Disclaimer: The following is completely unsolicited praise for Zappos.com. In no way was the author compensated except via an exceptional product & service!
Despite the ease and convenience of shopping via the Internet, I'm not exactly the world's biggest fan of on-line shopping. Call me old-fashioned but I like to actually see and hold a product prior to purchasing it so that I know exactly just what it is that I'm spending my extremely hard-earned cash on. Just as a person can be anyone they want to be on the Internet (Hello? On-line dating services? Yes, yes, I'm talking to you!), a product can be touted as the next best thing since sliced bread and then when it arrives at your mailbox it no more resembles what you thought you were buying than Pee-Wee Herman resembles Brad Pitt!
I, for one, would be extremely disappointed to find Peewee Herman sitting in my mailbox when I had ordered Brad Pitt and, for the most part, that's how I have viewed Internet shopping. Disappointments loom large on the horizon!
However, I have found an Internet company that not only has exactly what it says it has but backs it up with the best customer service I've seen in a very long time! Trust me, for me to go all gushy about anything that has anything to do with shopping is about as common as pigs flying so you've got to know that Zappos.com is all that it says it is and then some if I start singing their praises!
While visiting my friend Paula in the far reaches of Canterbury a few weeks back, we were talking about the upcoming annual holiday party that the American Group holds in late January. It's a semi-formal event and I was lamenting the fact that I can never seem to find shoes that I can wear to that sort of function that I'm physically capble of walking in. When you wear sneakers and jump-boots most of the time, like I do, heels of any sort are definitely foreign objects and could even be considered a form of deadly weapon if worn on the wrong feet - i.e., mine!
Being the good friend that she is, Paula punched up Zappos.com on her computer and - poof! - I had entered Shoe Heaven via the World Wide Web! Not only does this place have thousands of styles of shoes, boots, accessories, handbags, etc. but they offer FREE SHIPPING BOTH WAYS!! Customers can post reviews, the search parameters are more than flexible, and the prices are quite reasonable. They even have fashionable shoes in Sasquatch-size that would fit my darling big-footed daughter were I ever to coax her out of her Vans and into something - gasp! - feminine!
Being quite impressed, I ordered a nice pair of strappy sandals with heels that even a klutz like myself could walk in without turning an ankle and they arrived in an extremely prompt fashion. Due to extreme indecision on my part, shortly after the shoes arrived I decided that I wasn't going to wear the dress that I had originally planned on and needed to change the color of the shoes. After looking over the website and not seeing any instructions for exchanging the shoes (though a return was quite easy) I decided to email their customer service department and ask if the shoes could be exchanged rather than returned and then reordered.
The next time I checked my email that very same day I had a reply from Danielle, a Customer Loyalty Representative, who told me:
"Normally, you would need to return the shoes for a full refund and then place a new order for the size, color, or style that you need. Because we value you as a customer, we are willing to make an exception and provide you with an advanced exchange. Please let us know which size/color combination you would like in exchange, and if it's available, we will be more than happy to process your order!"I emailed Danielle back directly with the details of the exchange and within an hour I had another email stating that the shoes I wanted had been ordered, shipped, and were already on their way to me. All I had to do was return the shoes I had already received within two weeks via the postage paid label you print out on your computer and it would all be good. As a matter of fact, the new shoes arrived before I even had the chance to send the old shoes back and this was all during a holiday week!
Now how can you NOT appreciate customer service - nay, loyalty - like that? By golly, if this website offered Brad Pitt for sale I would be willing to bet that HE would be the one you'd get in your mailbox and not Pee-Wee Herman!
Anyone want to guess where I'll be buying my shoes from now on?!