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If it was really, REALLY bad, then I might stop entirely. If the brand doesn’t have great customer service through their own website, I would make sure to purchase elsewhere. For instance, I’ll shop through a retailer with free shipping and return shipping over one that will charge me for return shipping. It also depends on why it’s bad – is it because they’re slow to get back to you or are they nasty and/or lying?

— Christine

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Having worked in customer service, I have to say no. It’s really not that difficult to satisfy customers (most of the time!). Just be polite and prompt (i consider responding to an email by the end of the following business day prompt enough) and most people are happy. If a company can’t do that, they’re obviously sooooo overwhelmed with customers that they don’t need my business.

No way. Bad customer service is a complete turn off. I’d rather pay more shopping with a company that gives great customer service than save money with a company that has no clue what the word service means.

Huge echo for the latter half of your answer — it really depends on WHY it’s bad, not IF it’s bad. I’m strangely okay with waiting a month and a half for an item (I think it comes from a lifetime of dealing with Canada Post, which is rather crap), but steal a few photos from bloggers and I won’t touch you with a ten foot pole.

It all just depends on where our priorities lie, I suppose 😉

It depends on the brand. If Mac or Urban Decay did….I would totally still buy from them, but if it a smaller or not one of my favorite/holy grail brands…most likely. Customer Service is such a HUGE part of a company, but i couldn’t live withut UD in my collection.

I started my career in customer service so I have a lot of empathy for call center reps and CS people. (I used to do customer service for a housewares company, and you’ve never *seen* such pissed off people as brides who hadn’t gotten gifts that were marked as purchased on their registries!) So I try to be polite and courteous to salespeople and CS people, and usually I get good service. If someone is short with me, I’ll get annoyed but it won’t stop me from coming back. But if they’re outright rude, I won’t come back. If someone lies to me, I won’t shop there again. If something goes missing in transit, or is slow…it depends on what kind of response I get when I email them, I guess.

Because I’ve actually worked in CS for many years, I let alot go, as I know there can be a myriad of reasons why a CS rep can’t always give the best service. That said, I’ve only encountered one situation where the service was so bad (as in I was completely ignored by *two* SAs dealing with one customer, all the while looking over right at me) that I refuse to go back. That was an Armani counter, and unfortunately, it’s the only outlet for the brand that is convenient for me, so unless they come out with some otherworldly product that no other brand can touch, I refuse to allow online ordering be my only option. If such a large company expects to get my money, they should make the effort to have their products more easily available.

Now that I think about it, poor customer service has made me avoid certain retailers. But it’s more a matter of – that was inconvenient so I don’t want to deal with it again vs being offended. I’ve never had a company be rude to me, but I wouldn’t write off the company for an individual employee, unless they were awful. Like you said, it depends a lot on the brand itself, too. For example, Inglot’s site is really confusing (it’s been improved some recently though) but, knowing their online US store is pretty new and they’ve recently been expanding in the US from Poland, I understand they’re still in the process of getting organized here. It doesn’t affect whether I’d buy or not. But when a brand like Ulta doesn’t send the right order and then I have to spend a long time on the phone for something that should take a few moments (and an item that costs less than $5), I do start feeling like I’d rather just avoid the site. Or if their shipping takes forever, sometimes I’ll buy from somewhere else for that reason too. And stores that ship very quickly, I find I gravitate to, when there’s a choice. When it’s a small company, I’m less affected by stuff like that, because I know how much work it takes to start a business and I guess that makes me more inclined to be patient.

I will never buy from Sephora…even if they are the only place that sell that brand..I will skip that product. They follow you as if you are going to steal. The department stores treat me well….lets me gingerly inspect the item before I buy and does not give me a hard time. Sephora actually took away UD Naked 2 from my hand so that someone else could test it. Thank God Macys now get UD before Sephora does. I said it before, and I will say it again. I will NEVER buy from Sephora. I get free samples all the time if I want to, because these department stores want my business and are so kind to me…I dont need to get these needless samples from Sephora or their points to get free gifts. These department stores sales rep do not give me these snarky attitude as the Sephora sales people do. The last purchase Sephora lost was the Pucci Bronzer/ Blusher which was 75.00 and I walked out of SF Sephora because of two snarky unmentionables.

