Customer Service: How to do it right.

Boss-man bought some crocs. He went onto their website, and picked out a pair for himself, and for his son. His fit perfectly, and he had no problem with them. His son's were too tight. We wanted to exchange them for a slightly larger size. The options are as follows:

- Go into a physical store, and return them, with your Internet receipt. They'll sell you a new pair. Now, seeing as how we bought the shoes online, there is a reason that we didn't go into a physical store: we lack time, or the inclination to schlep across town in a busy section of the city, which is perpetually crowded with crazy people looking to spend their money. We want the experience of shopping from home, getting our stuff, and moving on with life.

- Contact a customer service rep, who will create a return shipping label for you. This part was very easy, because they have an online chat function, meaning that I don't have to sit on the phone on hold, and listen to musak. Good deal. There is no option to just exchange the shoes for a bigger size. Whatever. We chose this option.

The issue with the second option, is that Crocs won't pay for return shipping. So now, we need to package the shoes into a bag, slap on the mailing label, go to the post office, and pay for shipping. Then, crocs issues you a coupon to use on your next order, so that you can get free shipping on your next pair. Essentially, this took entirely too much time and effort to fix a problem. It also means that we won't be buying from /their/ website, when so many others have much better policies.

Enter Zappos. I've shopped with them before, and trust them. When I had to buy a new pair of sneakers, I went through Zappos. Why? They offer free shipping to you AND back to them. When a pair of shoes doesn't fit right, you return them with a pre-paid mailing label. Then, you get an email saying, "We're so sorry that the shoes didn't fit right. To make up for your trouble, here have a free overnight shipping on your next order." Not only did they pay for me to get the shoes in the first place, they also paid for me to return them when they didn't fit right. Then, they rushed to make it even faster to get my next pair of shoes. At the time that I bought those shoes, I didn't have a lot of money to spend, so I could only afford to buy one pair of shoes at a time. This meant that I had to order a pair, try them on, and then send it back if it didn't fit well.

It took three tries, but Zappos was very good every single time I ordered.

Mind you, it's not a huge thing. Shipping a pair of crocs that you shove into a bag is not that expensive. However, I now have a bad feeling towards the crocs website, because they're making me go through more work than was necessary. Zappos, even though it did take a few tries, will have my business, because they made every step of the process very easy on me. So now, I asked Bossman to return the shoes, and just buy the next pair from Zappos, and move on with life. Congratulations, Zappos: you've got a new customer on board.
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