No Doesn't Have to Be the Final Verdict: Tip-of-the-Day #315

This post is to serve as a reminder that "no" doesn't have to be the final verdict. Let me 'splain. I purchased a pair of Tom Ford sunglasses a couple of years ago and spent a good chunk of change on them. They held up well over time and I was pleased with their general appearance even two years in.

One day they slipped off of my head, hit the pavement and one of the lenses cracked and broke. Assuming it would be an easy fix, I mentioned my predicament to a Nordstrom sales associate when I was poking around the Anniversary Sale and she gave me the contact information for Tom Ford USA customer support. I promptly dropped an email explaining my predicament along with a few pics of the damaged shades and a day or so later I got this response:

Unfortunately this frame has been discontinued and we no longer have the parts for the lens replacement. I do apologize for the inconvenience. 

It was signed by “Sarah” and her signature block included her telephone, fax and general location.

My first instinct was to write back, right away, and press her on this. I was surprised that there was no action plan, even one that involved payment to get the glasses repaired or replaced. After shooting back a note of dismay I realized the best thing would be to pick up the phone.

Calling Sarah was the best thing I could have done. Seems an actual person on the line opened up some possibilities that email didn’t extend. Sarah pretty quickly agreed that she would check inventory again and see if there might be any lenses left over from the discontinued line. She also agreed that if the glasses weren’t covered by the warranty, I could pay a nominal fee to have them fixed or replaced. At this I had to ask why I wasn’t offered these options by email. She apologized and said that she had been incredibly swamped. Something gave me the feeling that she might be a one woman shop and so I had to confirm the suspicion. It was true! She is the only person in all of the U.S. handling customer support! No wonder she tried to quickly dismiss my request for assistance. She didn’t have the time to take the extra steps! This discovery seemed to fuel her newly found interest to help source those replacement lenses and sure enough, she found the last pair for me.

They arrived within a week, free of charge I might add, and I quickly popped the lens into place.

Nutshell: email isn’t the best way to get what you need from customer support. People are busy and hoping you’ll go away if the news you get isn’t what you were expecting. Pick up the phone, talk to the human behind the email, and get yourself a brand new set of options that were otherwise unavailable. In my case, a new lease on those sunglasses!

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