Monday, July 9, 2007

Nine West Scores With Customer Service

There is nothing I like better than a great find during a shopping trip. This week I learned that this feeling can easily be trumped by good customer service.

Prior to a trade show, I made my way to the Nine West store at Roosevelt Field mall here on Long Island (N.Y.). Keeping my eye on fashion and functionality, I opted for a very cute pair of black ballerina flats trimmed in patent leather. They also featured a very stylish gathered back above the shoe’s heel. They were full price, but I didn’t care. I knew they would look great with my Capri pants and that my feet would be more comfortable in flats than if I strolled around in heels.

However, the elastic that gathered the back of the shoe hugged the back of my ankle way too tightly. After 15 minutes, my cute shoes quickly became a painful nuisance. More importantly, my adorable purchase became a $70 loss in just one wearing.

I researched the return policy, but like many stores, refunds are only honored on unworn merchandise. Accepting defeat, I repacked the shoes in their box and set them in a corner.

That is, until my Mom lifted my spirits. “Bring them back,” she said. “Explain that they hurt your feet and you hoped you could get a refund or at least a store credit. You wore them once. The worst thing they can say is no.”

Figuring she had a point, I grabbed my receipt and made my way back to the store—30 days to the day of making the original purchase. I walked up to the checkout, made my case, and within minutes, I got a full refund.

“We really don’t accept returns on worn merchandise, but if they hurt your feet that is not good. We will definitely make the exception,” the associate said.

I was stunned, and pleasantly surprised. The experience also reminded me of why I rely on Nine West for my shoe purchases. Like I said, I like fashion and functionality. And any company that is willing to accommodate my comfort even at the cost of a sale wins my loyalty.

— Deena M. Amato-McCoy

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