Tuesday, May 19, 2009

J.Crew {Happy Ending} Customer Stories

I think we all can agree that J.Crew has one of the best customer service in the retail industry (even with the occasional mess up-- that we have all definitely encountered at one point or another). ;) The following are some customer stories that I think are great to share:

The first customer story comes from Liz:
So, I've been buying cashmere from J.Crew since about 2003. For the holiday 2008 season I bought about 6 sweaters and noticed they were not holding up as well as previous seasons: they were pilling happened almost immediately and did not seem as soft. I saw other comments on this blog regarding the cashmere quality so I knew I was not alone in thinking things had gone downhill. I finally got sick of just complaining about it and decided to take action, so I wrote to Mickey. My aim was not to get my sweaters replaced or refunded, but to let him know that something had changed in their construction and I wanted him to get to the bottom of it.

I love J.Crew cashmere, but there was no way I could ever justify buying more unless things improved. So I sent my email. Within two hours I had the email ...from Mickey as well as a message from him on my cell phone, plus an email & voicemail from a woman on his production team. This amazingly quick response blew me away. I have always been a J.Crew fanatic, but because they took my concerns seriously and responded immediately, I am a fan for life. That is the kind of response a longtime customer should get, because we give them a lot of money over the years!

To wrap up the story, I've been in contact with the production team and elaborated on my concerns. I also loaned them two of my sweaters so they could examine them and see if anything has changed: a long sleeve cashmere tee from 2005 and one from 2008. Since then, they've identified some "opportunities" (I don't know exactly what these opportunities are, but I am hopeful) and said that changes will be reflected in the summer rollout cashmere. They are also sending me a test sweater to wear and report back on. I am eager to receive it and be able to say that it is better constructed than before!

My point here is that if you have a legitimate complaint about J.Crew, tell them. As my experience shows, they take constructive criticism seriously and the products may change for the better as a result.

The second customer story comes from Melissa:
Since I am a huge J.Crew fan ... I wanted to take a moment to contact you about my recent experience with J.Crew. I had my J.Crew Robin wedding dress (size 6) altered and it was completly RUINIED by my seamstress!! My wedding is one week from today (Monday, May 18th) in Maui. Since the dress is compeltely unfixable I had to order a replacement. To make matters more complicated, I live in Anchorage, Alaska.

I called J Crew Sunday to order a new dress in size 6 petite and requested overnight FedEx shipping. J.Crew normally will not overnight ship to Alaska. After 35 minutes on the phone I was told that although I could place the order they could not guarantee that it would arrive until Wednesday or Thursday at the latest! I was also told the dress would not even ship until after 4 pm Monday. I leave for Hawaii this Friday so that seemed to be cutting it awfully close!

I begged and pleded but the person in Special Events wasn't able to make an exception. I placed the order but was disappointed and worried I wouldn't receive it in time. I decided to make a call to J Crew's corporate office in NYC. I ended up finding a number for Jill Hennessy-Brown, the VP of Operations. I left her a message explaining the situation and asking for an exception to be made. I was delightfully surprised when she called me first thing Monday morning! She assured me that she had spoke with someone at the Richmond facility and the dress was being FedEx overnight shipped to me! Hopefully the dress will get here on Tuesday leaving me time to make changes if they are needed.

I was just so suprised that Jill Hennessy-Brown took the time to call me back and make sure my order would arrive in time. Later that morning I received a follow up call from Ellen in the Special Events department. She let me know that my dress had shipped and would arrive by Tuesday afternoon! I'm hoping you will post this email so I can share my experience with J Crew's WONDERFUL service!! A big thank you to Jill Hennessey-Brown for taking time out of her busy day to help a frazzled bride!

Melissa goes on to add that: I was so thrilled with the service I received from Jill Hennessey-Brown that I sent a thank you e-mail to Mickey Drexler and got a response from him later in the day!!

