Things can and do go wrong in business, which is where excellent customer service can resolve issues, errors, and disappointments speedily and rescue a situation. @Birchbox, @LoveMeBeauty, @LookFantastic, @Clarins, @LatestinBeauty, and @TheBodyShopUK are companies that I’ve had to contact, due to issues with products or my orders, and was forced to encounter their customer services in order to get issues resolved. Parcels get lost in the post, items get damaged in transit, or products are faulty. So who did well, and who could do better? Naturally, each case differs, but while some people like to complain to try and get something they aren’t entitled to, what about those who are short changed? This is no reflection on the products themselves, but how a company conducts itself, and how they choose to treat their customers. Consumer rights aside, brands and companies know bad publicity is something that is hard to delete or forget, and with social media there is little control if a company handles a situation badly. Read on for my reviews…
@Clarins gets 5/5 for their amazing and prompt customer service. A complimentary gift was missing from my order, and while it did state those magic words, while stocks last, I emailed them to see if they could at least send me the equivalent in samples. I received a reply the next day with an apology, and sent out a Beauty Flash Balm first class to me. A perfect example of how customer service should work.
@Love Me Beauty ~ 2/5 . My earlier dealings with this company still stick in my mind, when they took days to reply via social media and on Twitter where there was no response. I recently had to send a support ticket as my order hadn’t arrived two days after the delivery due date. I got a response a day later that it would be looked into, but would take another 48 hours. My parcel did arrive eventually, but the support could be better. First impressions last, and while there is some improvement, there is room for more.
@Latest in Beauty ~ 4.5/5. The response time was fast and my query was resolved on the spot. I had placed an order a few hours after a promotional gift was offered, and asked if as a gesture of goodwill they would include it as I had just ordered three boxes. They did so without any hesitation and sent me the gift under separate cover.
@The Body Shop (UK) ~ 3/5. The customer service I received here is a little mixed, and because of website issues (an upgrade to the system caused lots of site problems) I can be a little forgiving. I sent a support ticket asking why my birthday voucher hadn’t arrived and if it was still something they did. I got a response (with typos) telling me that it was too late, and that because I hadn’t signed up for emails (I had) that is why I didn’t get one sent to me, or I must have missed the email. It was pretty much an email saying ‘tough’ and that to prevent this from happening I should sign up for emails which they would do for me if I wanted to. I replied quite sternly that it was still my birthday month and I have several promotional emails from them. The second reply then apologized, and said there must have been a computer error and the birthday voucher was credited to my account. Why they couldn’t have just done that in the first place I don’t know.
Then came the tricky task of trying to use that voucher when the site kept crashing, and items would disappear and then reappear in my cart. The customer service on social media was much more helpful and the response time faster. It was more of a technical issue that was the problem, but bearing that in mind, customer services needed to be going that extra mile when customers want to order, but can’t. I was told to clear my cache, (again, passing the issue to the customer), but I knew that wasn’t the issue. It seems the customer service department needs to communicate with other departments to find out if there are problems rather than blame the customers. As I have been using some of the products for decades, it’s sad to see their standards decline, and hope this is a mere blip.
@LookFantastic ~ –1/5. Yes, that’s a minus you see as it’s the worst customer service I have ever encountered, and it’s hard to actually call it a service. The staff are unhelpful, they take a long time in replying, and just cut and paste an answer for the sake of making a reply. It took 30 messages across social media and support tickets that they kept closing, and I had to submit new ones. They never addressed my query as to why they debited my card (that had been deleted) unauthorized for an order I had not placed. In the end they stopped replying to any of my tickets, and relented and emailed me a returns form and allowed a refund under the 14 day cooling off period for distance selling. Waiting for the refund was equally as painful, and took another couple of weeks of messages back and forth. While the site may offer discounted goods, having to deal with customer service is not worth the hassle if anything goes wrong.
@Birchbox (UK) ~ 0.5/5. I’ve never had an issue with Birchbox before as they are usually on the case with things, but the recent incident over the lack of free Rituals hand balms that were confirmed in orders on Customer Appreciation Day, has pushed customer services and social media to a point where there has been no satisfactory outcome. My queries for the last 48 hours are still in a queue waiting to be dealt with, as everyone who didn’t get the gift has been told to submit a support ticket. I can only surmise that there must be thousands judging from the posts on social media with the delay in receiving a response. A better way to handle this would be to offer some free points and ensure in future, when stocks of gifts run out it doesn’t get confirmed at checkout.
The latest is the same standard reply that everyone seems to have been sent. They say that the gift was removed from the checkout at 6 p.m., but many customers know that isn’t true. While there are some good Birchbox curations, there are equally poor ones, but the customer services gets a thumbs down. When you make a mistake, admit it rather than make up an excuse or lie. That applies in real life and business.
*The important thing is to know your rights, and under English law, goods must be of a merchantable quality, and if you order via mail order, you can return or cancel any goods within 14 days of placing that order (Distance Selling Regulations) without having to give a reason, and that postage maybe refunded too.
When it comes to free gifts, a company should honour them or offer a replacement as a gesture of goodwill. Those magic words, while stocks last are very important, and if they show up on the checkout page, it is assumed they are still in stock as other goods would be too. It is a misrepresentation to advertise a product as in stock and then claim it was a computer error. There maybe little recourse in the law, but a company could lose it’s reputation, and that is priceless.