Customer Service at the Underwear Store

I’ve been a frequent shopper at Ross Dress for Less for years.  When Emme was small, she would announce to all the other Ross patrons upon entering the store, “THIS IS MOMMY’S UNDERWEAR STORE!”

Because it is.

She would also alert the barrista at the local coffee shop upon gracing their establishment, “COFFEE MAKES MOMMY HAPPY!”

Because it does.

It was around this time that I desired to shop alone.

Last week, I headed to Ross to find some cotton twin sized sheets for Jensen’s new big boy bed.  I found some jersey cotton sheets in denim blue at a good price.  I also got a white cotton blanket.  I’m avoiding the traditional comforter route because of his allergy to dust mites.

I got the sheets home and followed all the recommended washing instructions.  And btw, sheet manufacturers listen up, WHAT’S UP WITH THE FINE PRINT?  Just make the label a little bigger so I don’t have to put on two pair of reading glasses to see it.  ‘Kay?

When I went to make up Jensen’s bed, I nearly pulled a muscle (and I use that term loosely) attempting to get the corners on.  At one point I was splayed out on the mattress attempting to hold all four corners down at the same time.  Which I did manage because I’m always up for a challenge.  However, when I hoisted myself up, the mattress began to curl up, and the fitted bottom sheet didn’t even begin to cover the sides.  Thus loosing its status as the fitted sheet.

A day later I headed back to Ross to return the sheets, hoping to find something else.

The clerk, who ceased to be nice upon learning I was returning something, half listened to my explanation, and said that they could not refund my money, or even exchange the sheets.  She called an equally disagreeable manager type person over to repeat her speech.

I gathered up my sad little package of sheets and left.  Vowing in my head never to return.

“Ross, you are dead to me.”

Underwear from Wal•Mart can’t be all that bad.

Isn’t it funny, how one negative experience can make a consumer throw out the entire baby with the bath water?  But, it’s true.  One bad encounter will make us avoid an establishment for years.

It is the reason that I haven’t graced a Checkers Drive-thru in 6 years.  It only took one pimply faced disrespectful employee to cause me to bid Checkers farewell in my rear view mirror.  Forever.

When I returned home from Ross, I sat and e-mailed a letter of discontent to Ross National Customer Service.  I didn’t owe the cuss jar any loose change.  I want you to know that.  I simply expressed my disappointment in their policy, and how the transaction was handled.

Now listen.  I do know the other side of the coin.  I worked in Customer Service at Beall’s Department Store in San Antonio for years while I was going to college.  Customers and their wide variety of complaints use to drive me crazy.

But I also knew that I was working for a family owned company that placed customer service high in importance.

The next morning, I received a very nice e-mail from Ira Sandhu at Ross Corporate Headquarters.  She explained their return policy in a much more pleasant tone, and asked me to give her my phone number.  Which I did.  And not 5 minutes later she called.

She asked me when I could return to the store, because she wanted to let them know so they could issue a refund for the sheets.

I went that afternoon, and the clerk that was on duty could not have been more helpful.

And I did indeed find more sheets that worked beautifully.  Plus an adorable basket to fit in the girl’s bunk bed cubby hole.  Okay.  And 3 pair of underwear.

I returned home happy, and wrote back to Ms. Sandhu telling her that I was well taken care of, and thanking her profusely for her attention in the matter.  She in return e-mailed me and thanked me for being a valued customer.

And all was right with the retail world.

You can bet that especially in this economy, I am going to frequent those establishments that place a high priority on customer service.  And then tell my friends about that service.  And perhaps even blog about it.

Word of mouth from happy customers is perhaps the greatest form of advertisement that a company can invest in.

I open the floor to you all.  What type of customer service have you been receiving lately, and how has that affected your repeat business?

deedeesig

April 20, 2009

31 Responses to Customer Service at the Underwear Store

  • Hohohoho! I have done that very same thing when it comes to customer service. Especially in restaurants… we recently went to Applebee’s and had a not-so-attentive waitress… I promptly sent an email to corporate, and received a $25 voucher for another meal… and this time… it was very good service.

    I also make it a point to send in comments when we get good service as well… both Chipotle and Red Robin have received emails from me! In this economy… every dollar counts and if I’m spending my $$$, I expect to have at the very least, decent service and drink refills instead of being ignored.

    Suzanne @
    http://sugarloafcottage.blogspot.com

  • I’m so glad that Ross redeemed themselves. I LOVE that store, and I’d hate to think that you’d never go back.

