Monday, December 3, 2007
Customer Service Awards
Where I shop is greatly determined by customer service, but you already know that because I bet you're the same way. If the vaccuum is running at 8:30 pm on a weeknight and all of the sales associates are gossiping in the back, I'm not going to buy there (unless the goods are super-cute and there is a massive sale). Unfortunately, great service is hard to find, especially at the retail giants, so here are two stories to hearten your soul during these frenzied shopping days.
About a year ago I was searching for a casual coat of the short black puffy variety. I ended up ordering this one from Lands' End, hoping for the best but knowing that it would be too boxy and matronly on me and that I would end up returning it. After I received the coat and verified its boxy-ness and matronly-ness, I immediately put it back in its box and placed it in my closet, where it lived for a little over 11 months (in the meantime, I ordered this from Bluefly, toasty and slim-fitting).
This weekend, I finally decided to get rid of it via donation. But then I saw the packing slip that said that I could return at any time. Oh really? I called to see if they meant it. I dialed the number and popped some food in my big mouth because I knew that I would have at least 3 minutes of automation. But then a human answered right off the bat! After a near-choking incident, I asked her if I could return after 11 months. She said "no problem." Really! I returned it to Sears as she instructed and all my money came back. Bravo to you, Lands' End, for accommodating lazy but well-meaning returners.
The second award goes to Nordstrom. This happened a year ago, but it is the pinnacle of customer service in my book, so I must mention it here. I went in searching for black peep-toe pumps. The sales guy, who was fabulously gay and a shopping girl's dream, really knew his stuff. He showed me all of the black pumps, and I was kind of lukewarm on them, and that's when he read my mind and showed me what I really came to buy: red patent pumps. Before I committed to anything, he asked me how I liked the Frye boots that I was wearing. "Love them," I said. Because I do! I would have never tried them on because they look so masculine, but my friend Charlene convinced me and once they were on my feet. . . they are so undeniably cool. I digress. Anyhow, my fancypants shoe guy told me that they were "not wearing well" for just being a year old and that we should "change them out." Apparently the salt that melts snow can also discolor boots? And then he ran back and fetched me a brand new pair of boots, gratis. That's right. I bought the pumps, which incidentally weren't even that expensive (picture these in a deep ruby red):
and I still love them and wear them to this day. But that's not all--the sales guy calls 2 days later, to see how they were working out for me.
There is a bit of a sad ending in that I have not seen or heard from that shoe guy since. Was it all a dream? Sometimes I think he was fired for giving me the new pair of expensivo boots. Other times I think he moved on to Neiman's. The bottom line, however, is that the shopping experience was excellent even without the free boots because the guy knew shoes and acted like he gave a crap about me, his customer.
Good work Lands' End and Nordstrom; I am your customer for life.
Posted by SGM at 1:22 PM