I already written and tweeted about Brussels’ disgraceful customer service culture (in basically all realms) and I thought I had covered it all. But you know, sometimes you think you hit rock bottom but actually someone manages to dig through the bottom and find another layer of low. This time though, it was an international brand that inexorably faces the distaste of the Belgian capital in providing decent customer service.
A few weeks ago, I desperately needed to get a suit for a wedding and went to the SuitSupply shop nearby my office. I entered, approached a clerk and said “Hi, I would like to buy a suit.” I didn’t say “I’m browsing” or “Mmmhhh, just checking.” I said I wanted a suit. The purchase was just a matter of minutes away. Usually, I’m more careful in displaying interest straightaway, but this time I didn’t have the time for it.
To my surprise, the clerk simply told me “Yeah, check over there” indicating, with utter boredom, the suits department…(right, I’m at SuitSupply…I guess there are suits :/) but I expected something more that a simple indication like “yes, we got suits here.”
Anyway, I look at the suits, pick a few models that could go and approach the man once again: “I’m off to a wedding in Italy. It’s gonna be very warm. Do you think this fabric would suit the hot weather?” – His reply: “Of course. (Full stop).” Looking bored and somehow unmotivated. I asked about some other items and kept getting the same attitude. I was the only customer at that time in the shop.
I decided, I was not going to buy a 600/700€ piece of clothing with such customer service and left. As an active Twitterer, I shared my experience. See below
— marcoRecorder (@marcoRecorder) May 12, 2016
With both pleasure and surprise, @suitsupply got back to me to know what happened. I was happy to explain. I appreciate when companies try to improve and listen to customers’ feedback. They apologised and asked me if I wanted to be contacted again by the shop manager in order to get a second opinion. I was happy to accept…and here is where the customer service / communication disaster happened.
I received this e-mail (I deleted the author’s name).
Let’s look at it:
- Debatable use of English.
- Some text in black some in blue.
- No apologies offered.
- “…that is not the experience YOU SHOULD HAVE after a visit…”
OK, not everybody (me included) is a native English speaker, but if you manage a huge store of an international chain in a European capital, you should be aware of basic manners, especially with an unhappy client. Anyway, I gave him my number.
They call me a few days later but I was abroad for work and missed the call. They sent me this
I tried to call you several times without being able to reach you.
Met vriendelijke groet, Kind regards,”
- No greetings
- They do not offer an alternative.
- They just said they called and I didn’t reply
I explained I was abroad and they could contact me anytime as of now. It’s been two months and they never got back.
Unsurprisingly, they have 2.5 stars on Yelp.
Here we see how the social media manager of the brand made an effort to make up for bad service while the shop manager repeatedly displayed bad manners. Have you had a similar experience in Brussels or elsewhere?