  • I spend a lot of time and $ at eating establishments. Keeping my tea glass filled is very important, but the thing that always stirs me up is when I put my money down with the check, then when the waiter picks it up he/she just has to ask, “Do you need change?” It’s like blatantly asking for a tip. Do I look like I’m not going to leave one??? Maybe I had planned to leave a larger tip than what my change would amount to. Or maybe I’ve left $100 bill for a $25 meal. Either way, let ME decide. Asking for it is just rude and it always ruins my meal.

  • Oh, I am so easily peeved over poor customer service. Then my husband will tease me incessantly about my “bitter boycotts” AND my “poison pen letters.” But I’m usually a very pleasant person. Really!

  • Yes, word of mouth works, esp. when you’ve got a blog read by thousands upon thousands! Did you mention that? You might have even gotten a chance to do a Ross giveaway, if you had done that. Doesn’t really matter much to me, since we don’t have any Ross’s here in Ohioland. Sigh…. I have written notes to restaurants with great success, like when I wrote a chili restaurant, complaining that their employees were using the in-restaurant TV to watch the Jerry Springer show, right in front of my kids. I got all kinds of free coupons for that one. And, you just reminded me I need to email a local restaurant here and let them know that they left a French onion soup out of my carry-out order last week (really, who wants to drive all the way back to a restaurant for one last item, when you’ve already driven all the way home). The one company I won’t do business with ever? MCI, when the sales lady, over the phone told me that she thought I was crazy for not taking the deal (this was in the days before I realized that it is not rude to hang up on these people, once you’ve expressed to them that you have no interest, and she kept me on the phone for 45 minutes!). So, no matter how good the deal, I refuse to do business with MCI. Thanks for letting me vent, 15 years after the fact!

  • There are two–and ONLY two–establishments which CONSISTENTLY offer high customer service: Publix and Chick-fil-A. I will go out of my way and even pay a little more to frequent both. I admire their higher-ups who do the training or at least who supervise the training because it’s top-notch. Never had a bad experience at either place. And I say “Thank you” as many times as possible at CFA just because it gets me giddy to hear them answer “My pleasure.” How nice is that?

  • I’m so thankful that you posted this story, and that Ross HQ demonstrated integrity. And I echo the sentiment that you let Ross know about the blog influence.

    In this economy or any for that matter, if you don’t place a value on customer service, then do not expect to see one shriveled dollar from my wallet. I don’t have the time, the patience or the motivation to spend effort on a company that patronizes or condescends to “deal” with me. Society has abandoned the value and honor of a trustworthy word, and I will do whatever I can to frequent those places that honor their word and deny those places that do not.

  • Our local Chick-fil-A has impeccable customer service. I’ve never been in any fast food restaurant that compares…and believe me, with 2 children, I’ve been in more than my share of fast food joints.

    And because of the service, I’m willing to pay a little more for their chicken nuggets than the totally processed ones down the street.

    Once several years ago I got home with a take out order that was wrong. I called to complain and the manager offered to drive across town to bring me the correct order. When it’s raining, employees come to your car to escort you to the door with an umbrella.

    Good customer service goes a long way with me and my husband.

  • WOW! Talk about great customer serivce. In today’s economy, the retailers should be concerned when we the customers get up set, they need us just as much as we need them.

  • We love Chick-Fil-A as well. I have always driven past several fast food places to go to there. Last year they finally opened one five minutes from our house and it is the best one yet. The kids and I go at least once a week so that they can play in the play room there. I order my food and pay and then the employees bring my food to me, they walk around asking to refill drinks and throw away trash for you. The best part is that the owner of that store only plays Christian Music.

  • Love Chic-Fil-A (My BFF from college is married to an Owner/Operator) & Publix, too.

    But ROSS…I am so happy to hear that they took such good care of you. I was just talking to some friends the other night who have a firm blacklist policy. It is exactly as you describe it…One bad experience ruins everything. I couldn’t bear it if ROSS were blacklisted.

  • I’ve boycotted one of the chain drugstores who not only gave VERY poor customer service on a sale, but then cooperate, who promised to make it right, never DID refund my money. Haven’t been back since.

    I did have EXCELLENT service at our Ruby Tuesday the other day. We’ll go to one closest ot our house, but not the one closest to the major shopping areas. That one has poor service, poor layout, and less than stellar cleanliness. UGH!

  • Add my vote for WONDERFUL experiences at Chic-Fil-A; not only for family meals now but their catering as well. I have an advisory board luncheon I plan for each month and chose to use them for the last meeting. We got tons of food and great service at a very good price. When I received the invoice I noticed they didn’t charge us for the fruit tray (which they did deliver) so I called to get a corrected invoice. The lady who answered thanked me for being honest, but said they would just write it off, and they hoped that I would continue to use them for my catering needs.