Of the 4 Sephora locations I frequent most often, 3 give me amazing service, and the other is just so busy, but I’ve *never* been followed or talked down to. There’s a fifth location, as well, but I go only once a year, but they’re very nice, as well. I hear/read several comments about the Sephora employees following people around as if they plan to steal something, but I’ve never experienced that myself.

I hope you complained about the service at the Sephora you were in where someone took something right out of your hand. I’ve never experienced anything like that in my Sephora stores or anywhere else. I can see why you would never go back after that.

I did write to Sephora via email. I got the generic response via email. The manager did personally offer me a free makeover. This was at the store where the sales associate took the UD 2 off my hands to show it to some one else. I was not looking for a freebie. I just wanted an uneventful purchase. At the second Sephora in SF downtown regarding the Guerlain Pucci with those two snarkies, I wrote again to Sephora. I got the second, almost identical response. That is when I decided not to buy from Sephora again. Sephora needs to learn from Neiman Marcus. I had a question with my Tom Ford eyeshadow purchase Emerald Lust and the manager answered my question despite having to get the answer from Tom Ford National Trainer directly. It makes me value my purchase even more and look forward to my next purchase.

That is so horrible!! Where do they get off….i mean, they work at Sephora slinging makeup, for gods sake. Not exactly rocket science. I experienced something like that from a Sephora in CA, but I’ve never had anything but good experiences from the Sephora here in Colorado. I love most of those ladies.

I work in beauty retailing and when I go to other locations of my company I think some service reps are pretty damn rude too. really depends on which store you happen to be in…still ruins the general presentation of the company though.

I work in CS, which is why I would and would not let some things slip. The customer is not always right, but there is absolutely no excuse for a rude cs rep. Being polite goes a long way even if a rep can’t help me. If they can’t at least do that, they don’t need my money.

I try not to judge a large company if I notice that it’s usually the associates fault.. For example, I have encountered a few nasty associates at Sephora when I’m in the U.S., but on the other hand I’ve had such excellent customer service all the other times that I’m willing to overlook the few bad apples.
I’ve worked in retail before as well, and I confess that sometimes I think it’s harder to please customers these days because their expectations grow larger and their standards of cs grow higher. That’s not to say that is an excuse for poor customer service, but it really depends on BOTH parties involved and whether the situation was handled in a professional manner. (In Asia, we absolutely cannot return makeup even if it’s unused with the box, a cosmetic sale is FINAL.. so it always amazes me how lenient the policies are in the U.S. such as Sephora, Macy’s and Nordstrom!)

In the world of makeup, I really haven’t encountered poor customer service. Overbearing SA’s, sometimes, yes, but for the most part I do not have any complaints. I am a polite person and generally receive the same courtesy back. You get back what you put out. I feel for people working in the public. You overhear a lot of consumers behaving badly for the most part–You know the type, grandstanding to reign supreme over some unfortunate schmuck struggling to make a few bucks working in retail. Can they pay people enough to put up with that crap?? Mistakes are made, and people are human. Instead of climbing down their throats, I find it more effective to be understanding. Good stores/brands will inevitably reimburse you somehow for your troubles. Negativity is counterproductive.

THANK YOU. I work in retail and
can not tell you how many times I’ve had to run to the back, sobbing my eyes out, because a customer was so mean to me. Thank you for being one of the nice customers that I love!!!you’re right about getting it back. i always try to give discounts and help them out as much as possible if they are polite and understanding should an issue arise.