A big "thanks!" to Liz & Melissa for sharing their personal stories. I love reading these stories- it really makes me appreciate J.Crew. The retailer definitely does go above and beyond to make their customers happy when the special situation arises. And you got to love that CEO Mickey Drexler takes out the time to respond! :)

What are your thoughts on these customer stories? Do you have a customer service story that you would like to share?


  1. Wow these are some great stories! I'd love to hear more! I'm especially happy for Melissa! Thank goodness she was able to get that dress shipped on time!

  2. I wanted to ask if there is a JCA here from Canada who was able to reimburse the duties that has been deducted when purchasing online and later having the items returned. I called a number of time to customer service and all they could say is to go to Canada Post and get the green form. It is so vague so if there is anybody who could help me with this concern, I would greatly appreciate it. Or maybe if I can get Mickey Dexler's email to explain my concern, it would be great. TIA!


  3. JCrew takes good care of me, and one of my most memorable customer experiences was during the time of the website upgrade (late June 2008). We probably all remember that trying time!!

    I had placed an order one day before the upgrade and had sent in a couple of items for a refund at about the same time.

    Now I had become accustomed to a two-day turnaround for shipping confirmations and a two-week turnaround to receive my actual shipments and refunds to my credit card for any returns. This time, however, two weeks went by and I had not received any shipping confirmation for my pending order or credit to my card for my returns. Customer Service tried hard to locate my information, but could not provide me with any updates and asked me to remain patient because of the upgrade. By the time a month passed, I was very concerned, and I was able to locate, on a blog, the email address of a senior design person who referred me to a special services rep. This rep assured me that the refunds were in process and she expedited my outstanding order....and comped me on it!!!
    A couple of weeks passed, with no credit activity on my card for my pending refunds, and the special services rep was away from the office. So, I sent Mickey an e-mail. Within an hour, he had replied to me and had another customer service rep look into my refunds and process them immediately.

    The whole thing took about six weeks to sort out, but once the special services reps got involved, they took care of business and made me feel really appreciated the whole time.

    About a month later, I received two fifty-dollar gift cards as a thank you. Imagine that!

    Ever since, I have remained a fan of JCrew.

  4. paige-cu:

    When I return items for a refund, I receive all of the duties and GST collected, in addition to the price I paid for the item itself. The same goes for when I return the item to a B&M (when I am travelling to the US), I get all of the taxes and duties back. The only cost I may lose out on is the shipping, if I did not use a free ship code.

    Now the distinction may be the shipper - I choose the ship by Canadian Ground option using UPS as the carrier and I let JCrew collect the GST and duties up front, rather than pay for them at the time of delivery. It is more expensive that way, but if I return an item, I get the full duties and GST back from JCrew.

    I know that does not solve your immediate problem, but I hope it helps, going forward.

  5. I have to say jcrew's customer service is nice. However, I received too many defective items recently. I would rather they could invest more manpower on quality control especially returned items inspection.

  6. I think these are rare stories that go way above and beyond normal JCrew customer experiences. I had a ton of order problems this summer and did not receive anything extra special and I spend a lot of money at JCrew. (I get very generous rewards cards every period.) I have had problems with defectivie items but nothing special was ever done so I am sure it is hit and miss.

    I have really cut my spending (not due to the economy) but b/c of declining JCRew quality. I have just taken my $ elsewhere. I still LIKE JCrew a lot but am no longer obsessed with them as I was from 2001--summer 2008.

    I am happy Melissa is getting her dress though! Yeah and congrats:)

  7. It's awesome to hear you can get such a 'personal' feel from a company.

    Also, I'm sure many of us encountered at least one defective item or cs issue. I have never went up the ladder to bring it to anyone's attention. The difference is these ladies reached out and went up the chain of command to resolve the issue and realized positive results.

  8. Maybe I need to explain more but I did go up the chain of command in sprin 2007 when I received 3/4 defective items in an order including expensive blazers/jackets. I even sent the returns to this higher up person directly. I had to call her (she never called me) and she did admit the items were defective but now sold out and that was the end. No "extras". but I got my money back.....of course.

