Friday, October 17, 2014

When Customer Service Fails..

Hi guys! Today's post is different than usual. No pretty polish or nail art. Instead, I would like to share my worst experience with you. I took some time to think whether or not I want to post this, then I thought, if I could (and I have) share my good and wonderful experience then I should do the same with the opposite. 

I often see the slogan 'support indies' used in instagram posts, and other social network, when someone posting their manicures using an indie polish. I have to admit, I am picky when it comes to choosing which indie brands to buy, and I only have a small handful of indie brands in my collection. I usually observe the brand for quite some time before I decided to try it, mainly because I have limited amount of fund to spend on polish and indie is quite expensive compared to mainstream brands. So when I decided to spend on something, I want to be sure that I get my money's worth, in quality and customer service

Now before I get into what I want to share with you, let me stress that I am sharing my personal experience as a customer, not a blogger. 

I had a custom polish made last year by one of a new indie brand (at that time), Colors by Llarowe, late last year. It's gorgeous, and I loved it so much. So did many of my friends. I decided that I want to share my beautiful polish with my friends, and one bottle is not enough to share with 4-5 people. Fill line drives me nuts, so decanting the polish is not an option. So here goes what happened..

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Feb 4, 2014. I contacted the maker and asked if she could make extra bottles of my custom.

Feb 10, 2014. I received a positive response, yes! But I have to sent a decant so she can recreate it, since she doesn't keep recipes for custom polishes.

There was a back and forth convo before we agreed on price and she gave me the address on Feb 12, I told her that I will mail the decant the following Monday.

Feb 17, 2014. I shipped the decant.

March 5, 2014. After a little over two weeks has passed, I sent an email asking if she has received my decant. I didn't get a reply.

March 11, 2014. By this date i hadn't received a response, so I tagged her directly in a fan group for the brand. She then responded saying that she did receive the decant.

March 13, 2014. I emailed her again to let her know how many bottles I want her to make. It wasn't discussed in the initial convo, and she also didn't ask about it when she received the decant. 

May 3, 2014. I sent another email asking if she's still going to recreate my custom. There were no communication since she confirmed she has my decant.

June 13, 2014. I forwarded my email convo about the custom to Customer Support's email I found on the website, asking the CS to pass along my request to cancel the custom recreation. My reasons, other than because there were no communication, I found another polish(es) from the brand that looked very similar with my custom there's no point in having back up bottles, I just told my friends to get that polish if they liked my custom.

June 27, 2014. Found a different email address for Customer Support, didn't get a reply from the last one, so I forwarded the email convo again. Got a reply on the same day saying that she will pass along the message. 

July 22, 2014. I emailed CS again asking about what happened to the decant I sent. Since it was cancelled, I assumed that I will be getting it back, but no one contacted me about it.

Aug 8, 2014. I didn't get a reply on my last email sent. So I emailed an asked again.

Aug 12, 2014. Received a reply from CS, apologizing for the delay in replying since they had just recently moved. Confirmed that the maker does have my decant and will take care in sending it back to  me.

Sept 10, 2014. I didn't get my decant back, nor did anyone contacted me to confirm my return address or give me a tracking number. I emailed CS again and asked about it. I still haven't gotten a reply to this as this post is written.

Oct 6, 2014. Since I was getting nowhere in emails, I posted on their business page on Facebook. Basically asking the same thing, where is my decant? This post was ignored, though another post right above mine was replied.

Oct 8, 2014. I re-posted it again, really just copy/paste the whole thing, and added that I will keep posting until I get an answer. I finally get a reply saying that she has sent back my decant several months ago and she couldn't get the tracking info right away because the 'shipping computer' has closed for the day. She also apologized that CS didn't reply to me and offered to make me a sample if my decant 'got lost in the mail'.
I followed up the next day, but once again, I was ignored. 
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So there you go. At this point I am certain that I will never get my decant back, nor do I care for it anymore. I was hoping that at the very least I will get an explanation that make sense or a sincere apology. 

I realize that indie makers are a small business with very few employees, but it doesn't mean it's ok to completely ignore a customer when you haven't completed your end of the deal. Even a short reply would make a lot of difference on how I feel about the situation, and I'm not talking about reply from CS, that's not who I was communicating with in the first place.