    My 17 year old son is now looking for his first job and I’m heading him toward Chic-Fil-A … they work ethic they teach their staff is something I think would benefit him in the future. I have never so many polite teens in one place!

    Plus … they have THE BEST fruit cups around!

  • I was in Wal Greens the week before Easter looking at Easter candy. I commented that it really sucked that all the candy in a particular sale was either characters i dont allow in our home(spongebob) or chocolate and my oldest eats NO chocolate….The manager overheard me, brought 4 choices of non choc non offensive candy and offered to meet the sale price for me so that my child might have a happy Easter as well…
    thats customer service!!!
    Steff

  • I am a Customer Service Rep. I try to treat each customer as I want to be treated, which ain’t always happenin, if you know what I mean. Some people can’t help but be ugly. But I’m appalled, mainly at the teenage and college age kids who work in CSR positions – has my generation just totally dropped the ball on teaching basic good manners? I’m happy to hear someone took charge of a negative CSR and made it right. I wish the support staff at Dell and Linksys could take some lessons from them.

  • One store I will never enter again: our local Old Navy store. I spent 45 minutes in there with my two teenage daughters. When we went to pay for a shirt we discovered it was twice the price we expected. I asked to see the manager to point out the confusing signage. The multi-pierced manager “politely” proceded to very condescendingly explain to me what a dolt I was to not read the signs properly. I also asked if the music could be turned down a bit since my daughters and I had to yell at each other to be heard. She let me know that the speakers were turned as low as they go, in fact on the weekends it is much louder since their “normal customers” prefer it loud. Obviously I am not normal; I’m 43 years old. So we walked out of the store without the shirt, assuring the manager that since we weren’t normal customers we probably wouldn’t be back. In the car I asked my daughters if I had just embarrassed them with my comments to the manager. They said, “No. We should have backed you up. She might have listened to us better.”

  • My best deal of late was with a corporation, not so much a retail store. My son was leaking through his pull ups at night. Every night. I finally went out and bought the most expensive overnight “30%more absorbent than regular overnight pull ups” pull ups. He leaked out of them. Two nights in a row. I called the company (Kimberly Clark) and let them know that I wasn’t happy. In the course of conversation she asked me how much I thought I’d paid for them. I told her and she told me they’d send out a refund check. So, not only do I get my money back, my bestest girlfriend who LOVES the kind of pull ups I bought gets a mostly full package of her favorites!

  • Well Comcast’s poor customer service led me to the satellite service I use now which I totally love better. The most interesting part is the rude “manager” at least she said she was…actually suggested I go with DirecTV when I complained about them billing me incorrectly for the umpteenth time and I said that if there was another cable company I would look at that instead (I was so frustrated that she had been on the phone with me for 30 minutes treating me like I was the dumb one) Her response was “go to directv then”. So I did…then I sent a really nice letter to her manager thanking her (the person who suggested it) for directing me over to my new satellite company because I really loved it and their customer service at the new place was impeccable. I was not snotty about it just polite. I included my phone number and about 30 minutes after I emailed that I got a call from a top person at comcast…inquiring. lol I wound up not going back to them even though they tried, however the remaining balance on my bill was completely comped. So I guess they were not all bad.

  • One word – Target. While the in-store customer service is kind of spotty (I spend a lot of time searching for people with red shirts on), their return policy can’t be beat. You can return pretty much anything at any time – they don’t care if you have a receipt, have opened it or even used it. I’ve returned things I’ve ripped the tags off of. I’ve returned things I bought a year before and have long since lost the receipt. I’ve even returned things that I wasn’t exactly sure if I’d bought there in the first place (okay, you caught me…but they carried it…). They won’t give you cash back without a receipt, but they’ll give you a store credit, and since I make at least one Target run a week, who cares!

  • P.S. on my Chic-Fil-A comment above:

    Today I received a thank you letter from the manager. Thanking me for my business, introducing himself and encouraging me to use the same location for my catering needs to receive care and attention in the future. He closed the letter by saying he was looking forward to a long and successful business relationship with me in the future.

    Wow ….

  • I always find the service at our local Best Buy to be great. Recently I thought my laptop had gone kaput and took it in to the Geek Squad counter.

    The nice young gentleman took about 30 seconds, held up the cord and asked me if we had a puppy. The plug end that goes into the computer showed signs of having been chewed on. While I stood there stumped for a moment my 7 yr. old daughter piped up “Oh no, I did that.”

    Um ya, my kid ate the computer cord.