  9. Great stories on the front page! Over the winter I'd decided I wanted a Madeline wool dress in eggplant but of course my size was sold out online. I hit the store but no luck anywhere in NYC. In an act of desperation I picked up the red phone and explained my dilemma. The rep was great! She confirmed that the dress was sold out online but recalled doing a store check for the same dress earlier in the day.

    She put me on hold, called the store again and sure enough they had the dress in my size! And because I never make things simple I also needed the dress within 2 days so she flagged the order and had it overnighted to me.

    The fact that she treated my situation as though it mattered really made all the difference. I wrote J.Crew an email to let them know how much I appreciated that rep's stellar service.

  10. I just wish they'd be a little more consistent. Sometimes their customer service is above and beyond, and sometimes it is pretty ambivalent. Depends who you get on the phone and how much you press them/your attitude (and theirs as well). For the most part I've had good customer service (placing orders, inquiring about finding an item, etc), but there have been a couple times when it seemed like the associate just wanted to get off the phone.

  11. I had a bad experience that J.Crew turned into a great one.

    I waited nearly two months for an order last summer (most will remember the 'downgrade' to the on line system last summer. Finally I contacted Mickey and he responded within an hour. Then he connected me with a PS who has more than made me a customer for life. The service and attention is amazing.

    Since being hooked with her I order more and have turned my wardrobe into over 80% J.Crew.

    My favorite place to shop and deal with.

  12. It is heartening to hear the attention that they will pay when we ask for it and really need it. Thanks for sharing!!

    And, appropriately enough, my word verification is "suffer". I swear!

  13. I'm glad to hear they're investigating the cashmere issues.

    Speaking quite literally, I have TWELVE-year-old J.Crew cashmere that looks better than the Crew cashmere I bought last summer. My beloved pink and orange Martine that I purchased on sale last August and have worn a max of ten times is covered in pills and fuzz and absolutely looks like #$@%. My "Collection" Fleur sweater jacket (not one whit better quality than regular Crew cashmere) is in the same state.

    Land's End and LL Bean cashmere sweaters don't seem to have the same problems, but I much prefer the colors and styles offered by J.Crew--I've actually had to tape a note to my JC card saying "Don't buy J.Crew cashmere--even if on sale!" So, I'm glad to hear they're taking the concerns seriously and really hope the quality will improve soon.

  14. Sorry if my previous post seemed to divert a positive thread into complaining--it's just that I took out my Martine to wear it today and it made me so sad :-(

    (And actually I never did get a response to my e-mail to J.Crew last fall about the Fleur.)

  15. Hexicon,
    Thanks for your input and post. No worries:)

  16. Thanks for posting these success stores! So nice to hear! I'm very glad that they're working on the cashmere issue. Like another person said, Lands End and others have better quality cashmere, but J. Crew's colors and styling are better. As for the bauble-button cashmere sweater I got a couple of weeks ago, I still love it, but it does leave nice blue fuzz on my beige car seats.

  17. I was disapointed to not recieve the extra 25% off card last month, esp. since I got one last fall. I emailed customer service about it. Not only did they send me the card, but someone left a lovely message on my answering machine apologizing for the oversight! It made me feel really great! I LOVE J. CREW and I'm a man! Neal

  18. Great stories! I love that JCrew's management listens to us and improves their products to please their loyal clientele! Hearing this stories makes me even more loyal to their products. Go JCrew!
    PS: I am a cashmere-holic and I some of the cashmere sweaters I have bought this spring (cabin 7 gauge sweater) do not pill as much as others in the past. I hope this will be the rule moving forward...

  19. Hi all,

    Thanks Liz, Melissa & Alexis for sharing these great stories!

    As for my personal exp., I agree w. tastymoog... I've had amazing, so-so-, & very disappointing transactions in the last few years. A lot of it seems to depend on the JCrew associate. In my exp., almost every service industry has it's stars & so-so employees.

