Crate and a Barrel of Customer Service

"I'm sorry" gets you forgiveness. But then there's this.

Everybody screws up.

I do it all of the time.  

The difference between good business practices and bad ones aren't whether mistakes are made...but whether the business takes responsibility for them.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the horrific (they won't let me swear on Patch) customer service I received from The Sheraton in West Springfield.  If you missed it - you can read it by clicking here.

Last week, I witnessed another business - Crate and Barrel - drop the ball on the customer service front.  But this time...I was interacting with a company that cared so much that they BLEW MY MIND.

Long story short, Crate and Barrel hosted a wedding event that didn't happen because of the snowstorm.  The problem was that the voicemail said the event was still on - and so a number of couples fought the elements to drive to the store...only to find nobody there.

Needless to say, we were less than thrilled.  

The last time we were at the store, we noticed a sign with a phone number where you could text "instant feedback" to the store manager.  I snapped a picture of it, impressed with their initiative.

After the failed event, I pulled up the picture and sent a text to the store manager, expressing our frustration.

Shortly after, the store manager reached out to me - EXTREMELY apologetic.  She explained that the staff wasn't able to get there because of the weather and that the voicemail could only be changed from the store itself.  She also promised to address a previous difficulty we had run into with the store.

She was compassionate, kind and understanding.  She was apologetic and had a sense of humor.  I couldn't have asked for anything more from the manager of a local business - and I promised we'd still return to the store.

Because you know what?  Things happen.

But here's where I was blown away.

On Valentine's Day, I came home to find a package had been delivered from Crate and Barrel.  When my fiancee and I opened it, we found a gorgeous decanter, champagne flutes, picture frames, chocolates and a hand-written note from the manager apologizing again.


The "I'm sorry" that I received on the phone had ensured we'd return.

The "I'm sorry" package that came in ensured we'd tell EVERYONE about the level of customer service they provide.

During the series of seminars on marketing and social media I recently spoke at with the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, I heard many stories about wonderful customer service.

I met local business owners who bend over backwards not to "protect their name"...but rather because it's the right thing to do.

Their stories...and our experience with Crate and Barrel...remind me that it's not always about how you avoid making mistakes.  Sometimes it's just about how you say, "I'm sorry."

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

izt February 20, 2013 at 12:50 PM
I am glad you are a man who can report the bad in a fair way - but more importantly speak about and report equally about the good. So few ever bother with the good that it was refreshing to read about this. Will be one of my go to stores for home goods in the future.
Bob Gresham February 20, 2013 at 02:21 PM
It is so easy and inexpensive for a business to make a "bad" experience right, andthe customer walks away with a renewed confidence that they made the right decision doing business with that company. Unresolved negative experiences tend to lead to the "rule of 7", where you will tell 7 firends of the bad experience (probably more now with email and socila media), so a business with competition needs to be sure that they keep you coming back.
Steve February 22, 2013 at 01:33 PM
I've also had great experiences with Crate and Barrel's customer service. We ordered some acacia wood salad bowls there and one of them cracked shortly after purchasing and they sent us an entire new set no questions asked.


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