The Pulley Task Lamp by Pottery Barn

I truly believe one negative customer experience can ruin a brand’s reputation forever with an individual. And with social media channels like Facebook and Twitter the consumer has become even more empowered by immediately sharing a negative experience with their friends, and anyone that will listen.

So when I had a very negative experience with my local Pottery Barn at Mayfair Mall I immediately turned to Facebook and Twitter, two channels very familiar to me.

In short I was unable to find an interested sales person at the store, and after I did get someone to finally help me they provided some very poor service. I had walked into the store ready to purchase the Pulley Task Lamp, which I had my eye on for some time, but no one was interested in closing the sale.

After taking nearly 30 minutes of finding someone and waiting for them to check stock I was told they only had two lamps on the floor and I could purchase one of those. I kindly asked if I could get a box or a bag to take it home in. The person helping me said “I guess we can give you a bag.”

Really? Would that be too much to ask for after buying a $349 lamp?

Looking first at the Pottery Barn website they state, “Pottery Barn is dedicated to providing our customers with a superior level of service.”

I expected that level of service, and I now hoped that sharing my displeasure would prove that statement true. So I initially tweeted about my experience and later shared a post on their Facebook wall.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/djenders/status/23178638203″]

I didn’t expect an immediate response over the weekend, but I was slightly disappointed when I didn’t get a response at the beginning of the week either. But that changed after exchanging contact information with the Pottery Barn Social Media team.

Eventually I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Suzanne, a District Manager for Pottery Barn. Here is her initial e-mail to me.

“I would like to express my most sincere apologies for the service that you received at my Mayfair Pottery Barn store. World Class Service is a top priority for us and I would like to assist in resolving your concern.”

And that is how Pottery Barn quickly regained my trust. Suzanne did two very important things with her response.

  1. The Apology. This is very important to customers. It’s simple and to the point.
  2. The Solution. She immediately confirmed that Pottery Barn prides itself on service and would like to resolve the issue.

I am still a Pottery Barn customer because of that e-mail message and what Suzanne did next. I responded with my contact information and she left me a voicemail near the end of the work day. I had missed the call but reached out to her just before the close of business hours.

Not only did Suzanne pick up the phone, but she let me know that she didn’t want to leave work until she resolved the issue and hoped that I would call back.

We had a very pleasant conversation after I explained the situation and Suzanne asked what she could do to resolve the issue. I pointed out that the lamp was on sale at the time and no longer was. She offered me a discount on the lamp and immediately set out to locate one in Wisconsin for me.

After our conversation ended she sought out another local store, called me to confirm they would handle shipping the product to me and then had the store manager call me.

Not only was the person extremely polite, but she over serviced me with kindness and free shipping knowing the situation.

I can not thank Suzanne enough for helping me after such a poor customer experience. Pottery Barn nearly lost a customer and Suzanne brought me back from the brink. It is easy to see why she is the District Manager. She cares about her customers. And as I work long hours to service my clients, I was able to understand the dedication she had for her job and the Pottery Barn experience.

So thank you Suzanne, I love my new Task Pulley Lamp! It sits proudly on my desk reminding about the power of social media and the value of a positive brand experience during my long days at work.