    Anyway, nice young Geek Squad guy says we sell replacement cords here but they are about $100. I’m sure I’m staring at him with a look of double shock 1-she ate the cord and 2-it’s gonna cost $100 bucks to replace.

    He then says, you can go on Ebay and get one for under $20. Sure enough I got one for $18 shipping and all. That sweet young man saved me $82. I so appreciate him telling me when his store could have had the sale.

    The 7 yr old appreciated it to as she had to pay for the cord.

  • I have to chime in on Chick-Fil-A as my younget son is now a proud employee of CFA – and I couldn’t be happier. Their training is great – the enviroment couldn’t be better for a teen/young adult and the best part is now when I say “thank you” anytime at home it is typically answered with a “my pleasure”…gotta love that! I think all Christian young men should be “drafted” to work at CFA.
    And a great book on raising boys was written by the founder, S. Truett Cathy, “It’s Better to Build Boys than Mend Men”…a very good read!

  • I just received a box with several bags of potato chips and several coupons for free chips, from a company I once just sent a shot email telling them how much we enjoyed their chips. My first email to Popchips prompted them to send my coworkers 3 cases of chips, let me tell you that gift brought many new customers to their company. I cannot say I’ve had a better experience dealing with a big corporation.

  • AMEN! to all the chickfilA comments!!! We live in the southern Philippines and when we come home we ALWAYS, literally, leave the airport and go straight to Chick Fil A. Another great store with awesome customer service is LLBean. they run on the expensive side but you get what you pay for not just in clothing value but in customer satisfaction.

  • Let me just say living in the Midwest pretty much sucks! The weather is horrible, and we have NO Chick Fil A or Ross. I need to move!!

    • Oh, y’all. This discussion has made me giddy. AND I JUST FOUND OUT THAT WE’RE GETTING A CHICK-FIL-A JUST DOWN THE STREET. WITH AN INDOOR PLAYGROUND.

      My joy knows no bounds.

  • We’re living overseas and had to chuckle the other morning when our phone/internet company called with a pre-recorded message to see if we were pleased with the level of service. One of the options was to press “2” to talk to a customer service representative. But when the hubby pressed “2” he got a busy signal. LOL

  • This didn’t happen lately, but when my son (now 4) was a baby we were up to our eyeballs in medical bills (from a NICU stay and health issues he had), so every purchase was carefully budgeted and thought out.
    Every few weeks I would take myself down to the local Sam’s club and stock up on diapers, which worked well for many months until I got a box full of defective diapers. Everytime you would try to put the diaper on the child, one or both of the tabs would come off in my hand. Thinking it was a fluke, I bought another box that had the same issue.
    I wrote a firm, but nice, letter to the makers of Pampers informing them that if this was the way their product was going to be, then I would have to stop giving them my hard earned money and buy another brand. I had a reply within hours and checks for 4 (!) new boxes of Pampers in my mail box by the end of the week.
    Needless to say, we continued to use their product and continue to do so with our son’s 9 month old little sister!

  • I went into a local shoe store (Hayden Shoes) 10 minutes of 5 pm, thinking they closed at 6. I needed sneakers for all 4 of my boys. She politely said she only had a few minutes, but lets start and do what we can. She asked my price range, and i answered I needed all 4 for under $100. At 5:05 I walked out with 4 new pair of sneakers, and paid $73!! I’ll never sneaker shop at Walmart again!

  • This reminds me to do something about the bank where my husband and I have accounts. I went there to cash a check for my youngest daughter (she signed it and I forgot to). I was asked if she had an account there, told them no. I told them that my husband and I both had an account there. They told me that we could have it cashed for a fee or take it to the other bank it was from (in the same town) to have them cash it. I was aghast that the fee would be $7.50, also that they would charge when we’ve cashed checks from out of state, with no explanation as to why, no offer to drop the fee if I signed too. We went to the other bank and were nicely told that it may have been because the check giver’s info wasn’t preprinted. They didn’t charge us at all!
    I’ll probably call our bank and talk to someone in management early next week about it.
    Interesting twist on it here…I have a friend in FL who I mentioned to briefly about “ranting about my bank” that day and he asked “What bank? I’ll buy it for you!” He happens to be the son of two MBA pros and threatened his own bank with account withdrawal when they gave him a difficult time over a check for his inheritance (to fund his expensive house). He also dropped his parent’s names, threatening to tell them what happened and to have them tell their friends. He got his check within 24 hrs.!
    Of course he was kidding about buying the bank for me, saying they’re headaches to own anyway.

  • L L Bean….fabulous service for me.