Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Open Letter to Lord and Taylor

Dear Lord and Taylor,

Thank you for your impersonal form letter. Although I appreciate the information, I doubt that is the true cause of the issue, as I have not changed or altered the billing address for my card since it was opened, and have used this card multiple times in the past few weeks for internet purchases without incident. Instead, I must point out that when placing my orders, for some obscure reason your system insisted that my zip code, ------ in R-, TX, was in fact Nala, Texas (which I am not sure even exists). Both the first time I placed the order and when I attempted to place it over the phone I was greeted with this information and had to manually override it or convince the representative that her system was, in fact, wrong and my city was different than that appearing on her screen.

Bugs happen, however, and my frustration with your company has much less to do with two cancelled ordered than it does with the experience I had with customer service. The reason you lost my business is not because your system is flawed, but because your customer service is atrocious. I am confident that had Lord and Taylor actually wanted my business, the phone representative and her manager would have offered to honor my original order. Instead, I was told that I would need to pay an additional fee for shipping, even though my original order contained free shipping, advertised and promoted by Lord and Taylor, though it was through a third-party. As the website clearly indicates that free shipping is available on orders over a certain price, free shipping was an option that could have been offered to me as a courtesy. Shipping costs for an order of that size are listed on your website: $7.95. My order total: $52.49. You lost $44.54 to save shipping costs?

I was appalled at the rudeness the representative showed me when I requested that she honor the original order, as well as the lack of interest in selling merchandise and total disregard for keeping customers happy. Perhaps you haven't noticed, but the economy isn't quite as strong as it used to be. Customers like myself will choose where to spend our money on the basis of price and service, and we now have more choices than ever. Because your representatives were unwilling to honor the free shipping offer I received on your website, you lost all of my business. And my recommendation. Any first-year business student can tell you that an unhappy customer is much more vocal than a happy one. It's expensive to win us back and can quickly damage a store's reputation. From what I've seen on your Facebook page, Lord and Taylor is not doing a good job of satisfying their customers. We do complain. We will be vocal. And you will lose business. So please train your employees better and work on making the shopping experience a pleasant one. And when we write you letters, please do us the courtesy of responding with something more than a form letter. It's not only polite, it really goes a long way towards convincing us you're worth taking a chance on in the future.

To better business practices,

Jenna Pashley

FYI: All I needed were a pair of shoes for a wedding...I'd finally found a pair of low heels in my size that didn't look as though I would be ready for a funeral! But two auto-cancelled orders and one rude customer service lady later, I gave up. But not without an email or two...

If we want good service, then we need to let companies know what we think constitutes good service. We need to tell them where they've done well and exceeded our expectations, and we need to tell them when they screw up.

I've done a lot of letter writing and polite tongue-lashing in the last year. Almost without exception, these letters receive some kind of response. Sometimes, we receive compensation, such as when a glitch in the Amex travel booking website cost us hundreds of dollars when booking our honeymoon flights, or when Air France seated us on our honeymoon in the only row of the transatlantic flight that had no power, lights or call buttons. (Going and coming.) It was a miserable ten hours, but they made it right.

Other times, all we receive is just a nice, personal note thanking us for pointing out a problem, and that's fine. The money isn't the issue. It's the principle of the thing! I do not want to live in a world where surly service is considered the norm and customers are supposed to grin and bear it. Or am I just an old grouch who should get used to this, because service is extinct?


Anonymous said...

They lost our business also. Ordered three items to be sent to different addresses the first two did not go thru the third did, then when the first two finally went thru they were cancelled because the system used the zip code used for the mailing address for the third one, which is not the zip code for our card. My wife called them that night and ended up telling the customer service rep to cancel all three orders and was told that none would be sent out then the next day one was shipped and our card charged for it. They want the $21.00 item returned, that was sent due to their error. They just need to accept their error and write off the cost of the item.

Jennifer said...

I agree that service needs to improve in these times where the buyers have more choice and businesses need to work smarter to retain their share of the dollar.

Usemeplz said...

We give them money, they must approve their responsibility to provide good service, If everyone will protest, I think it's only way to overcome their nerve.