When a plus-sized model meets a bad customer service model
This is part two of the failure-to-find-jeans saga.
In my irony-laden shopping quest for a pair of jeans that fit my extravagant hips, curvaceous thighs, and nearly non-existent butt, I ventured to Torrid. (Torrid, in case you don’t know, is basically Hot Topic for the slightly less waif-ish girl.)
At Torrid, I was helped by a very kind, optimistic girl. We’ll call her Cathy (since that was her name). Cathy assured me that I would not leave the store without an awesome, perfect pair of jeans. She said our body types were very similar, and she would totally help me until I found the perfect pair.
After trying on over 20 pairs of jeans, all of which either suffered from too-tight-hips or too-huge-ass, I was exhausted and depressed and feeling like a horribly misshapen alien freak. To make it worse, I felt like it must be inherent with me – something must be wrong with my body, because Cathy assured me that I’d find the perfect pair. In fact, she promised me she’d help me find the perfect jeans.
But in my weary, exhausted state, I discovered that Cathy’s shift had ended and she wasn’t around anymore. Talk about adding insult to injury! Even after being assured of her continuing assistance, when I came out of the changing room, heavy-hearted and discouraged and feeling misled, fat, and misshapen, she was gone.
Frankly, that’s some of the worst customer service I’ve ever experienced.
I went into Torrid having already tried on 13 pairs of jeans. I explicitly told Cathy that I was already feeling misshapen and discouraged and freakishly alien, and she was super encouraging and hopeful and sweet. But then, she left before I emerged from the changing room with nary a word, and I was left without her help and without any jeans, much less this fabled “perfect pair”.
Her co-workers offered no explanation, either – though one of them did try to convince me that I needed to buy one of the pairs that didn’t fit because they would totally stretch within moments of putting them on. (Unsurprisingly, they were the most expensive by far.)
So I left Torrid feeling hurt, upset, abandoned, misled, fat, and freakishly alien-shaped.
Not a good shopping experience. Not one I’m in a hurry to repeat.
I certainly learned a lot about customer service, though.
It’s bad form to promise something you’re not 100% sure you can deliver. Cathy even said that all bodies are different. She noted that even though our bodies were similar, we weren’t the same. She could have said “I’m sure we’ll find something!” and I wouldn’t have left feeling misled – it was her saying “I promise we’ll find you something!” that sparked the feelings of bitterness and resentment when we failed.
Stay with your customer throughout the interaction. Cathy told me she would be there to help me throughout the process, but then her shift ended and she high-tailed it home. But she didn’t even tell me that she was leaving. She didn’t hand me off to anyone else. She just left. Which left me with a bitter feeling toward her personally – and if I ever do go back into Torrid, it won’t be her I look to for help.
Listen to your customer, even if it’s obvious they’re not going to buy anything. At the end, when I realized Cathy had left, her co-worker tried to pressure me into buying a pair of jeans I flat out said didn’t fit. She was pushy and unhelpful, and when I protested, she clearly didn’t listen to my concerns – she dismissed me with a literal wave of her hand. I felt unheard and angry, and wouldn’t want to buy anything from her, either.
Not being left with a lot of choice, there.
Be compassionate and reassuring. When I came out of the changing room, Cathy needed to be there. She needed to tell me that everything was alright, that it was okay that I couldn’t find a pair of jeans, and that she understood how it felt to be tired and frustrated. If she had to go, she needed to tell me she had to leave and introduce me to a co-worker who could then help me. Her complete lack of compassion for my plight made me angry and frustrated – far more so than not finding jeans.
I went home empty-handed, but more importantly, I went home infuriated. I wrote this post. I wrote a letter to Torrid (not that they care). I went out of my way to tell others about my negative experience at their store.
Prior to this experience, I was devoted to that store. When they opened, I was the first customer to arrive, the first person to buy something. I’ve bragged about how awesome they are on countless occasions.
This, sadly, isn’t the first time I’ve been less-than-impressed with their service, but in the past I’ve been forgiving. I was a loyal customer and I was willing to overlook some foibles. But this was too far, and they lost me.
Customer service is vital – it’s what customers and clients talk about first and foremost when discussing interactions with a company. It’s how customers remember companies; a good experience will leave them feeling happy (and likely bring them back for more). A bad experience can turn them away forever – and might even give them cause to blacklist a company permanently.
Is there a Cathy on your team? Do you have any Kyeli-customers, on the brink of walking away from you, feeling mistreated?
What can you do about it?
Feel clear and confident about your direction in life!
Do you wish you could follow your heart, but it seems impossible? I can help you find the clarity and courage you need.
In other words, I can help you find your path.