few of my favorite tees from our latest collection. Please check them out and let us know what you think. Our customers’ comments are very important to us, and they help us create even better products with each season.


Thank you again,




Gap Brand President & CEO


Source: Fortune

As you can see by Kirwan’s reply, he went the extra mile and sent Alice some of his favorite shirts from the Gap (like a shirt with Rey from “Star Wars” on it) and asked for her feedback.

Like many customers, 5-year-old Alice and her mother aren’t likely to forget this experience. Why? Because Gap’s CEO actually listened.

Kirwan’s response to Alice’s letter demonstrated his willingness to connect with customers on a very human level. Only by doing this and really listening to what they have to say can you understand what your customers want and begin to build relationships with them, suggests Brand24.

Here are 10 key reasons why it’s so important to listen to your customers:

1. Only your customers know what they want and need

2. Customers are the ones buying your products

3. Listening to customers is the only sustainable way to grow your business

4. Your customers’ feedback helps you make strategic improvements

5. If you don’t listen to your customers, they’ll go to someone who will

6. Customers can tell you what they think of your competition

7. Customers like to feel appreciated and valued

8. Customer feedback = market research

9. Your business’s focus should ALWAYS be the customer

10. Customers are the key to your success


Winning new customers—and keeping the ones you’ve already got—is getting harder and harder these days. But you can stand out from the noise and competition by listening to those who shop your store and buy from you.

Armed with this invaluable feedback, you’ll be able to consistently provide personalized experiences that increase loyalty and keep your customers coming back. Not only that, these happy customers will be more likely to refer their friends and family to you as well!

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.