How to piss off a customer and ways to prevent it

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dear Business Owner and Company Representative,

Most people who go into business have a few shared reasons why they do but for many it has to do with earning a dollar to live off on. Some business owners want to remain small and are happy to remain small despite the clamor for more product and/or services. Some want to grow their small business into a large empire and to become rich, very rich. Regardless of all that you, the business owner, must remember one thing - DO NOT PISS OFF YOUR CUSTOMERS!

Your customers buy your service(s), buy your products. They are paying YOU their hard earned money for something you're selling. If that item is not what they expected or wanted then how you deal with rectifying the situation with the customer can lead to an excellent reputation (such as Birchbox) or a really bad one (such as a now defunct nail polish company based out of New York). Belittling, dismissing or ignoring your customer's opinions and comments is essentially like shooting yourself in the foot. Pissing off your customer is not a good thing ESPECIALLY with social media where someone can easily post their situation along with your emails showing how you're handling the situation. Granted if the customer is being very difficult for no reason then you'll probably want to dig your heel in and not budge but that's not always a good thing to do if there is any chance that the customer has a reason to be upset. You may lose money off this customer by attempting to make the customer happy or you may never be able to make the customer happy however how YOU handle the situation regardless if the customer is happy or not in the end can help you make OTHER potential customers happy.


I ordered some products from Birchbox using my BB points. I ordered Philosophy's Hope in a Jar and Take A Deep Breath as well as Caldrea's Rosewater Driftwood Hand Soap and Imperial Gel Pomade. My order arrived within a week however my hand soap came open and leaking. Thankfully nothing was damaged but I did lose a small amount of the hand soap so I contacted Birchbox about it. Their customer service was amazing! Not only did the CS rep apologized but also issued me 100 points (a $10 credit) AND sent out a replacement bottle at no cost to me. Now here's the kicker, my replacement came and it also was open and leaking. This time I called BB CS and spoke with Jenna who not only offered to replace the hand soap again but offered me BB points. I did tell her right off the bat I didn't need a replacement since between the two bottles I had more than a full one and didn't need the points because another CS rep gave me points last week. She still credited my account 100 points despite me insisting that I didn't need the points and only wanted BB CS to be aware of the issue with warehouse sending out the Caldrea hand soaps so the warehouse can either tighten the bottles or tape the bottles to prevent leaking.

Bottom line: EXCELLENT service.

Not only was Jenna apologetic about the situation but didn't make me feel as if I was out to scam BB for free product or points.

Now on the flip side I also experienced BAD customer service from Julep. I ordered on or around September 4 the Jewel Heist Mystery Box and received it last week. The ad for the Jewel Heist campaign was misleading since it really did come across that it was a jewel tone theme box. I've ordered Mystery Boxes from Julep before, granted it's been a couple of years since I have, but the last box I recall ordering was a St. Patty's Day Mystery Box and the items fit the theme. The JHMB on the other hand did not and in fact my TWO boxes not only contained the exact same thing but those items were primarily from their "sale" page with three items having been on sale since at least July 2013!

I did contact Julep about it (see my other blog post for Julep Customer Service Rep Shawn's reply) which did anger me to the point that I decided to do some digging and found out that the gloss sent out was indeed from the 2012 American Beauty box (which I received back in 2012). I've been asking around and other people are reporting that the printed number on the backs of their glosses DO correspond to the numbers listed on the back of another blogger's photo dated July 12, 2012! Essentially I was able to prove that Shawn was not honest when he claimed that the glosses were not old. Since my original correspondence to Julep's customer service email account I have also sent a detailed email to Jane Park herself but as of this post have yet to hear back from her. I have heard back from Shawn to my last email to Julep's CS and essentially he did offer to replace the two glosses with my pick but now it's a bit "a day late and a dollar short" situation since I'm not the only affected by a gloss that originally was sent out 26 months ago.

The other issue I had with the JHMB was not only that old glosses were sent out but the original complaint was that the products sent did NOT fit the theme of the box. I and countless others expected at least one jewel tone and/or birth stone polish with 50 people winning the entire birth stone collection and one person winning the sapphire earrings.  The ad comes off to me as bait and switch since products that have been on sale since at least mid-2013 were sent out and many people didn't receive newer products.

On top of all that today I find out that KOMO in Seattle did a segment on September 19, 2014 in regards to Julep's BAD customer service and how Julep currently has a "F" rating with the WA Better Business Bureau. It's so bad that the BBB has issued their own statement about Julep!
"To date, BBB has received 172 complaints from Julep’s consumers; 113 of those have gone unanswered and 5 remain unresolved, earning the company an F rating." -- From the BBB statement.
Between the lack of customer service for people attempting to cancel to the bait and switch with the Jewel Heist Mystery Service, Julep is showing us what NOT to do when it comes to customer service. Had Shawn offered me replacement glosses from the get go despite the disclaimer "no refunds or exchanges" I probably wouldn't have dug into the matter of the glosses being from 2012 because I wouldn't have checked that out. It was his statement, "The Julep Lip Vernis – Peony was first introduced in 2012 but has been manufactured again since the original introduction of this product" that caused me to look into the matter in order to prove him wrong and I was indeed able to thanks to people posting photos of their Peony glosses containing the same numbers as the image from the 2012 blog post by Spilled Polish I was able to prove his statement was inaccurate.

So businesses, do yourself the favor and don't piss off a customer because customers DO have options if they are indeed in the right. They can not only dispute the charge with their credit card company, file a complaint with the BBB but they can also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission if an ad is deceptive or misleading (as with the Julep Jewel Heist Mystery Box) or the Attorney General's Office in that person's state. AND JUST because a person is not in the US doesn't mean they don't have options since many countries DO have some type of consumer protection law.

The bottom line is this: provide good customer service and not only will you have a customer for life but they will bring new customers with them. Remember, the customer is PAYING you not only to provide them with a product and/or service but for you to provide them with a GOOD product and/or service. It's their money paying your bills so be good to the customer.


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