Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Responding to customer complaints

Earlier this week I had an email exchange with Banana Republic's customer service department. I'm so impressed with their responsiveness that I'm sharing the exchange with you. Of course the next step is to see whether my next BR clothing purchase falls apart on me...What do you think, is BR being sincere in its response or just giving me lip service? Either way, the valuable lesson here is that if BR can respond to a complaint within 12 hours you can too.

My email to BR:
I'm a long time Banana Republic shopper, with the brand composing at least 50% of my wardrobe. It's among my favorite brands because of the fresh styles, reasonable prices, fit and quality. However, the quality seems to be taking a turn for the worse which is what is prompting this email. Over the past 4 months I've bought a dress, tank top and skirt all of which have had to be taken to the tailor to have the hems re-sewed after one washing, a jacket with a sleeve seam that came apart after one wearing and a silk shirt which is starting to fray at the seams of both sleeves after two trips to the dry cleaner. This on top of a handful of dresses with colors that fade and fabrics that loose their smoothness after a few washings. I've never encountered worse quality in clothing than I have from BR over the previous 4 months. Normally I would just stop shopping at your store, but because I have shopped BR for years and have never had quality issues (I have a dress that I bought 8 years ago, worn and washed more times than I can count that still looks brand new) I'm giving BR the benefit of the doubt by sending this email and encouraging that the quality be examined. Please respond and let me know how you will address these concerns.
BR's Response
Dear Ms. Conyngham,

Thank you for your e-mail. We are sorry to learn of your disappointment with the current merchandise quality at Banana Republic. However, we definitely appreciate feedback from our customers - both positive and negative - and your message will be shared with our Merchandising team. Customer feedback is the most important consideration when our merchants are planning what our merchandise quality will be like in the future.

As a note, you can take merchandise to your local Banana Republic store for evaluation, and we will be happy to offer you a return or replacement once the merchandise has been deemed defective by a manager at any Banana Republic store.

If we may be of further assistance, please contact us via e-mail at custserv@bananarepublic.com or by calling 1-888-BR-STYLE. Our Customer Service Consultants are available 24 hours a day for your convenience.


Customer Service Consultant
Responding to customer complaints is one of the most important things a company can do. It shows that you're listening and that you care. And your customers' complaints can turn into your best asset, they show you where the holes in your brand are and where your efforts for improvement should be concentrated. Remember, most people will just drop your brand. If someone takes the time to contact you about their problem you can be pretty confident that there are hundreds more in the wings that have just given up on you.

Image by: John Weise


Anonymous said...

I know your post is a few years old, but Banana Republic still uses this same email response for all customer complaints. They became increasingly argumentative when I asked follow up questions about a bad experience I had attempting to return a defective garment (tags still on the merchandise and never worn).

Anonymous said...

Another years later reader who found this post via Google. Unfortunately, this is not only a stock response, but a useless one as well; it is entirely dependent upon the store manager finding the garment "defective" in order to get a refund, and guess what? They aren't going to call your garment defective if it's been through a few washes. They'll just say that it's the regular wear and tear of washing and wearing clothes that caused the problem, or even allege improper handling and cleaning. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

I worked for BR outlet many years. The managers are poorly equipped to deal with real life issues. Just quote official rules. Here's my answer to foolish management everywhere who CHOOSE not to satisfy a customer. " I don't want to hear the policy. You are the manager representing the company. You are saying you can't help me but tha tit mNot true. You are making a choice not to satisfy your customer. If I leave unhappy, I will tell at least ten other people of my bad experience and I will call corporate without fail. They will call and tell you you could have but didn't please me and now you will." You choose. This always works. Because in the end corporate will respond to your complaint because they value your money even if the peons in local stores do not. I worked in corporate for two other companies and made the you should have pleased customer calls every day.