Everything you need: unbiased reviews, product specs and great deals.
Jun 12, 2008
Jun 12, 2008
Searching for the " Lost Art of Customer Service"? Look No Further!
I've been told more than once that I'm "that girl" - the one with the apparently impossibly high expectations. I'm never afraid to speak up (in a polite and respectful way, of course) when something that I am paying for isn't to my liking (e.g. I send my food back at restaurants if it's not what I asked for and how I asked for it). I try to do my own
job to the best of my ability and I am a big fan of common sense, common courtesy, and customer service.
Unfortunately, in today's world, this sets me up for a lot of disappointment! I tend to do quite a bit of shopping online and there have been experiences that have ranged from annoying to downright ridiculous.
Although I tend to be a bit sarcastic (yes - really!), I also give credit when credit is due. Plenty of people complain when they get bad service, but how many go out of their way to really compliment exceptional service? I try to make sure that I always do - which brings me close to the point of my ramblings thus far.
Over the past few years, I have also had quite a few good experiences with online merchants. These are the companies that make me understand what my grandmother refers to as
the "lost art of customer service" - and she should know. She was married to someone in the fashion industry for years and she typically had a hat, purse, shoes, and
possibly even a coat, scarf, and/or gloves for each perfectly coordinated outfit (I would have loved this! Swoon . . .). She is not your typical grandmother. She is, however, the woman responsible for my love of shoes. It's totally genetic and I am helpless to fight it!
So far, I have found a mere handful of stores that seem to have VERY above average levels of service. In the online world, I would say this is NOT a fair thing to say about Piperlime.
I think it would be a vast understatement.
I perused the Piperlime web site quite a bit before I ever ordered. Free shipping & free returns? Always? Where was the catch? Well, I finally took the plunge and it was very refreshing indeed! Also, I have yet to find a catch and have since stopped looking for one.
I think that Piperlime has the concept of amazing service nailed in nearly every imaginable aspect. A bright and inviting web site? Check. Easy navigation? Check. A simple, yet attractive, logo? Check. A wide range of styles that appeal to a large range of ages and personalities? Check. Styles in a wide price range? Check. The above mentioned free shipping AND free returns??? Somebody pinch me! Check and check! A user friendly checkout process? You betcha. Truly hassle free returns? Yep.
I am simply delighted with their entire shopping experience. I say this as someone who has done exponentially more than her fair share of shopping and as someone who isn't easily impressed. In fact, impressed is a rare state for me, but Piperlime has put me there.
I almost hate to include the slightest negative comment here. However, I must admit that my one and only encounter with Piperlime customer service via phone was very average. I am pretty sure that I was talking to someone in her late teens or early twenties who was a ball of attitude and had a distinct sound of annoyance in her voice. I kind of felt like I was talking to my younger sister (who is right in that age range - and knows everything . . . ) and I actually hung up a bit amused since the girl did get my issue resolved and did so in a timely manner. But, let's get back to the love . . .
In addition to all of the above features that I adore about Piperlime, there are also the fun aesthetics of receiving their packages (which arrive pretty quickly, by the way). I loved the simple white box with the aforementioned logo which opened to reveal that the inside was completely patterned in bright cheery lime slice print. I don't care who the customer is, that is just a fun and unexpected extra touch, but not the end of the unexpected extras or the finishing touches.
Finding shoe boxes wrapped in tissue paper upon opening a package was not a first for me, but the care with which it was done by Piperlime was. Oftentimes (with other merchants), the tissue is wrinkled, ripped, etc. and the sticker holding it all together (if there is one) is
slapped wherever it happened to land. It makes you wonder why they bothered in the first place.
Now, I feel that I should add here that while I may be particular, I am certainly not above ordering things that
don't come wrapped in anything except maybe a plastic bag. But, if the company is going to take the time and spend the money and use the paper to do it, it seems somewhat silly to do so haphazardly. Piperlime seems
to understand that concept. Each of my boxes was perfectly wrapped in plain brown tissue paper with a fun lime sticker sealing it closed and, of course, the sticker was perfectly placed.
When opened, each box contained well packaged shoes. There were no pairs that looked as though that had definitely been worn by someone else in a capacity that exceeded a bit of walking around the house on carpet to test them out. There were no spare packaging parts floating around like someone had previously unpackaged the shoes and then thrown
them back in the box along with all of the random packing materials such as bags, tissue paper, etc. There were also no errors. I actually got exactly what I ordered!
Additionally, I loved how the invoice came in a fun green open ended envelope along with a card explaining that others may have "shoe envy". If that doesn't inspire at least a smile in someone, I'm not sure what would. I
did have to return something (simply because of fit) and the return was truly free and simple. There was no copying 17 digit item numbers down and writing out product descriptions (that type of process drives me insane). I think the whole form took about 15 seconds to complete. I simply put the enclosed UPS label on the box,
dropped it off at the UPS store with no problem, and that was that.
While these past few "small details" may seems trivial to some, I think that they are anything but. I think that a company that shows perfection down to even the smallest of details is very likely a company that shows perfection in the large issues, a company that is well run, and a company that is ultimately quite likely to be successful and enduring.
To show my appreciation, I immediately emailed a letter of praise to the company and placed another order! I just felt that those were the right things to do!
Some odds and ends to mention are the following:
- Piperlime carries shoes for women, men, and children. They have also somewhat recently started to carry a fairly limited supply of handbags. I get the feeling that they are testing the waters right now with this and will expand their selection of handbags if they turn out to be good sellers.
- Piperlime is the shoe division for the company that also runs Banana Republic, The Gap, and Old Navy. Please don't let this discourage you if you don't love these other stores. I have an occasional find at Old Navy, but have never been a big fan of The Gap or Banana Republic. The shoes at Piperlime, in my opinion, are not reflective of these other stores.
- Piperlime occasionally holds contests. They are in the midst of one as I write this (6/12/08). The contests are usually pretty simplistic and if you sign up for their emails, you will receive notice of them. The prizes are usually shoes (go figure!) but there are also trips and other goodies to be won. Usually just signing in to the site gets you your play for the day, it's just a little extra something to add to the fun.
- You do have to create an account at Piperlime in order to check out, but it is really to your benefit as subsequent check outs will be expedited. They also offer email updates but these are completely optional.
- The enclosed, prepaid (free!) Piperlime return label is a UPS label. (I love free returns - and, of course, free shipping - these services allow the customer to try several sizes without being penalized by shipping costs!)
- Piperlime offers a generous 60 days for returns on regular priced as well as sale merchandise.
- IMPORTANT to note: The Piperlime site has a sale section AND a clearance section. The shoes in the SALE section can be returned as per usual. However, the CLEARANCE SHOES are FINAL SALES and are NOT RETURNABLE. This is where knowing your usual sizes in certain brands really comes in handy. They do a good job of making this final sale policy for clearance items clear on their site.
So, Piperlime, thank you again for running a wonderful business that stands out in so many positive ways. I will be a dedicated customer for life and will continue to tell others exactly where they can go to find the "lost art
of customer service" - www.piperlime.com