It really depends on why I was disappointed in CS. I will not shop in stores where people look down on you because you are coming in wearing jeans (even if they are nice ones). If shipping is late, or an item is falsely marked down, or sold out without it being said so on the website, it really depends on how the people in CS react. I am aware that these things are usually not their fault, but it is their job to rectify the sitation, and I expect them to do so politely. I once bought an LE item on a brands own website, but then waited for 9 weeks (!!!) for it to ship. When I wrote CS to ask about the delay, it took them another 2 weeks to answer and tell me that the item was already sold out when I ordered it, and the website falsely told me it had been shipped out. It took me another 3 weeks and countless phone calls to get my money back. That was more than disappointing especially when one not so nice lady on the phone told me I would simply have to be faster next time to avoid all that trouble. Needless to say I stopped buying from that brand’s website, even if I have to drive nearly two hours to the next counter.

I agree with you. It all depends. If they are lying to me about price or shipping, or policy then no I will not buy from them. Once upon a time I went shopping for a new shirt for my little sister. It was a beautiful little velvet top and cost me quite a bit but it was so cute. The lady told me I could easily get a refund. So I gave it to her. She washed it and followed the washing instructions EXACTLY but it came out completely tattered. I went to her and explained the situation and she refused to give me any refund. After a long debate she finally agreed…. to a 5$ store credit when the shirt was worth 60$. I’ve boycotted them ever since.

I have a few brands (not makeup, but other things) that I won’t touch because of offensive advertising. It might not make a difference to anybody but me, but I can’t summon any enthusiasm for a product if I think the company is morally bankrupt.

As for customer service… as long as I get the product I paid for without too much wasted effort, I’m happy.

When I want to go buy MAC in person – versus their website – I know that I’ll have to wait. We have only one free-standing store and I have to go their to get my discount. So, if I walk in and don’t get acknowledged right away, I’m okay. If, on the other hand, I’m in a department store and can’t get the SA’s at the counter to come and work with me, I tend to not go back. I don’t have this happen often but, when I do – or when I receive less than adequate service, I go straight to either store management or to corporate. I did both retail and customer service and they say that someone who is dissatisfied will tell 20 people, but that number grows based on how far up they’re willing to go. Companies want to know if the service isn’t up to par and it makes me feel better. I’ll also call corporate for outstanding service; it makes my day!

LUSH is the worst. I will only order online. I swear, their associates are trained to be ankle-biting zombie leech hybrids.

I agree with you Christine. It depends on what’s bad about it. There’s one MAC store I won’t shop at (in the Dallas Galleria), because the sales people are consistently grouchy. At every other MAC counter or store I’ve been to, the sales people have been lovely. Why be grouchy? They get to play in makeup all day. That should be fun.

I have worked in customer service at a flower shop and let me tell you. When the customers are complaining and unwilling to compromise, it pisses you off, but the customer is always right. So, even if you know they’re wrong and your product is totally fine, if they complain to the company that wired you the order, they’re still right.

Bottom line is, SAs are annoying. I’m 17, I love to buy high-end and look around at Sephora, but I am almost intimidated. When I used to go in to a department store in my school uniform, all hell broke loose, everyone was looking at me like I was a little kid lost in a big world. Don’t even get me started about the MAC counters, where the SAs look down upon me the moment I step into the department store. Regular people do shop high-end and they need to improve if they want to sell their stuff even more. Just because I swatched a Dior lipstick on my hand, it doesn’t mean that I don’t need a b**** dragging me to the register to buy it immediately and get rid of me.

I´m amazed after learning about what happened to that poor girl. But believe me, it might not even be the product that caused her this allergic reaction. It might be something much worse, and probably disgusting. This just reminded me about something that happened to a friend of my mother. The unfortunate lady in question made an appointment at a makeup salon to have her makeup done for a wedding. The next day she experienced terrible pain, burning sensation, and even bad eyesight, she was rushed to the doctor. After exams and other medical procedures they found she has a permanent, incurable eye infection, for which she will have to take medication for the rest of her life. That infection is passed from one person to the other, generally from lack of hygiene and direct contact with fluids. After this horror story I refuse to have my makeup done with any product that isn´t my own. Just not worth the risk.

