A Brief Moment of Customer Service Frustration

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a fabric store. While once rather popular, this chain has in recent years closed most of its stores and is generally thought to be on its way out. I’ve been known to say such things as “you still have those?”

But their website is still up and running and they churn out weekly sales, so when I saw homespun and fleece on sale for about half of what I would pay normally as well as free shipping–I hopped over to take advantage.

It was difficult to actually purchase things–mostly because while they show all of the colors of fleece and Homespun, they aren’t actually stocking about 60% of what they display. I’d settle for lesser displays if it meant I could actually find what was available. But I duly waded through, changing choices on plans for the Homespun (a baby blanket) and deciding what color I could live with in my living room until it gets warm. (Fleece curtains anyone? Don’t knock them ’til you’ve tried them)

The order was placed and confirmed and ….nothing. For over a week. Did I mention it’s the holiday season and they’re promoting things as holiday gifts in their weekly emails?

So I sent off an email to their customer service department–asking when I could expect shipment of my order. While I still haven’t received a response to that email, I did finally get a shipping confirmation, which I apparently didn’t read as closely as I should have. I saw fleece, homespun and size 50 needles but because the format of the email was screwy, I paid more attention to the tracking number.

The order arrived last night and there was fleece, homespun and needles–only, I’d ordered 2 colors of homespun. I only received one. I checked the printed packing slip, which carefully lists everything that was in the box and notably does NOT have the Deco Homespun. This company only has phone customer service from 9-5, M-F and obviously doesn’t do timely email responses, so I brought it to work with me this morning.

I will say I did promptly reach a customer service representative who couldn’t explain why I wasn’t contacted when part of my order wasn’t available. I checked the site while on the phone with her and Deco Homespun is listed as available. I pointed this out to her and was given a vague “their programmers are working on it.” This website has been around for how long and your programmers are just now working on a part of it that lists something as unavailable? Riiiiiight.

What about my email from Saturday? “Oh, my supervisor answers those and I’m sure there was a glitch.” A glitch….so did my email not get through? Her supervisor is just ignoring it? I have trouble believing “it’s a glitch” when she says in a confused tone “I don’t know because someone would have had to take it off the order before it went downstairs”–which means a person saw the order, made the modification and didn’t email me.

I tried to be polite but I did take a moment to advise her that it was really poor customer service to a) ignore customers seeking their packages when it’s been over a week since order date and b) even worse to cut things off an order that are even now currently listed as in stock on the website and not even have the common courtesy to email and say–by the way, we ran out? She agreed but I could tell that it wouldn’t make a difference and I would be written off as a difficult customer.

This was a company once where someone filling an order called me to say they only had three skeins of a yarn I’d ordered left and they happened to be two different dye lots and was that okay? The current disconnect is amazingly frustrating.

Off to pig out on the 12 kinds of Christmas cookies my coworker’s mother just dropped off. Who wants to take a break and go out for some eggnog?