Alex is writing a letter to Restoration Hardware.

Dear Restoration Hardware:

I have enjoyed browsing your store for years and now that I am a homeowner of a historic 1925 craftsman home, I was delighted to purchase some of your lovely, high end, accessories for my home. Despite my positive impression of your company going into this transaction, I have ended up a rather dissatisfied customer. Each step of the process has been a disappointment. It's still in progress, but here's how my order is going:

Day 0 - Sunday, August 24
I went into your downtown Seattle store on Sunday, August 24 and found everything I was looking for. Unfortunately, only three of the six items I wanted (five of which were physically on display) were in stock. The items in stock were three of the four numbers that will make up my house number--zero was out of stock. The other two items were a $129 "
Keegan Double Sconce" light for the bathroom and a $149 "Madera Flushmount" lamp for the front of the house, were not in stock. I placed an order with the employees in the store for items I could not take away with me at the time. The order included a $21 shipping fee for the lamp that goes on the front of the house since it isn't sold in your stores. I received a carbon copy of the handwritten order and was told I would have my items in 7 to 10 days. I walked out with three of my four house numbers, a little disappointed that I wouldn't be able to put the finish touches on the front of our house (which we've been painting for some time and is now looking really nice).

Day 2 - Tuesday, August 26
I received an Order Confirmation via email, but it had an error. Rather than a zero for a house number, I was being shipped a one. Bummer. The carbon copy order form from the store clearly says the order was for the number zero.

Day 3 - Wednesday, August 27
I called the toll free number below to correct my order. After waiting on hold for ten minutes on the "help with existing orders" option, I was automatically transferred to a "the number cannot be completed as dialed". This happened twice and then I tried other options until I finally found a human who was willing to help me with my order. I was told there was no way to correct my order even though I had only just received the order confirmation. After thirty minutes including being placed on hold twice to check for supervisor permission, and being asked if I knew the item number (right, I have all of your item numbers memorized), I had placed and paid $7 for a new order for the number zero. I had to negotiate not having to pay shipping for this correction even though there was no shipping on my original order because it was supposed to be in stock in the store. Again, I was told I'll receive the order in 7 to 10 days. I'll have to return the
mis-shipped item from my first order to your Seattle store.

Day 4 - Thursday, August 28
I received my second Order Confirmation email. This one correctly indicated my order for the number zero.

Day 10 - Wednesday, September 3
I expected to receive my original order today, since it's day ten of your 7 to 10 day shipping. Instead, all I received today was a shipping confirmation. SHIPPING CONFIRMATION! My items were supposed to be here today, not be shipped today. All I have to show for the $350 I've paid you is three of my four house numbers. What were you doing for the last 10 days?? And I thought the mistake your store employee made couldn't be corrected when I called 7 days
earlier to correct it! According to UPS, I'll receive the package on September 8th, just 15 days after ordering it. If it takes the same number of days from "Order Confirmation" (not even order placed) to "Item Received", I will receive the correction order on Day 17.

It looks like I may finally have everything I want from you just 17 days after walking into your lovely store.
I know that in the big scheme of things, this is no big deal, but I'm excited to get my stuff and finish the projects I need them for. What if I had ordered something like a facet for my bathroom? I'd have no water in the bathroom for more than two weeks. Once I get everything, I'm certain it will all look great, but I won't be too excited to order anything else from you after this experience. Especially with the pricey $21 for shipping on the one small item you don't sell in stores.

Here's some advice to make this work better for customers like myself:
  • Keep your stores in stock--it's reasonable that big pieces of furniture might not be in stock, but I just wanted some tiny things that were on display in your store
  • Don't promise 7-10 day shipping if you can't deliver
  • Get your items out of the warehouse faster---there is no reason it should take ten days to ship something (even if you subtract the two days it took you to get the order in your system, 8 days is too long to sit on an order)
  • You're selling a high end product--give your customers a high end experience. If they call for help, don't send them through dead end phone trees. Give the person that answers the phone the power to fix a problem rather than adding more hurdles
Alex Porter


Michael said...

Great letter!

Alex Porter said...

Thanks! It reminds me of all you do to stick it to corporations ;)

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