Another odd thing that caught my attention, if they indeed have sent back the decant as they claimed, it struck me as weird that a business would send something out without any notification or tracking number given to the recipient. Especially with the no follow up after saying that she will find out about the tracking.

Now god knows what really happened to that decant, but lets say that they misplaced it.. Would I be upset? Yes, probably, and disappointed. But I know I would get over it and valued their honesty for owning up that they screwed up. Would I feel the need to bring up the matter here? Most definitely not. 

People love supporting indies not only because of the creativity of each individual, but often I hear/read that when they do support a brand, it's because they love the customer support or the interaction the brands have with their customers. Like I said at the beginning, I was picky when it comes to choosing indie brands, but I have supported this brand since their first launch. So it is such a disappointment to have experienced this. I can only hope that I'm just the only unlucky one to have had this experience, and that no one else shared a similar experience. 

I'm not writing this post out of spite or because I'm expecting to get some kind of compensation for this. I only want to share with you that this unfortunate and unacceptable thing happened. Yes, I was upset, and had I chose to write this a month ago or even a week ago the tone would have been different. I want people, my readers, to know that while it is a great thing supporting small businesses, but they are still in fact a business, and as customers, you deserved to be treated with respect. That's all I hoped for and didn't get. And for that, they have lost one customer.

If you have read this far, thank you for taking your time! I will be back posting pretty polishes :)


XO
Novi

38 comments:

  1. I can certainly understand your frustration. At this point I don't know if you'll get an apology. I would hope that if a company makes a mistake that they own up to it and apologize.

    Stuff happens, they could have mailed it and it's lost in the land where lost packages go, but they should have been able to provide you with a shipping date and tracking number and not further ignored you.

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    1. Thanks Debbie. At this point, even though apology was given, I'm not quite sure if it's a sincere one or just part of a damage control.

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  2. That's so utterly frustrating. I'd honestly be super pissed if this happened to me, and that you can write such an even-toned post is a credit to you.

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    1. It was very frustrating. I watched puppies videos in between writing. It kept me happy, lol.

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  3. That's quite frustrating! No communication is the absolute worst and no follow through might be worse! Small businesses are still a business first and foremost, and they should have customer services as their highest priority. I'm sorry this happened to you.

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    1. I agree, customer service is very important no matter what scale the business it.

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  4. That's extremely frustrating! I hope they give you some type of explanation/ communication! Very unprofessional to not even respond to your multiple attempts. I do admire how objective and PC you can be even after all this mess!

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    1. Thank you :) It was frustrating, but it felt good to be able to let things out in the open now.

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  5. This is really unfortunate to hear. Hopefully the brand takes every step to finally rectify the situation. Sadly it's gone on way too long and they certainly lost a loyal customer. Honesty and transparency is always appreciated, as a blogger and customer.

    I enjoy this brand as a blogger and customer, so this is difficult to know. Fortunately for me, I haven't had any negative experiences, but it's truly commendable for you to be able to stand up for yourself in this regard. Best wishes on an appropriate resolution.

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    1. Thanks Tiffany! It is sad it took me to go to this level to finally get a response. I loved and enjoyed this brand as a customer, but unfortunately I have reached my limit in what I can tolerate from a business. Such a shame, I have never had the need to do this for any brand.

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  6. I'm so sorry you've had to go through such frustrating and continued lack of engagement from customer service or the maker, Leah Anne, of Colors by Llarowe. I wish I could say I'm surprised but honestly I'm not. This is just another example of how poorly she treats her customers. Maybe not all of them but at least a decent amount with all the issues that she's had. I'm so sorry :( xo E.

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    1. Thank you for your support. I'm sorry if you too had a terrible experience.

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  7. I commend you for keeping up the battle for so long! I give up to easily myself.

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  8. That's awful that this happened to you, I can't imagine no communication for months on end! I think it's important to show what happens both ways when dealing with companies and you certainly get a ton of props for writing a non-attacking version of what happened. I hope you get some sort of fix for all that you've been through and thanks for sharing with us.