    IMO you can get results with praise as well as criticism. I note that in both stories, our fab JCAs were direct about their critiques or needs & were specific about how they'd like the problem fixed.

    I try to be equally specific when I have an issue that I'd like resolved. I was pleased to note that Liz's requests for better cashmere were taken seriously. I think sending the sweaters for comparison & re-design was a brilliant solution.

    Also, I was glad to see that when Melissa recv'd excellent service, she sent a thank you note. I believe in positive reinforcement & giving credit where it's due. As a result, I reg request to speak to a supervisor to tell them how pleased I was w. my transaction. I try to be specific, citing the CS or B&M associates knowledge of the products, the jcrew system or their willingness to make sure my questions were answered etc.

    Glad to hear that both Liz & Melissa's concerns were met.
    I hope the dress is the icing on the (wedding) cake.

    Also, please send photos of the dress & the sweater!



  20. Oh, I meant to say that I LOVE my PS, he's wonderful and very helpful. As another blogger has mentioned, since I began shopping through my PS, I have spent WAY more on JCrew than before.

  21. Wow! Both of these stories are really impressive, and I hope we get to hear how the "test" sweater holds up!!

  22. One thing that I love about J.Crew over other retailers is their flexibility with returns. It's a reason I shop there over many other stores. If an item doesn't hold up, or if you aren't satisfied with a purchase, they will take it back! Between their return policy and Nordstrom, I'm more comfortable shopping there than any of the Gap Inc. stores. It's important when a retailer recognizes the value of their customers, rather than treating everyone like a criminal.

  23. P.S. I do hope they rectify the cashmere issue, because the pilling is getting ridiculous!

  24. Thanks for sharing these happy customer stories, Alexis. I had a recent issue with an order, actually, it was the first time I've EVER had a problem with an order, and I've ordered a lot from JC in the past few years. Anyway, a pair of sale-priced cafe capris was missing from my order. I wrote an e-mail to CS about it, and I received an immediate response with a nicely-worded apology and an offer of free shipping on any item (the capris were no longer available). So, I splurged over the weekend and bought the fabulous Editor Sachtel in Fresh Melon at 20% off and no shipping charges. Can't wait for the package to arrive. I've been very lucky -- all of my packages always arrive within two-four days and I've never had any problems with damaged merchandise. So, I remain a very happy and loyal (online only)customer of JC.

  25. I am so happy to hear these stories! Can't wait for pictures of the wedding!! :)

    I also had a customer service experience lately. I placed an order in the store and unfortunatley the rep put me in as a 'new' customer instead of accessing my existing account. I didn't know this until I got home and checked my email. The email confirming my order had a shipping charge. I was surprised since I had ordered 3 regularly priced items and one sale item. I called customer service and was told " the sales rep has to request free shipping for you" and that their policy had changed on shipping charges with the red phone. I was a bit angry with that response. Then I noticed that I could not log in to my account online. I called customer service again to check it out and they reset my password. After that, I was able to log in, but all of my previous info was gone. Addresses, orders, etc. were no longer there.

    Remebering the little card we've been getting with our orders, I emiled 24-7 @jcrew.com It was a long email.
    The next day I received a phone call from Walt at J Crew who apologized for all of the trouble. He reversed the shipping charge, (but did explain that their policy had changed for the future.) and he said he would do his best to fix my account online. My big concern was a backordered Gallery Hobo. I was afraid the order for that was gone, too. (I had ordered it with the red card discount.)

    The hobo has shipped and unfortunatley my order history is lost in cyberspace. However, what matters to me is that someone at J Crew listened and addressed the problem to the best of their ability. I appreciate being contacted personally and being able to follow up with Walt on my issue. Now I know I can contact him if I ever have another problem. Overall, my contacts with customer service are usually good.

    I'm a pretty reasonable person. I understand we are all human and we all mess up from time to time. What matters most is someone taking the time to apologize and fix it. Thanks Walt!

