Friday, June 12, 2009

H&M excels in customer service

We’ve had lengthy discussions about stores that have tightened their return policies and trimmed customer service this year. It’s only fair that I share a story about a wonderful experience I had at H&M on Bloor this week.

I want a pair of skinny jeans and have my eye on a pair from Fidelity but I’m trying to avoid the just-shy-of-$200 price tag. So, I thought I’d check out H&M during my lunch on Tuesday. I found a nice pair. Not as detailed or as well made as the ones by Fidelity, but for ¼ of the price, I thought they were worth the try.

Have you seen the change rooms at H&M? One word of warning – the line-ups are long – avoid them if you can. Fortunately, H&M has a 30-day return policy. I picked up two different sizes to try on in the comfort of my own home.

The cashier told me she put the bill in the bag. When I got home, it was nowhere to be found. I’ve had this happen before. It makes me so uncomfortable. I always think they’re going to assume I’ve stolen the merchandise when I return to the store.

I thought I had lost the bill. Last night I called the store and told the guy on the phone what happened. He told me to return with the jeans and tell the person on the cash that I never received the bill (that way I’d have an easier time.) So, yesterday that’s what I did.

While waiting in line at the cash, I read the return policy. H&M accepts returns within 30 days with or without a bill! (Note: Photo ID is required.)

When it was my turn at cash, I told the salesperson I wanted to return the jeans but I didn’t have my bill. She asked for the approximate time of day the purchase was made, the type of payment and which cash registered was used. Turns out I was speaking with a manager named Jackie who explained it would take 5-10 minutes for her to locate the transaction. She suggested I go upstairs where there wasn’t a line-up and once she found the details of the sale, she’d issue a refund right away.

The clock was ticking and I had a meeting in 30 min. how long would I have to wait? Hmm, within two minutes, the salesperson that rang in the sale on Tuesday came right over and greeted me with a friendly smile. Her name was Sarah. She was so happy I came back because she knew I’d left without a bill and I was planning on returning at least one pair of jeans. Within seconds she had my bill in hand and took care of my refund!

Whoever said customer service sucks in modestly priced clothing chains is wrong.

And a couple more things…
H&M’s summer sale is on now. There are several tables and racks of clothes starting at $10 and up. I actually received a pitch from their PR rep in the U.S. when when I got back from H&M the first go round. She asked if I’d let you know their sale was starting on Wednesday. I let her know it had already started in Canada. ;) And by the way, I wrote this post because I had a great experience - the pitch story is a total coincidence.

Check out H&M’s Dressing Room and Fashion Against AIDS program. You can upload a video and create your own ringtones too.

What about you? Have any good news customer service stories to share?
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  1. The gap, even though they have shortened their return policy to 30 from 90, has an amazing return policy. They can even return outside the 30 days (I mean a month or two, not a couple days) without a receipt for the current selling price.

    If you paid on credit or debit, they can check for your receipt through either card. You can return any Gap item (baby, kids or adult), at any of those stores, anywhere in Canada. I have always liked the Gap return policy, I stand by it, and have yet to find a policy that can beat it.

  2. Hi Kristina,
    Thanks for your comment. I remember when the Gap had an indefinite return policy. Over the last couple years they've changed the grace period twice, most recently earlier this year. The same applies to the rest of their retail siblings - Banana Republic and Old Navy in Canada. I agree, their policy seems pretty fair.

    I should put the outside of 30 days thing to the test. I bought a dress that's now about 40 days past the date. I still can't decide if I like it or not and thought I'd blown the chance to take it back.

    I'll let you know what happens.

  3. I went to Banana Republic to see if they'd let me return the dress (I had the receipt with me). They didn't. Although I'm somewhat disappointed, I completely understand and respect their policy.

    I spoke to the manager about the policy in light of this discussion. She told me the same policy applies to all three retailers.

    Guess I'd better start wearing my dress and hoping it grows on me.

  4. kiyoto1:58 am

    maybe the customer service you experienced at h&m was good, however at the location in vancouver i really must say the customer service sucks, its just terrible. once i wandered around the store in the mens department for a good hour and a half, and not a single representative asked if I needed help (which i did...although i did ask in the end). i think i get better service in old navy (nothing bad about them! just an example...) but perhaps it might just be the people in the mens department at vancouver.....who knows

  5. Hi Kiyoto,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hear you and I think the service I had at the Bloor St. location was exceptional. I've had good service at Yorkdale (sort of like your Pacific Mall) but not as good as what I experienced that day on Bloor. As for the Gap/Old Navy/Banana service, I've found it varies. I had great service at Banana in Vancouver - I think it was the one of Richmond.


  6. Good to hear that! Glad that "H&M excels in customer service" I am sure many will get interested with this. Thanks for sharing.



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