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The average man finds buying jewellery daunting. I am an average man.
By the way, this article is subtitled my ‘my poor customer experience’ or ‘less than luxury email’ or perhaps ‘why aren’t luxury retailers all over this stuff?’
I was trying to buy some jewellery for my girlfriend and because I was nervous about it, I first contacted Tiffany by email.
The reason I did this was also because the ring was out of stock on their website in the size I was after.
This started a chain of annoyances that I thought I should share, and other sites can learn from.
The first problem with Tiffany is it’s difficult to make contact via email or web form. Below you can see a screenshot of a product page.
There are some nice options available to me, such as ‘drop a hint’, there’s a customer service telephone number, and also detail on delivery and returns. However, there is no option to send a message to customer service.
I believe that jewellery at this price is not like buying clothing. One expects to command a little personal service over email when spending hundreds of pounds.
To send a message to Tiffany customer service, one has to scroll down to the bottom of the page and select ‘email customer service’ in the footer.
This brings a pop up to life.
Interestingly the URL shows me that Tiffany is tracking which page I am on when I choose to email.
Already there are alarm bells ringing because I’m thinking, if Tiffany has a nice web form that’s also tracking which page I’m on, then why isn’t the option up there next to the product, so users can see it?
Perhaps I was naïve when I was using the website, because these alarm bells didn’t ring. I thought Tiffany would certainly be interested in my contact form, because it shows a definite intent to spend money with them.
Anyway, I filled out a message as follows:
I asked if they had a particular size of a particular ring.
First of all I received a rather promising automated receipt. See below. Note that 24 hours was given as an expected response time.
So I waited thinking and then more than 48 hours later I received this email. I’d like you to take time reading it. It’s such a bad email I felt sorry for Tiffany.
Here are the problems:
- The note starts by apologising, then goes on to apologise again and then for a third time.
- It uses the phrase ‘systems issues across the EU’ like it’s a natural phenomenon.
- It says ‘we have not been able to respond to your email’. Yep, Tiffany is emailing to say it sadly can’t email.
- I thought this acceptable, because it had just lost my enquiry, but no, look, my original message is at the bottom of this automated face palm. Tiffany had not lost my message, so does it simply not want to respond!?
- My only recourse is to call customer service as the email suggests, but no call to me (after all it has the number).
So what are the lessons here?
- Tiffany is losing business and trust.
- Tiffany should employ a bunch of people to manually pick up after this fallout, getting in touch with a personal email and trying to win back the sale.
- Tiffany is actually great, I went in store and had a great time, I enjoy the website and they’re not bad on social. But this one email was my first interaction. It’s a wonder I didn’t defect to Cartier or similar.
- Luxury goods, of everything, should surely be sold across multiple channels. They are pricey and they take some care to sell. As our Editor, Graham Charlton, rightfully pointed out, he's seen live chat implemented on many luxury retails websites and this is something Tiffany should consider.
Perhaps this was just a temporary glitch for Tiffany. Glitches happen to everyone, but a company succeeds by recovery gracefully, just see Arena Flowers for proof.
If so, my apologies to Tiffany, I haven't intended to flame you, after all I bought one of your rings and I'm living happily ever after. :-)
Me and my girlfriend are happily engaged. pic.twitter.com/AT7jYT2Ydc— Ben Davis (@herrhuld) November 30, 2013