Well I had an interesting thing happen to me last month, that has culminated in a successful way.

I have a tendency to loudly vote with my feet if I think an establishment is not worth my 2cents. If you are interested, you can see my No Shop Zone in my ShoeBox at Plum.

I recently discovered this newly opened chain in Ottawa a few months ago. It is a store that sells kitch, and not even expensive kitch. But its kitch I like, and its perfect right now because I am rethinking my kitchen from Mexican to Tuscan. Without breaking the bank, their products make nice little gifties for friends. You just have to inspect what your buying for small flaws, and choose accordingly.

Rather than reiterate what happened, I will copy the letter that I sent.

 

Les Produits Aromatiques Clair De Lune Inc

361 rue Locke

Saint-Laurent, Québec

H4T 1X7

 

Sunday, January 20, 2008

 

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

It is with regret that I am addressing you today regarding an incident that occurred in your location at Billings Bridge Plaza in Ottawa. I have just returned from a trip to your store to return merchandise that I inadvertently bought with a hairline crack in the glass bowl.

 

When I arrived at the mall it was 10:50. Myself and others waited almost 20 minutes for the girl to open the door; 10 minutes after all the other stores had already opened! It wasn’t like she was late in arriving, as she was in the store hanging around doing goodness knows what.

 

I was willing to let this slide as things do happen, however after the treatment I received at the hands of your children, err, staff, I cannot, and will be putting an official complaint in to Billings Bridge Mall. On to the other.

 

Over the last couple of months I have spent hundreds of dollars in your Ottawa locations (mostly Billings Bridge), telling anyone who would listen that your store was so wonderful. However, given the price range of your product lines I should have been more diligent in checking on such things as the stamping of designs on your Pomegranate and Cranberry Scented Candles (which was allowable given the price I paid), or whether your merchandise is actually broken!

 

Now, I have given your Return Policy a read, and while I understand the gist of it, I cannot in any way say that your staff did anything resembling “Claire de Lune will do everything in its power to satisfy you”. Indeed they did absolutely, and stunningly, nothing. No options, no apologies, not even a smile. They just stood there and stared at me. They might as well have had their fingers up their noses for all the effectiveness they had in representing your company in trying to do “everything in your power to satisfy”!

 

When I walked into the store I started to talk to the girl and another staff member came breezing in all flustered and obviously late, interrupting me. As I continued that I had purchased a glass bowl that, when I got home and unwrapped it, I discovered that it had a hairline crack in it. And yes, I stood there and realized that I did not have my receipt, but I wasn’t looking for my money back either. I just wanted another one just like it that wasn’t broken. I had also picked up a few other things on my way in and had placed them on the counter for purchase.

 

Let me tell you how I would have handled this if I had been the Manager of this store. If a regular customer came in with such an item, only asking for a replacement, I would have the maturity to be able to use my discretionary judgment in thinking ahead to the value a regular and happy customer is to my store. Sometimes thinking outside the box is a good thing and since you staff your Billings Bridge location with children, I suspect this is not something that will ever occur. You really should take the “Claire de Lune will do everything in its power to satisfy you” out of your Return Policy. The utter and appalling lack of service I was made to tolerate, from children no less, shows a real lack of core customer service within the company.

 

I would like to think that the employees at the Billings Bridge location are the exception and not the norm for your staff when it comes to company representation. I hope that these kids are just uncaring part time employees that regard this as a Mcjob. Because if this is normal representation for your company then it wont make a difference to you what my “policy” is urging me to do.

 

Since I left the store without my broken merchandise, no options nor solutions, and no money back, and if no response is forthcoming from corporate headquarters, I will blog this experience. If your company is as nearsighted as you appear, it wont matter to you that I do so. I should also point out that my blog is read mainly by the demographic you target. Of course a big establishment such as yourself will not be affected in any way financially, but if more people held companies accountable, maybe they wouldn’t be hiring the lowest common denominator, or the cheapest labour in the first place.

 

As I’m sure you can see, it is not the money at issue, as I was clearly willing to eat the $15. It is the point of customer service that seems to be eroded from our retail industry, backed by “policy” and perhaps in Claire de Lune’s case, no professional adult guidance in your stores.

 

You should remember that customer service is not just a collection of words on paper. You have to live it.

Given that I wasn’t expecting any response whatsoever, imagine my surprise on Monday when I received, not only a letter of apology but a gift card as well. To top that off I talked to the woman on the phone today and she apologized again. For a measly $15! I am pleased they walked the walk. You don’t see that too much anymore in retail.

 
(Edit: I can no longer endorse this store. While I knew the quality of their product was a little shaky, I am now stunned at the lack of any quality whatsoever. Example: Out of a 3 item set I purchased which consisted of a clock, and candle holder and a covered dish; the clock stopped working and the candle holder has a 6″ crack in it that I KNOW wasn’t there when I bought it. Given that it just sits on a shelf looking pretty, the flaw was obviously there before I bought it because the hardest thing to make contact with this item was an occasional  Swiffer! One of my glass candle holders has a smudgy print on it, while its sisters pattern is crisp and clean looking.

I am appalled to think what is happening with the little gifties I gave folks this past Christmas! <blush>

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