Why You Should Always Reach Out to Customer Service

Last week, in my very belated August budget recap, I shared one of my bigger purchases of late: this gorgeous Genius fit and flare dress from White House Black Market. As I mentioned, I am not typically someone who spends a lot on one item at a time, so when I do make an investment, I take extra special care of it. That's why after I wore the Genius dress for a bachelorette party a few weeks ago, I carried the thing like precious cargo and gently placed in the washer, after making sure I was only using like colors and putting it on the delicate cycle. I even looked over the washing instructions twice before making my move! Again, as per instructions, I placed the dress in the dryer on the gentle cycle, intending to check on it throughout. I was pretty proud of how cautious I was being, as my laundry process usually consists of quickly separating darks and lights and putting them in cold.

I took the beautiful thing out of the dryer and subjected it to my thorough inspection. I turned it over, inside out, and was just about to hang up when I saw--GASP--a bleach stain on the hem!


I'm embarrassed to admit, but I immediately burst into overly dramatic sobs. I pathetically sat on the basement floor clutching the dress in my hands. I realize this is really immature and unacceptable. But I couldn't understand how this was possible! There was no bleach anywhere in proximity to the laundry area and none of the other clothes had any bleach stains on them. How?!

After I calmed down a bit, I thought through my possible solutions. Could I dye it somehow? Hmm not sure without having to dye the whole dress, the color being one of the things I love most about it. Not thrilled about this option. Would it be worth reaching out to customer service about it? I perked up a little. Maybe they could even replace it? Hmm...maybe. Just maybe.

The worst they can say is no.

Why You Should Always Reach Out to Customer Service

I knew that with the right approach, I could at least get a feel for what White House Black Market (WHBM) would suggest to remedy this horrifying problem.  Worst case scenario, I have some better insight on if the garment is dye-able.

I composed this artfully crafted email, emphasizing how beautiful the dress made me feel and how much care I took to keep it in great condition and how disappointed and upset I was about the flaw. (Because in reality, it was very possibly a manufacturing error during the dying process.) I also shared how pleased I was with my shopping experience, since the associate who helped me was extra kind and accommodating than most stores. The kicker was that I closed with a request for advice, not a request for a brand new dress. I knew that getting a brand new dress was not something I should expect, even if it was what I hoped for.

In under a 24 hour period, I heard back from WHBM. Not only did they write a very kind and sympathetic reply, but they also sent shipping labels to send the dress in for either a full refund or an exchange (after inspecting the flaw, of course). I was blown away! Even though I hoped for this outcome, I didn't expect it to actually happen. I was so very impressed and thrilled!

But their amazing customer service goes even further. When I called WHBM to check on the status of my exchange, they initially had refunded me, so the customer service representative quickly made the change. When she was finding the coupon code to get me my original discount, she ended up putting an even better discount in instead! It would be mailed to me just in time for my next event (Gabby's wedding) this past weekend. I couldn't believe my luck.

While I know not every interaction with customer service goes smoothly (I've been on the receiving end of some not-so-lucky experiences, as I'm sure you all can relate to), it is still worth taking those extra few minutes to reach out and see what your options are. If I hadn't reached out, I would be stuck with a bleached dress and out over $100.

I feel like this exercise can be transferred into all aspects of life. Think about the times when you could have said something, could have done something, could have taken that extra minute to reach out. I can't think of a time when putting yourself out there or reaching out hasn't been worthwhile. I'm hoping to remember that moving forward and to be more willing to ask for help.

So let's hear it. I know we all have ugly customer service stories to share, but that's not what I want in this space. Tell me about your positive customer service stories. Or when a friend or family member helped you in a big way, simply because you reached out and asked. Has anyone ever gone above and beyond for you?