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Thursday, 7 October 2010

A shopaholic's moan...

And so I log onto the intranet at work and the words ‘obsessive about customer service’ bounce off the red and white Vodafone page, my subconscious clearly processing my various shopping experiences. This of course is no surprise to me, all I’ve thought about the last twenty-four hours is customer service and how in the UK we know very little about it or perhaps a mere nothing,… is that a fair comment?
As an extremely busy individual, most of my shopping is done over the internet. The one factor that consistently drives me to return to a site or an actual physical store is the experience. Stay with me, I will tie in my fabulous, not so fabulous and down right exasperating experiences and outings into my tale at some point.

I unashamedly admit that I do a fair amount of shopping on Asos and not just because the t.v ads are so fabulous, the ‘user experience and engagement’ is phenomenal! Asos is simply every ‘busy, shopaholic, aspiring fashionista’s ‘dream.
For one, I have a ‘saved items’ list, where I can achieve the ‘very underrated grandeur of window shopping’ , now not only can I gloat lasciviously and salivate over stunning clothes, I can save them and buy them when I eventually choose to.
In the history of ‘online shopping’ never has there been a more efficient search engine; 'every filter' in the book adorns the plain white sides of asos.com., this effectively means if I want a size 10, black , asymmetric, short dress that was designed by ‘Alexander Wang’ all I need to do is click, click and click and then it not only shows me the dress but how to complete the look , as it drops precious hints on which celeb recently wore it and what they looked like, how they accessorised and that’s only the start of the experience.
Once I move into the ‘check out’ area, I'm so kindly asked which of my 3 registered addresses do I want my purchase billed and shipped to... and yes most times, I get my stuff delivered to work but billed to my home, so this is 'tres - useful'. As my credit card details are held on file, Asos simply asks me to enter my CVC (card verification code) and then a few minutes later; yours truly receives a really cool e mail telling me what I’ve ordered and a day or so later I’m notified when my items are dispatched. No issues with entering my addresses, no issues with returns… aah yes! They also send a returns slip with all deliveries so returns are extremely easy. The sizes are almost ‘bang-on’ which translates to; in all my ‘Asos’ years, I’ve only sent ONE item back and the funds were back on my card in… wait for it… 3 days!... Mac made wait 14 days! I’m Asos VIP (pathetic eh? *sigh*)so I get to hear about the sales a day before and I get vouchers all the time… It may all be done in a bid to attract me to keep spending with them ... but guess what? it works! I actually feel special  when I’m spending my 'hard-earned mulah' with these guys… is Asos American???
Argos are almost as perfect… yup trust me… Little woods … horrendous… Amazon… hmmm! This one was perfect until I signed up for the now-so-dreaded ‘one click’ ordering, so now I have no idea which of my cards is being charged. Now that is annoying because I am a planner, ‘plan my money’ to the ‘minute-est’ detail is what I do; Gosh, I mean how else am I going to keep spending astronomically… huh?
And of course I get 13 different deliveries; all separate when I put a big order through… aarrrgghh!!! But, I did get a bottle of ‘Davidoff Game’ for free… and we love perfume! … So ‘not so brilliant’ experience but cool gifts!.. by the way, if you’re a student; Amazon is almost impossible to live without...

fabulous Audrey Hepburn having breakfast right in front of Tiffanys'... and no Tiffanys' not a restaurant, its a jewelry store...
My worst internet shopping experience however, happened to be Tiffany’s, which hurt so bad. C'mon, Audrey Hepburn's 'Breakfast at Tiffanys' is only my best movie of all time, not to mention that I think she might have transferred the sentiments gained from 'eating an all butter croissant while peering through glass shields at exotic, perfectly carved jewelry right through to me' … they have diamonds on there worth millions of pounds and the experience was crap???… Horrendous! Unfortunately buying jewelry at 3:00 am after a fab dinner at Nobu didn't directly transcend to a memorable 'breakfast at tiffanys' moment. Granted, my transaction was only slightly above £700, but for God’s sake, the entire experience of buying jewelry should be pleasantly unforgettable; 'to be remembered - permanently ebbed in my memory', but no, not this one! First the address had to match word for word exactly what ‘crap database’ tiffanys' owned, I didn’t have to create an account, I didn’t have to sign in… blah blah blech! and then it kept taking forever and then I almost gave up… and then it worked… 45 very slow, very arduous minutes later. The jewelry was intensely orgasmic and that’s why I stuck it out… and of course I’m a shopaholic… Gucci.com was just lame, nothing! Just lame and bland.
Net-a-porter, the outnet, cocosa... all cool but my faves are still Asos and then Tobi‘safety’… and oh how could I forget e bay. One word ... safety! I feel safe when I shop with e-bay. It’s clear that’s the one thing they ensure their users feel, how ironically pleasant as the idea of a million buyers and sellers definitely gave me an initial sense of uneasiness, a virtual market place that prioritises the interests of its audience ( for there's always an audience... right? ask Inua Ellams')… Tesco.com, its okay but they WILL forget half your shopping and the ‘Soho Theatre’… hmm! They won’t tell you about the latecomers’ policy so if you’re 10 minutes late, you won’t see the show, the Lyceum, however will let you leave tickets for one of your ‘late’ friends at the box office. Humming Bird’ as much as I love the cakes, 12 GBP is a ridiculous delivery charge never mind they can only guarantee a delivery time of 12- 5 pm… and the list goes on…