I understand that everyone can have bad days, including myself, and will give second chances to a store before condemning their service. There are places I avoid more because of the “hard sell” policies that are obviously in place, like when there are 5 SA’s working, and all 5 of them are on me within 2 minutes of each other asking to help me. I understand they are required to offer help to customers, but when every SA approaches me, that’s overkill and gets on my last nerve. I feel like I’m being stalked, and will leave a store never to return. I won’t necessarily boycott a brand as it depends on the actual store. I’ve been completely ignored at a MAC store and had to chase down a SA to ask a question, but the SA at a department store counter was perfect. He let me know if I had any questions to just ask, and let me and my daughter peruse to our hearts content.

It really depends on how bad the service is. I walked out of MAC the other day because the sales girls didn’t even acknowledge my presence after 15 minutes. I’ll just go to another location next time.

No I usually spot buying from them.

Everyday Minerals pulled a fiasco about 3 years ago. (wont get into it buy it was nastily handled on top of an all product reformulation)

Coastal Scent started to delete my product reviews that where 3 stars which I found unethical and stopped buying from them after years of being a loyal customer.

I’ve kind of stopped buying from MAC this year aas well because the way their treating the LE products. Getting item instead from their permanent line.

To add to this Shop.Cosplay which I’ve bought wigs for years really dropped the ball the past two years in the complete lack of CS. You just could not get ahold of anyone about you order by phone or email it it got lost or it was back order for months on end (one order of my own tooke 5 months to get).

I would usually recommend style from them as well as a few other seller but the past year I can’t consciousness do that till their shipping improves as most of the complaints had to handled through their main site forums to get an admin to look into a lost/delayed order. You basically keep seeing the same topic pop up once a week saying “I don’t know how to get in contact with your CS and my wig has not show up in 2 months!!!” panicked pleas. Nothing like seeing all our order issues from a site post one your main forums all the time.

It’s also why I didn’t do a wig review I promised on their fiber review I did.

I’ve rarely had bad service, but it’s more about location than the brand. For instance, there is an Estee Lauder counter I won’t go back to because I was ignored for 30 minutes when trying to purchase a lipstick and I kept asking other associates from neighboring counters for help and they all told me that only one rep could help me and she was busy. I live in an area with several malls close by, so I just don’t go by that counter if I want to look at the brand.

I did have a bad experience at Sephora last week, and opted to go buy the product from Norstrom instead because their customer service is flawless. Plus, the lighting at Sephora is terrible. You can’t see if a foundation matches because it’s dim and fluorescent. I still shop there, but I find that I go to Ulta or Nordstrom where the lighting is good when I can. I don’t really judge the brand by the reps/store though. If I want it I’ll buy it, but I might choose another avenue.

I’ve had problems with stores, like my local Ulta and Sephora, but not with any particular brands. And I still shop at those stores, just because they have products I like.

I work in customer service , so I am a bit forgiving. HOWEVER. I try to spend as little as possible in Ulta. Every time I go in , I am either a) ignored, b) followed c) made to feel like my money is worthless. One time, I went in to ulta looking for a blush and some big bobby pins. No one asked me was I ok. I finally asked could I get some assistance. The girl came over , but then she went to go do someones eyebrows- um ok , you could have just said , hey so and so can you help her. So after waiting another 10-20 minutes, I finally left. This is not one isolated event. I typically get good service if there is someone African American working , but those are few and far between. I will just buy my makeup from Sephora , Walmart , and Walgreens

I’m surprised to see such poor CS stories about Ulta! Maybe I’m just lucky…but the Ulta in my city is absolutely amazing as far as their CS goes. They don’t carry all of the brands I like so that’s perhaps the only real negative I have for them. I’ve also had great CS in Ulta’s I’ve visited in other cities…not enough to say if that’s the norm though but for me, Ulta is one of the better retailers in regards to CS. I do have to admit though that in general, I tend to be a shopper that prefers NOT being approached often unless I give some indication that I need help. So I tend to get annoyed when CS is a little TOO attentive lol. Especially if I am in a store just browsing.

I am that type of customer as well. But to be totally ignored, not even a hello when I walked in the door, is a bit much. And following me around the store like I am a thief just because I am black is entirely too much. I did give some indication that I needed help , I just gave the condensed version of the story up above.

Bath and Body works irritates me because the last time I went I literally had all 10 associates trying to help me w/in a 5 min period. Um no thanks , I am ok.