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  9. I would be really frustrated if this happened to me. I've had minor issues when it comes to ordering from her site (so I usually don't anymore if I can find the polish I want elsewhere) and this puts me off doing so a little further. I hope the situation will be made right for you!

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    1. Thanks Kirby! Issues with the site I can handle, but this just gone beyond my limit. I think I've had enough and I'm happy to take my business elsewhere :)

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  10. As a maker myself, I find it appalling when someone else in the same industry does something like this, because it sheds such bad light on the rest of us. I do everything, and I mean EVERYTHING in my power to make sure all of my customers are happy, even if it means going above and beyond. As a customer, I gave up on CbL/Llarowe a long time ago, but this honestly doesn't surprise me, given the track record. I commend you for being able to be so patient on the surface, even when you were wanting to flip out on the inside. I might not have been so diligent!

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    1. Thank you for reading the post and giving your thoughts on this. It's nice to know what other business owner thinks of this situation. This does not make me lose hope on indies, I know there are many great indie brands out there, in both quality and customer service :)

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  11. Oh, I would be super frustrated, irritated, and disappointed too. I'm like you in that I tend to stick to only a few brands of indies that I know I won't be disappointed by. I also don't have unlimited funds, and I would like to use them towards a brand I can support 100%. Sorry this happened to you, and I hope it gets sorted out (or at least an apology of some sort) soon.

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  12. I too commend you for hanging in there and most importantly for telling your story. Customer service is THE deciding factor in where I ultmately decide to spend my meager funds. You were right to take your business elsewhere. I recently had to do so (different business) with a purchase I waited months to make. It is very disappointing and frustrating when you have to give up on someone with a great product but deficient customer service.

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    1. Thank you! and I'm sorry to hear about your recent experience. It's such a bad feeling to have someone you trusted disappointed you.

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  13. This is so beyond frustrating. I really think that if businesses can't handle doing specialty custom work like that because they are overwhelmed, then they would do much more for their business by saying no to requests because of situations like this. I wonder if they are worried about pissing people off by saying no, but really this is SO MUCH WORSE.

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    1. Exactly Jenny! It would have been SO much better had she just said no from the beginning.

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  14. Wow, this is a terrible situation to be put in. I'm sorry that you had to go through such a negative experience, especially as a paying customer. I can't imagine why it happened to you, and I hope you get an apology, but with the timeline you wrote, it doesn't seem like that'll come anytime soon unfortunately :( This post was very well written, by the way!!

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  15. Wow, I'm so sorry that you had to go through this. I've never had an experience like this with any brand, I can't imagine how frustrating this mush have been. I hope that you get some sort of an apology. Also, you did a really great job at writing this post and going about it in such a professional way!

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    1. Thank you! This is my first, and hopefully the only one, time I have had such terrible experience with any kind of business really.

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  16. Sorry for your furstrations :( I've never had issues with CbL in the 3 years I've been buying from her, but I'm sorry you are

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    1. Thank you! Glad to hear you have nothing but good experience.

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  17. I commend you for typing up such a respectful post!! I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I haven't had any bad experiences with this brand/business but I don't blame you at all for being upset!!!

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  18. I feel for you. I'm afraid that this type pf behavior will shine for all of the Indies out there. I'm Ruby White Tips and it's just me. I do it all and LOVE IT!! I have met some wonderful people that I really consider friends, I couldn't imagine being so unsocial with a customer. I'm sorry you went through this, you'd never go through that with Ruby White Tips!!! (if you want a blogger discount, of 50% off, just contact me on my business FB page)

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    1. Thank you Laura! I will keep your kind offer in mind :)

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  19. This isn't the first time Leah Anne and Llarowe have provided terrible customer service. I've seen so many complaints about Llarowe the past few months that I've avoided shopping there for the past 4ish months. I'd encourage other people to do so as well. That way reputable indie stockists (Color4Nails, Overall Beauty for exs.), with good customer service, will have indies approach them instead of Llarowe. I'm sorry this happened to you Novi. I hope Leah Anne will miraculously find your decant, but somehow, I doubt it.

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    1. Thank you! I agree, there are other distributors out there with a much better service.

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