Observations by Tricia Heywood

I recently had what I consider to be an outstanding customer service experience.

I’d been looking, looking, looking for an area rug to, not just fill the space under my coffee table, but to make my new apartment cozier.  I’d been close to pulling the trigger a few times, but had not yet felt compelled to pull out my credit card. Then a friend suggested I look at Angela Adams’ rugs.  A quick tour around the site and I was hooked – not only were the rugs great, the prices were good and I loved the intimacy of their site with insight into the people behind the designs and the company.  (www.angelaadams.com)

So, after a quick poke around, I finally pulled that trigger on a cream textured 5 x 8 rug which was, BONUS, on sale.  As  I clicked on the thumbnail image of the rug on the site, I was surprised that I could not get any further. Rather than being sent to a shopping cart, I was instructed to call a 1 800 number to complete the sale. Grrr, at first, slightly irritated by this, I picked up the phone and dialed. My irritation was dissipated immediately as what I pictured to be a young woman, sitting in a nice green laid-back town in Maine, where Angela Adams is headquartered, cheerily answered the phone.

‘Lilly’ kindly explained that the reason for not being able to order directly from the site was due to limited availability – in fact there was just one of the rugs left.  She quickly put a hold on the rug to ensure that none of the other sales agents ‘grabbed it’ as we continued to process the order.  Good thinking Lilly! Nothing more frustrating than spending the time to process an order only to have the operator say at the end “oops, sorry, that item is gone now…” as I recently had with American Express!

Lilly kindly and patiently answered all of my tedious questions about the rug, shipping etc. And within 5 minutes my new apartment was on its way to ‘cozier’.  The following day, I had a follow up call from Lilly, assuring me that the item had shipped and its estimated arrival time – nice touch!  As expected the rug appeared outside my apartment door 5 days later. I quickly dragged it inside, cut through the packing tape and brown paper, unrolled it and placed it under my coffee table – Voila, cozy! And… I liked it even more than I had thought I would! Great, no waves of buyers’ remorse.

But wait… what is that? I bent down to rub what I thought might have been some loose dirt off my lovely new cream textured rug.  Hmmm funny, it’s not loose, in fact it does not seem like dirt, maybe more like grease? Wait there was another couple of small ones. Still happy with my purchase my excitement was slightly deflated at the discovery of these few spots. I looked at my watch, it was 9pm, I’d call Lilly tomorrow.

When I did call, it was Lilly who answered the phone – another nice personal touch.  I quickly explained my dilemma. Lilly apologized on AA’s behalf and explained to me what she felt the issue could be… likely grease spots from the manufacturing process. She apologized again, explaining that rugs go through a rigorous inspection and that this should not have slipped through. She immediately offered to take the rug back, if I was dissatisfied with it but also explained that I had received the last one in stock and the last they would be manufacturing of that design.  She then also reviewed with me what she expected she could offer in the way of a solution.  She asked me to send photos of the spots to get final approval for extending the best solution she could. Thanks to the iphone, I had the pictures off to her shortly.

We settled on Lilly sending me their preferred professional spot cleaner for New Zealand wool carpets.  Within another 5 days I received a box with three types of wool carpet cleaner. But, BONUS again, to my delight, the items were accompanied by a lovely hand written note from Lilly with further apologies for any inconvenience and a gorgeous leather key chain and note paper and envelopes in the Angela Adams’ designs as a thank you for my business. I immediately had a warm fuzzy feeling as I opened the spot cleaner. Nice job Lilly! Great branding Angela Adams.