Unless I thought that the bad customer service was linked to a serious problem with the product, I wouldn’t stop buying a brand entirely, but I’d certainly make sure that I didn’t buy from them directly. Although they should have good customer service, cosmetic companies aren’t primarily retailers and glitches can happen.

That said, I find that cosmetic companies and retailers like Sephora or Zuneta have customer service that’s well above average most of the time. Compared to other industries, they’re usually a pleasure to deal with.

i ordered from sleek makeup last month and they are notorious for bad customer service but i got my order with no problems

Yes, they are horrible! I still have not recieved my order nor a reply from my complaint email from last month.

The only luck I had with them was to go to their facebook page and post there. Maybe that could work.

And yes, they are beyond bad!

Ugh Ulta is the worst! I was embarrassed in front of a long line of people because they thought I was trying to scam on some $2.00 coupon! Ridiculous! I called to complain the next day and they did absolutely nothing to rectify this awful experience.

I spend a lot on beauty products and cosmetics. $0 of my money will every be used at Ulta again. Their loss, not mine!

It depends on the situation. If CS is REALLY bad regardless of where I go (assuming they have more than one brand retail location) or if CS with their online shopping is horrendous on multiple occasions, then I will look for other channels to purchase the brand (other retailers that carry them or other websites). But…technically, I do that anyway because I look for the best value (free shipping or the ability to use discounts with one retailer that carries the brand when others or the brand’s website or store won’t allow this, etc). If it is a brand that I can not purchase anywhere else and I have had numerous terrible experiences with them then I might stop purchasing from them unless there is absolutely no other alternative (such as a dupe that can match the product/s I use with the brand in question). But, the CS has to be consistently bad for me to really take such harsh steps. Things happen from time to time…even with the best of companies so I do take that in to consideration.

I don’t buy from Mac. I have no experience with their customer service. That might very well be great but in shops it is impossible to get help. Sales assistants stand in circles and chat and ignore customers. It has been like that at every Mac counter I have ever been to. I get great service from many other counters and since those counters have just as good value on their products then I don’t bother with Mac.

I, like many others, who were fans of Archetype eyeshadows were pretty much forced to stop buying because the customer service was so bad. It would take months to get eyeshadows, if you even got them at all. There was little to no response to emails.

Such a shame too, cause the shadows were fabulous.

INGLOT. ing-freaking-glot. to make a long story short: they charged my credit card for an order and never shipped me my products. a month rolls by, multiple pissed off emails from me in their inbox, I get a reply saying “oh we’re sorry, we’re kinda short staffed here’s a refund and some discount coupons”. so I was like okay, at least I got some sort of compensation. I tried to order again, using the coupons (which had an expiry date btw), and they didn’t work on the checkout site off their website. so I emailed them again asking why they weren’t working and that I got these coupons due to a previous complaint and failure to process my order. they never replied. it’s been 2ish months and well over the expiry date for those coupons. seriously. screw them. I hear so many great things about their products and have been dying to try them for about 6 months now. my money is going to another brand/retailer that DESERVES it.

This is a regional problem but let me say Bobbi Brown in HONG KONG.
Oh.my.gosh. I have been to like 3 of their stores and they all had attitude problems. They all worked in there with this air of “I work here and I am better than you / you should be ashamed of yourself for being not familiar with our products etc.” They gave bad attitude and makes you feel like they are the actual customers and you are suppose to serve them instead.
Seriously bad.
Bobbi Brown in other countries like Spain and Taiwan are awesome though.

I was in hk just this past summer and half of the makeup counters inside lane crawford were like that. just cause I wasn’t holding my life savings in a purse they didn’t acknowledge me. argh turn off.

This question is particularly timely since a recent incident last week made me decide to not frequent my local MAC store and not to order from MAC online until January 2013.

