Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2014 (Revised October 2016)

Filene's Basement: Inside a Fired Customer's Relationship

by Jill Avery and Susan Fournier


How, in a business climate in which building relationships with customers has dominated both managerial thought and marketing budgets, could Filene's Basement have fired a loyal customer, one who was formally and informally recognized as a best customer? This case allows students to reverse-engineer a fired customer's relationship with discount retailer Filene's Basement, from her perspective, to uncover the critical incidents and behaviors of each party that shaped their relationship trajectory. The company's customer relationship management (CRM) programs are analyzed to show how they influenced and encouraged unprofitable customer behavior.

Keywords: marketing; CRM; consumer behavior; retailing; customer relationship management; marketing strategy; Customer Focus and Relationships; Customer Satisfaction; Marketing Strategy; Retail Industry; United States;


Avery, Jill, and Susan Fournier. "Filene's Basement: Inside a Fired Customer's Relationship." Harvard Business School Case 314-076, January 2014. (Revised October 2016.)