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A sad customer service review in the style of the AMAZING Hyperbole and a Half

If you're not familiar at all with Hyperbole and a Half, you won't understand this post very much, so you should go check her out.  And then come back.  After the 4 hours you will undoubtedly use reading through all the amazingness.

On to the review, then.   This is not so much a review for the product itself, but the customer service - which I think is a pretty big deal, especially for an internet based company. 

I've been debating joining Birchbox for sometime now.  It's a super exciting concept - you pay $10 for beauty samples shipped straight to your mailbox every month.  Including NAIL POLISHES, so I was very tempted for a few months now to join.  What finally put me over was this blog post:

The text reads:  
Well, kids. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for — July Birchboxes are heading out the door! We know you’re excited about our special Cynthia Rowley collaboration and you only have to wait a little bit longer. The first big wave of boxes went out this morning, and the rest will be on their merry way by Saturday morning. One exception: if you signed up for the first time in July your box will be on it’s way next week.
Fun fact: This is our eleventh shipment! We’re coming up on our one-year anniversary in September…and we have big plans. And keep an eye out later this month for our Limited Edition Cynthia Rowley Tip to Toe Treats Gift Box, a special collection of products for hands, feet, and body!
P.S. Not a member yet? If you join by July 15th you’ll still receive our special Cynthia Rowley July box. Sign up now!

Now, I may be a bit strange, but to me that was interpreted "sign up and we'll send  you this month's box free, too!"  I realize now, it does not say that.  But, knowing that was my understanding, you can understand why I was anxiously and excitedly awaiting my special delivery.  I waited patiently (read:  asked on their facebook how soon to be watching for it a couple times), until I finally recieved my first delivery yesterday - only it was the August box.  The July one had never showed, and I was feeling let down.  So I decided to address it by emailing them directly.  My first email read (names changed for privacy purposes):



Hello there,

I am writing because as a new Birchbox member, I'm feeling very disappointed in the customer service area.  I finally joined after pondering the idea for a while, due to this post on your blog:
http://blog.birchbox.com/post/7350725134/july-boxes-off-they-go

Which promised a bonus of receiving the Cynthia Rowley box (which I looooved from the online unveilings) if I signed up by the 15th.   I did so, excited and hopeful to receive my box.   Unsure of when to expect it, I tried asking on the Facebook page twice - but although other questions on the same thread were acknowledged, mine was never addressed.   Frustrated, but still excited to receive it, I decided to just wait it out.   Yesterday I received my August box, which while exciting (aside from the famous hairband disappointment) confirmed my suspicion that my Cynthia Rowley box would NOT be coming.
I hope you can help me out here, because I was so excited about Birchbox when I discovered it, my friends were excited when I signed up to see how cool it would be in person, but since joining it's really been disheartening as a whole.

Thanks for your attention,


ConstantlyRedone


The first response I received was as follows:

Hi ConstantlyRedone, 

We did state on the order page that it was while supplies last! Sorry about that! We ran out of July boxes earlier than we expected, so your $10 charge went towards the August box. 

In the future, it is best to contact customer directly by emailing here or calling in (877-487-7272).  Paulina does a great job reaching out to customers on Facebook, but we have so many avid Facebook posters, that it is easy for a few to fall through the cracks.  We love that you all post your feedback there, but it is not our dedicated customer service center.  Hope this makes sense!


xo,
The Email Person of Birchbox

The Email Person of Birchbox
Birchbox | Operations Associate

230 Park Ave South, 12th Floor| New York, NY 10003
o. 877.487.7272 | m. 310.500.5955

Our interactions continued...


Hi The Email Person of Birchbox;

Thanks for the quick response.  The post that I read did not say anything about limited quantities, it just said, and I quote (from the blog that I attached earlier):
Well, kids. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for — July Birchboxes are heading out the door! We know you’re excited about our special Cynthia Rowley collaboration and you only have to wait a little bit longer. The first big wave of boxes went out this morning, and the rest will be on their merry way by Saturday morning. One exception: if you signed up for the first time in July your box will be on it’s way next week. Fun fact: This is our eleventh shipment! We’re coming up on our one-year anniversary in September…and we have big plans. And keep an eye out later this month for our Limited Edition Cynthia Rowley Tip to Toe Treats Gift Box, a special collection of products for hands, feet, and body! P.S. Not a member yet? If you join by July 15th you’ll still receive our special Cynthia Rowley July box, Sign up now!


I am sure you can see why I feel a bit mislead, since it was the Cynthia box I was after in the first place.  Nowhere did it in THAT post, which is the only one I saw, that it was a limited quantity, only that you had to sign up by a certain date, which I made sure to do.  I don't even see anything about it in the comments there, so I'm lost as to where I was supposed to find that information? 

I can understand how the facebook fans can be overwhelming, I guess I'm just used to some other businesses being very good at responding to direct questions on there, and seeing other people's questions on the same comment line addressed after I post one with no acknowledgement is frustrating also.

Respectfully,

ConstantlyRedone


(To which she responded...)

Hi ConstantlyRedone, 

I totally understand.  We didn't update our blog once we realized that we had run out of July boxes.  Our website did reflect this, but I see your point that it should have been made clear in the blog post that announced it in the first place.  I apologize that we didn't update it.  In the future, I would reference our website as the ultimate authority, with the most up to date information. 


In terms of Facebook, we are a very young company, not even a year old! We are also small and have only one customer service associate working on Facebook inquiries.  It's definitely a priority of ours to reach out to customers across all media, including Facebook and Twitter.  


We just received some July boxes that had been returned to sender - if you'd like, I can charge you an additional $10 and send you one? Let me know!!

xo,
The Email Person of Birchbox

The Email Person of Birchbox
Birchbox | Operations Associate

230 Park Ave South, 12th Floor| New York, NY 10003
o. 877.487.7272 | m. 310.500.5955

Now  came my great debate...take the box, give in, and sell my soul to the beauty gods?  Or stand up, lose the box forever, cancel my subscription, and show them how outraged I was at their lack of customer service skills?


You can see, it was a very perplexing decision.
...the ideal version of the box and the service in my head were so glamerous.  I would suddenly have movie star looks and charm, and even MORE nail polish!

And if I stood my ground, my mailbox would cease to be a portal to a life of glamour, and probably lead to a semi-zombified state of being...

I'd love to tell you I took the high road.  But the Cynthia Rowley box has ZOYA samples!!! I hope you won't leave me over this, readers.

(Bye bye, soul.  I hope the samples are worth it.)

3 comments:

Jacki said...

I'm glad you kept communicating with them because you got the box in the long run! Good job!

Constantly Undone said...

Thanks Jacki, I hope it's a good one. I hope they can improve their customer service in the future, because the concept is awesome, the packaging is lovely, and I want to keep with it!

serendipitously.create said...

Love this post....oh....and can't wait to see what ya sold your soul for *winks*

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