Last time I griped about Burger King. Today Victoria’s Secret is up on the block.
Just going into Victoria’s Secret is difficult. Entering that world of underwear and lingerie is like setting foot on an alien planet. I tend to be a bit of a girly girl, but for some reason the vast array of underwear has me feeling cast adrift and on unsure footing. In the back of my head, I hear my grandmother’s voice telling me I don’t belong in that ultra-sexy, possibly sinful place.
Even when I get my prudish side in check, there are just too many choices, many of them seeming vaguely uncomfortable or designed solely for nonfunctional use. Let’s face it, whoever came up with the idea of a thong had to be a serious misogynist.
That being said, Victoria’s Secret has absolutely evolved. When they redesigned my favorite bra — frankly the only one in the store I used to like– the new style didn’t fit right. How frustrating. But their new line contains several different styles that now work for me. There’s no need for me to feel like a freak, because they carry them not only in my size, but in whichever color or trim I desire. In fact, I can buy more than one with their now ample stock.
This is a vast improvement over previous years where my only option was to buy the bra I wanted online. Something that just seemed too much of a hassle to do–making me feel less than normal compared to women who could walk out with a purchase. It certainly didn’t allow for frilly impulse buying.
Another nice feature is that they have specific bras for you to try on to find your size so that the actual bra you buy hasn’t been tried on by 20,000 people before you get it. Your actual purchase is pristine, in perfect condition, and particularly and intimately yours.
The real surprise now, is the customer service. While Victoria’s Secret always had a great fitting department, I am amazed by the level of customer service they now have. Going into Victoria’s Secret is a little bit like being fitted for a bra by the Secret Service. Greeters at the front of the store speak into head mics and pass you on to other employees, also wearing head mics, that all seem to speak in code as they scout out their particular area of the store. It’s like being under surveillance by a set of female James Bond wannabes. This system has been in place for many years, so that’s nothing new. But what is new, is the level of attention you get when you’re pased on to that next employee.
In previous years I’ve had to argue with staff that while their measurements indicated I should be in a particular bra, the bra wasn’t comfortable, or what I wanted. Over the past several visits to Victoria’s Secret, I felt that the employees were really listening and really trying to get me what I wanted and needed.
I have to give a particular shout out to an employee named Nicole H. in the Columbia, Maryland store. After getting my new bra at a Victoria’s Secret elsewhere, the first day I wore the new bra, I found that its stays were poking me in the side until I was literally black and blue. I hadn’t intended to go to Victoria’s Secret that day, but was shopping with a friend. When I went into the store, I was looking for some kind of little pad that I could put on top of the stay point that was poking into me. I was in a lot of pain.
Nicole first told me that Victoria’s Secret didn’t carry such things, but then explained that if I were in pain, the bra obviously wasn’t the right one for me. I told her I couldn’t do an exhange because I was wearing the bra and I didn’t have the receipt with me. She brooked no argument, maneuvered me into a dressing room, figured out the problem, brought me a couple of different styles to choose from, making sure I was thoroughly satisfied. Then she arranged to do the sales exchange right off my body. She even gave me a little card with the name of the bra on it for future use.
At the register, the cashier knew my entire situation, and not only did the exchange, but gave me the difference back in cash. No fumbling, no excuses, no embarrassment. I left feeling as if I were walking on a cloud.
So kudos to you Victoria’s Secret and especially to your employee, Nicole H., at the Columbia, Maryland mall. Your great customer service means that I will be back often and soon (Too bad I live far from that store!). I hope that other retailers take your example. For I believe, in this economy, the thing that will keep stores open and flourishing is their customer service. Without it, we might as well shop online.
Please share with me your favorite gripes and kudos. I’d love to hear from you.