Physical locations, now that’s a whole different story… Gucci, annoyingly stuck up and I very rarely pull the race card, but these guys are plain silly… Louis Vuitton… to die for. Jimmy Choo – fab, fab service… Someday when I begin to afford names like ‘Bottega Veneta’, you know the ones that are impossible to pronounce, I shall let y’all know.
Humming Bird… now the store was so different to the site… fantastic! They actually let us in after they’d closed their doors, now that’s service! Hakassan and Umu … great interiors, not great service. Umu … pretty, arty, very decorated food, Hakassan ; the food tastes better and the portions are bigger :). Nobu; crap interior, it looked like an expensive version of Wagamama; plain decor,  fantastic food however, thw Wagyu beef was fantastic and sushi to die for and of course we spotted a few celebs… what’s not to pay for?... Finally Apple, my all time favourite, Brilliant Hardware, Brilliant software; Brilliant customer service sans the iPhone 4 of course… I must warn you though if your product stops working, check and check again as they aren’t quick to do a swap, however they would offer to repair or change the parts, that's how sure they are of the quality of their products; once again! sans the iPhone 4does it get any better?…

Pure Genius...
... so last night after work, I very briefly stopped at the Vodafone store in Paddington. For some insane reason, my brand new dongle wasn't working. I handed it to the gentle man at the counter and the the following conversation occurred;
him:  are you sure there's credit on it?
me: I've never used it
him: well you would need to bring your laptop in
me: uhhhhh! I can't do that... its a 17" MacBook Pro, its too heavy... can you please check the sim's working? I keep getting a sim error.
him: you have to bring your laptop in, I can't do anything about until I see it...

Now you see, I work for VF groups and somehow I couldn't quite match our values; 'speed, simplicity and trust' to my experience with this dude. I was on the receiving end of a trail of dirty looks and sarcastic comments. What better time really was there to pick up some blank test Sims for my UE team from this unassuming gentleman?... So I pulled out my VF badge (very snide look of course, I was pulling rank) and the dude staggered... literally! What ensued was the 'rebirth of a new employee' he was the kindest soul on earth, dirty looks disappeared and now I had two of them serving me... *sigh!* ... no one explains it better than Randy Glasbergen...

29 (look and act 24), 34DD and playful, black-British, 5ft 6in, speak with an 'american twang'...should that matter when I walk into a store? shouldn't the fact that I'm a customer or a client be more than enough of a reason for somewhat civil treatment?... Last night I was a VF client not an employee... an extremely disappointed client...

I guess the answer to the hutch dog's question is... no! they'll paint themselves red...

5 comments:

T.Notes said...

Uhmmmmmm....okkkkkkkk....i am educated-considering that i'm no fan of shopping n 'ish...Good Lord Stils,you should be doin some weekend magazine's social life reviews!Jilt vodaphone!

Afrigenic said...

Online shopping is such a life saver, as makes life easier, especially down here in Nigeria where we do not have many options.

Vickii said...

Wow, you should be paid for this kind of information! You sure do shop online a lot :D

ASOS are great I agree! And I know it's not really a flaw but my biggest problem with them is they have too much stuff so I get bored browsing! You can't please some people eh?!

inStilettos said...

hey TN - lol! @ jilt VF
@Afrigenic: It is a saver - thanks for coming thru'.
@V lol@you should be paid for this, filter filter filter on asos... it makes life easier! lol thanks for coming thru!

Chic Therapy said...

i love Asos too