  26. Hi everyone, I'm the cashmere Liz. Just to update the story a bit, I received my new sample sweater yesterday and am wearing it today to test it out (it's just the basic long sleeve T in heather grey). So far, so good. It feels softer than the ones from holiday '08. There's been a tiny bit of pilling in the armpits but that's to be expected. The real test will be after a few more wears, but I am cautiously optimistic!

  27. I've really never had a bad experience with j.crew customer service. They always seem to go above and beyond for their customers, in my opinion.

    One of my best experiences was last summer...I had emailed CS about an issue I was having with one of their contradictory policies. Later that evening, I received a call from a "higher up" rep, who apologized profusely and offered to send me a $25 gift card. While he had me on the phone, he asked if I had been satisfied with my recent purchases. Turned out that just that week, I had received an order of 2 Cambridge Cable cardis, and when I pulled them out of the box to try them on, 2 buttons immediately fell off of one of the cardis. When I told him that, he seemed appalled and then offered to refund my money for that cardigan. I was so pleased with that exchange...it has definitely made me a loyal customer.

    Sure, j.crew frustrates me sometimes, but I always feel taken care of as a customer eventually.

  28. Everyone: Thanks for sharing your comments and personal experience!!! I really enjoyed reading them. :)

    Hexicon: Your "Don't buy J.Crew cashmere--even if on sale!" note made me laugh out loud!!! ;) (And I didn't think your post was complaining- I found it informative.) :)

    Liz (aka Cashmere Liz): Thank you so much for the update! It's great to hear that you were sent a test cashmere sweater. I can't wait to hear your overall impression. :)

  29. Great stories, thanks for sharing! I'm looking forward to the improved cashmere!

  30. I have had great experiences with JCrew. It is really nice to hear about exceptional customer service stories. I do hope they correct the cashmere quality issue so that I can start purchasing those items.

  31. I also have a personal contact with someone higher up due to all of the problems I have had recently with quality. This person is very responsive to my concerns and tries each time to make things right. So I echo most things people have said here: excellent customer service, sometimes really above and beyond, if you push a bit (politely); what they have done to rectify problems has really gotten my loyalty; at the same time, I regret the problems I've had. Still, I don't know any other company that responds to customers better and seemingly more sincerely. Now if they'd just do something about the wacky sizing!

  32. Thanks for posting these stories Alexis! We hear so much of the negative, it's great to hear that others out there are having positive experiences!

    I had my own run-in with Walt and the crew (pun intended) back around New Years Day - my email to Mickey returned a response only five minutes after sending, and ten minutes after that there were multiple calls on the answering machine from John O'Dell and Brittany Snyder. They went above and beyond and exceeded any expectations I may have had about J.Crew customer service.

    **For those who doubt Mickey (Millard) answers his own emails, this was one of the responses I received that same day:

    "Just took off (on plane)-so "rushed email"-hope you received(prior)-i land in 41/2 hours-hope resolved by then(5ish eastern time)-
    As a result of all that transpired, I received a lovely gift (after chatting with Walt and politely telling him a $25 gift card just wasn't going to cut it this time). I was also set up with absolutely the best Personal Shopper a JCA could ask for. And while I can't say every order since then has been perfect, having an online PS allows you to completely sidestep traditional customer service. Received a cashmere sweater with a hole? One email sent and the next day my account is credited and the new sweater is on its way, with free expedited shipping. Looking for a hard-to-find retail-only item? She'll find it in hours. I could keep gushing about my fantastic personal shopper, but I imagine you get the point. :)

    J.Crew by far has the BEST customer service of any retailer. There might be hiccups here and there, but overall they truly do care about their customers.

  33. Thanks for sharing these great customer service stories! Love hearing them :)


Dear J.Crew Aficionadas & Aficionados: Please feel free (and encouraged) to share your thoughts and opinions. :) However, please note that this is still a personal blog. So comments that are considered inappropriate (e.g. obscene, racist, homophobic, personal attacks, rude, and just plain mean) will be removed.

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