• Account Services, Blog, Marketing

  • By Kelly Ball

    How Customer Service Helped Me $h!p My Pants

    November 10, 2014 | About a 4 min read

    Account Services, Blog, Marketing

    How Customer Service Helped Me $h!p My Pants

    By Kelly Ball
    November 10, 2014
    About a 4 MIN read

    My Customer Service Experience

    I had an experience last week that left an impression that I’ll remember for a very long time.

    Here’s how it all went down. I had ordered some clothes from J.Crew for a wedding I was attending. I already received a partial shipment of my order, and I had yet to receive any update on when the rest of my order was going to be shipped – most importantly the pair of pants I planned on wearing.

    When I checked my order online, the size I ordered said Back ordered. Uh oh. Remain calm. The next size up showed that it was available, so, I picked up the phone and called J.Crew’s Customer Service.

    Barbara from their team was very helpful, and informed me that my original order was pending shipment and should arrive within 6-8 days. The wedding was 7 days away. Because they were “pending” she could not expedite shipping. Uh oh.

    So, Barbara and I came up with a game plan. Order a second pair of pants in the next size up, choose expedited shipping, and return the others when they arrive. She also mentioned that if I haven’t received a shipment notification in a few days, to call her back and she’d figure something out. A little inconvenient, but I NEEDED THOSE PANTS!!! So, I hung up and figured I’d place my new order in an hour or so.

    Twenty minutes go by, and my phone starts ringing from an 800 Number I didn’t recognize. Something told me I should answer.


    Me: Hello

    Person on the Other Line: Mr. Ball, this is Valerie from J.Crew wedding.

    Me (Slightly Confused): Uh…Hello.

    Valerie: I wanted to give you a call as Barbara alerted me of your situation, and here’s what we’re going to do. It turns out your original pants order is out of stock. It’s not going to ship. Therefore, we’re going to ship the pants out in the next size up, we’re going to pay for the expedited shipping, and you’ll have the pants by tomorrow.

    Me: Seriously?

    Valerie: Yes, seriously.

    Me: You realize this isn’t my wedding, right? I’m also not in the wedding – I’m just attending the wedding.

    Valerie: Yes, we realize that. I just know you NEED THOSE PANTS!!!


    OK – Valerie didn’t say the last sentence, but the rest of the conversation is accurate. I was blown away. What was going to be a “Meh” impression was immediately transformed into a “HOLY $H!T” impression. These people are awesome!


    For me, there were a few lessons from this experience that any customer service or sales team could learn from.

    Don’t Just Check The Box

    When my conversation with Barbara ended, she had effectively done her job. I left the phone call with a game plan and she had given me the information I needed to decide what to do next. Essentially, Barbara had checked the box of what she was supposed to do.

    But, she didn’t stop there. She went one step further and got in touch with another team member (Valerie), to double check if there was anything else they could do. It turns out there was (lucky for me).

    Empower Your Team

    It took a total of 30 minutes from the time I hung up with Barbara to when my conversation with Valerie had finished. It’s obvious to me that J.Crew has empowered their employees to do what it takes to deliver on their brand’s promise. They didn’t have to jump through hoops or get someone’s approval to make something happen for me, they individually knew they could change the situation.

    Companies that follow this mantra not only are successful, but also achieve somewhat of a cult following.

    Little Things Go a Long Way

    At the end of the day, nothing JCrew did was complicated. They proactively called me. They proved they were eager to help me. They spent $15 or so on expedited shipping on me. Not a single one of those items are a big deal, but add them up and their impact is undeniable.

    We often stress with our team here that the difference between good and great is small. Paying attention to the little details can be the difference of having a one-time projects and a client for life. I think it’s important for all businesses to remember this concept.

    Listen. Show you care. Remember to say, “Thank you.”

    Do these things, and you never know – you could make someone’s day. Thanks Valerie and Barbara – you certainly made mine.



    Kelly Ball

    As Vice President, Kelly hones in on the key idea that makes an effective strategy. He helps clients move their business forward through great execution and proven results. And, as befits a former collegiate swimmer, he does it all with lightning-fast marketing instincts, and doesn't rest until it's made a big splash with clients.

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