I recently had two opposite experiences that illustrate how important customer service is, especially in this day and age. Even though it happened more recently, I want to start with Gilt Taste first.
I should preface the story with: I recently moved and while I made a list of all the sites and services I needed to update, I clearly was not able to remember or get to them all. A few weeks ago I was doing some Christmas shopping. I found what I wanted on Gilt Taste and felt comfortable ordering from them because of my positive experiences on Gilt.com. I realized a few days after placing the order that it was being shipped to my old apartment. This was my fault because I had my (old) home address stored in Gilt and as a convenience feature, they offer a fairly quick checkout so there aren’t many layers of checks to slow you down. You can see how this can be a pro as well as a con (you don’t have a chance to catch mistake). Excuses aside, this was totally my fault. I saw that the item would not arrive for at least 5 days, giving plenty of time to correct it.
I emailed them to make the correction and about a day later, I received a response from a customer service rep that said they are not able to help because items are shipped from a supplier and they have no control over it. Also, she added, since the correct address was so close maybe I could figure out a way to pick it up or something.
Continue reading ‘Why Customer Service Matters More Than Ever’
I am a huge fan of technical clothing and my closet is littered with Patagonia, Marmot, Outdoor Research, and of course Icebreaker. In fact, I am such a fan that a third of my clothes can’t even be worn for 10 months of the year because I pretty much live in paradise, weather wise.
I recently volunteered for the inaugural Santa Barbara Marathon and I was at my post before 5 AM and it was freezing. I brought out my new pair of Icebreaker wool gloves which I bought earlier in the year in anticipation for winter. My job was just to direct traffic, and sometimes runner. By the end of the four hour shift, there were numerous holes and tears all over the gloves. Four hours! I sent a detailed email to the company and there was not a single reply. Luckily, their baselayers are great but if you are looking for gloves, look elsewhere.
When I wrote my three part series titled “The Triad of Evil,” many folks asked me for a follow-up. They wanted to know what I thought where the three (or more) good companies that surely must exist to combat the evil. At that time, Costco immediately came to mind but honestly, I couldn’t come up with two more. Now, I am sure I can start on the new series. Besides Costco (and REI), my new favorite company is Zappos. In fact, I just received a pair of John Varvatos Jack Purcell slip-ons from them yesterday. [Note: Thanks Prakash for the gift certificate!] It’s a great fit and I got it with next day free delivery, which is how quickly most customers get their shoes. They also offer free returns.
I won’t go on about how legen – wait for it – dary their service is but what made me think about inducting them into the club is this article by Bill Taylor. It’s a quick and fun read and in it, he talks about how Zappos built a company on customer service and how they actually offer to pay new employees money (at $1000 right now) to quit. The idea is that anyone who takes it hasn’t really bought on to the culture at the company and would not be a good fit anyway. Lastly, he links to a great example of their knows-no-limits customer service. They actually send this lady a flower arrangement after they found out her mom had recently died.
In a world plagued by so much bad service and poor experiences, it’s nice to see a good corporate citizen like Zappos rise above the rest.