The (Almost) Grinch who (Almost) Stole Christmas

Last week’s post, “88 Ways For Your Company To Make The Naughty List” was a big hit. This week, we thought we’d run an article about the flip side. As luck would have it, a loyal reader shared a phenomenal story of customer service with us this week. Enjoy this guest post from Stephanie Kessler. We hope it inspires you to better service, not just during the holidays, but throughout 2011 and beyond.

Who steals Christmas? 

That’s what my mother thought yesterday when she arrived home, checked her email and found that three UPS packages that said “delivered” were missing. Nowhere to be found, even amidst the inches of snow piling up outside. We called UPS — yup, delivered. They said to call the three stores and the stores would need to file a claim. 

J. Crew and Zappos customer service were amazing.
No problem,” they said, “we’ll ship the same merchandise, free of charge overnight“. They did so because they knew there were holiday gifts inside those not-so-hidden huge brown boxes. 

Well we had many more packages on the way this week than just these three of course, so what to do now? 

The next morning came, and we called our local UPS center, as instructed, to see what time the driver would arrive to make sure someone would be home to receive the packages. Bear in mind UPS puts a 2-year hold on your address if a store files a claim, meaning no signature = no delivery. It’s for our own protection, but we weren’t looking forward to having to drive to the other side of town or shipping it all to work from now on. 

Lo and behold, a neighbor way down the street called and said our three missing packages had been delivered to her in error, as she and my mother have the same first name and very similar last names. 

Well, now we had some duplicate gifts on the way to take care of, and an ominous “hold” on our address looming if we didn’t do something quickly. 

We emailed both J.Crew and Zappos customer service, asking them to remove the UPS claim and telling them we’d ship back the duplicate packages. They responded immediately, 4 days before Christmas and all, and couldn’t have been nicer. They squared it away with UPS, and J.Crew even waived the return shipping (though we may in fact keep the duplicates–my brother really needs khaki pants)! 

Best of all, the second order was cheaper because something had been marked down since the original order. Zappos was perfect, too — they even made us both VIP customers for the trouble, giving us access to their VIP website (a very smart loyalty strategy if you ask this advertising copywriter).

All in all there was no Grinch, just a holiday mixup, and it just goes to show that a little help at the holidays goes a long way! When customer service is stressed to the max, and everyone’s trees are counting on you, I hope you’re as special as Zappos and J. Crew! 

Stephanie Kessler
Canton, MA

Thanks for the great story, Stephanie!

Got a happy holiday custo mer service story or thoughts to share? Leave a comment!


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