Very briefly, MAC scheduled a preferred customer cocktail party at that store to preview the Marilyn collection…timed to the start of Yom Kippur, the most holy day of the Jewish calendar. It’s the equivalent of scheduling a meeting at 11pm Christmas Eve or, even more, Easter morning. I know that dumb things happen (in this case, really dumb things – especially since MAC is now owned by the Lauders, a family of philanthropic Jews). But as someone whose job has included oversight of high-profile online/phone/mail customer service departments for over 20 years, I know that a simple personal response can work magic in retaining client relationships. And poor customer service departments that ignore or delete uncomfortable emails, especially those that just don’t fit the shortlist of canned responses, create ill will.

Based on last week’s experience, MAC clearly has poor customer service. After three attempts through three different channels to simply get some modest acknowledgement of what I felt was a huge religious insult, I’ve heard nothing. So if I’m not important enough to merit a response, then they’re not important enough for my money. Will I buy MAC products? Maybe at Nordstrom if there’s something I really must have, but not at their stores or via their website – both of which I’d visit regularly and buy ‘way more than I needed – until next year.

My issue is with the Sephora near me in Braintree Massachusetts. Every single time I go in there (today), I leave thinking “why didn’t I just order online?”. The SA’s are just completely awful. Either there are a million of them on the floor doing nothing while there is a huge line waiting to be rung up with ONE register open, or the reverse….you can’t find anyone to help you on the floor and everyone is at the registers with no line. It’s bizarre!! I love Sephora but not this one……I really think it would kill most of them to smile. I have had ONE positive customer service experience there and that’s sad considering how much money I spend there. So most of the time I shop on-line because at least you get free samples and still accrue points. I don’t know what the deal is but it drives me crazy!!!

A big part of the reason I ended my Birchbox subscription wasn’t their customer service, which was actually very good. It was the customer service on part of their shipping company Streamlite. They would continually lose my package (they lost 3 out of 9) and out of several emails I only got one reply, basically saying it wasn’t their problem. I reported them to the BBB and saw that many other people were having the same issue. Only after the BBB dinged their rating did I get a reply back (I told the BBB i only wanted an apology from Streamlite) still denying that there was a problem. I wrote back and told them their nonexistent apology sucked and they’d just cost a company with good customer service a customer. After that I got a very nasty email back with a sarcastic apology.

I recently placed an order from Sleek. Long story short, their CS is AWFUL! They are almost impossible to reach, and judging from their facebook page, I am not the only one with this problem. They seem to lose a lot of shipments too. 🙁 Their products look beautiful, but after this, I won’t order from them again.

I’ve heard a lot of people have had problems with Sleek. Maybe it’s just because I’m in the same country so problems are less likely to arise. I promise you though, you really aren’t missing much.

I’d buy anyway. If anything I’ll just avoid the method of shopping/store location that gave me poor customer service. I realize a company should do a better job of evaluating their employees, and even some employees don’t realize at the time that they’re providing poor service. Either way, CS isn’t making the actual product, and if it’s a good product, I’m still very likely going to buy it.

My worst customer service experience was at the Sephora in the King of Prussia mall. While they’re usually fine, I went in there last spring when a lot of new products were just coming out and I spent about an hour there looking at new things and planning what I’d be buying the next time I got my paycheck.
After I’d been in there for a while, swatching things, I was looking at Benefit, which was near the door, and two women who worked there were whispering near me, one telling the other to make sure she watched me. I felt very offended because I have spent so much money at that store, and I was mostly examining the products that had just come out. I considered complaining, but I never did. Maybe I should have. I have been followed around in Sephoras before too, I think because I am relatively young at 19.

It depends. If I’m scared to go into the store, I will generally avoid it and just buy online (Totally the store’s loss!). If its an online company and they’re terrible with orders, send me the wrong/damaged products I might boycott them, DEPENDING on their response. If a company steals photographs or words from a blogger, I will stop buying from them completely. I don’t think ANYTHING gets my goat more.

I bought an eye shadow from Meetmark.com (part of Avon) and they took forever to ship so I requested a cancellation. They wouldn’t cancel my order, they told me I would have to return it. Six weeks later I am still waiting to get my money back. Most retailers issue credit within days of receiving a return, two months is ridiculous imo, I will never order from them again.

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