Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

Coldwater Creek: A Great Customer Experience

Posted by Becky Carroll on March 1, 2007

happy-customers.JPGRecently, after seeing a week of JetBlue bashing on blogs, Kevin Hillstrom over at MineThatData challenged us bloggers to be positive.  I try to do this whenever I can, but I promised Kevin I would take up his challenge.  On the first of each month, I will be sure to put forward a positive story about customer experience (what Kevin calls One Positive Day).  Here is my first installment, on Coldwater Creek!

Last year, I had traveled to Milwaukee to meet a client for the first time.  My flight from California arrived around 5pm, but my bags did not.  Wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt is not a great way to kick-off a new project and make a good impression!  Desperate, I took a taxi to the closest mall that was still open, Mayfair Mall.  After dashing through a few stores, I came upon Coldwater Creek.  I had heard a lot about them, but I had never shopped there before.  I went in.

Immediately, a sales associate came up to me, and I shared my predicament.  It was nearly closing time, but this person and the other sales associate working sprang into action.  After getting my size information, as well as my needs for clothes (and shoes and accessories), they pulled together several possibilities for me to try.  They also suggested I run next door to the lingerie store to get what I needed; they would hold the Coldwater Creek store open for me! 

After 45 minutes, my shopping was completed.  I had two great outfits, plus shoes and accessories.  The store had a coupon for their frequent shoppers for 20% off an entire purchase over $100 (which mine was), but I wasn’t a frequent shopper.  They offered me the coupon saying, “You’ve had a rough day; I hope this makes it better!” 

I was pleasantly surprised at these two associates.  They treated me like I was their only customer.  They stayed late for me when most stores would have been pulling down the gate.  They made me feel like their best customer.  And after that visit, I think I was!

Coldwater Creek’s retail experience rocked! 

How can you make your customers feel special when they interact with you?  Are you looking out for their needs, or for yours?

I hope you found this story inspiring.  I still get a smile on my face when I think about that great experience.   More positive stories to come for next month’s One Positive Day (and for the days in-between, too).

In the meantime, be sure to visit other positive story-makers: Meikah at CustServ, Phil at MakeItGreat, Daryn at (a website, not a blog).  Send me others you know of, including yourself, and I will link to them next month!


12 Responses to “Coldwater Creek: A Great Customer Experience”

  1. Awesome!! I’ll check out the links you outlined as well.

  2. Thanks for raising the awareness, Kevin! You rock!

  3. GP said

    Coldwater is a good operation! I had a similar experience albeit on a much smaller scale with the tire/body shop here in town (15 miles away!) from the b&B. We need to take in one of our rigs next week and they offered to drive us back since it has to stay there for a few hours. When I benignly 🙂 asked if someone would be willing to come get Dan when it was done… they said sure, no problem…. Needless to say Patacini Tires rocks.

    Similarly when we have guests arriving after dark, even tho they have directions and we have signage just off the road, we’ll typically meet them, lantern in hand by the road to give them a “light the night” escort in. Ah, the joys of a rural location.. Hmmm does that qualify for a link? 🙂 🙂

    GP in Montana

  4. Hi GP,

    Thank you for your examples. They are great! Many of these examples have a few things in common: a personal touch, and taking care of little things that matter to customers.

    Link – you bet!


  5. Thank you, Carol, for the shout out! It has been great so far to be writing about the positive side of customer service. 🙂 Keep at it, too.

  6. You are welcome, Meikah!

  7. […] positively as often as possible, and One Positive Day is a great monthly kick-off.  Last month, I posted on Coldwater Creek.  This month, I look to one of my favorites, SeaWorld San […]

  8. I have had 2 very bad experiences with Coldwater Creek. I have placed 2 orders on 2 different occaisions which were NEVER shipped, yet my Credit Card was billed. When I contacted Coldwater Creek yesterday to Close my account (I will buy clothes from my wife somewhere else). Someone by the name of BJ also advised me that I should close my Chase Credit Card account, which is not tied to Coldwater Creed in ANY way. There are a LOT of young and unexperienced kids working for Coldwater Creek. There is also a lot of talk on the Internet about downsizing of staff in order to become more “lean”…which is apparently moving CC in the direction of poor order processing and customer service.

    On the “Positive” Side, my wife Loves the clothes that I picked up for her at CC. Also, to be positive, CC only has “issues” with shipping and billing regarding their “outlet” pricing. If you buy something at Full Price (and they ARE a very pricy place to shop), there is NEVER a problem. Full Price items always arrive in a few days, where as outlet items take weeks to ship.

  9. Jeffrey, sorry about your bad experiences. I have seen some inconsistency across online and retail channels, as is chronicled in this post:

    Customer service needs to be consistent across channels. I know Coldwater Creek does a lot of “mystery shopping” to make sure the experience is good.

  10. Monica said

    I just had a fairly bad experience with Coldwater Creek as well. I placed a black friday order of a coat and pantsuit for my mom (she really wanted this coat for Christmas). I received a partial order 2 weeks later and it showed the coat as backordered. I did the online customer service chat and was told it had been cancelled from my order. I was never emailed or given a courtesy call to let me know the coat was unavailable. I’m a fairly adept shopper but am used to much better customer care than that – I should have been informed within 48 hours. Worse yet I asked if they could track a coat at a retail outlet and was told yes. When I checked back I was told there was no record of that request having happened and it would be an additional week to do the search (placing shipment at Christmas). I would not place another order with them as I’ve surmised from the ‘net that this is a fairly standard practice for them.

  11. Judy said

    Just had a terrible experience with Coldwater Creek’s ‘outlet’ shopping. Ordered on January 11, 2008, two items. They showed to be in stock and available, and I received a confirmation of the order, along with a confirmation number. These were gifts that were needed as soon as shipped. After awaiting delivery, I tracked my ‘order’ this a.m, January 23, only to find that it was classified as ‘not picked’. I called their toll free number, only to learn that evidently their inventory tracking is primarily non-existant. Furthermore, I never contacted in any manner regarding this order. Coldwater Creek needs to take responsibility for the shoddy outlet shopping offered.

  12. Rules said

    I have had nothing but positive experiences at CC, in the stores, on line or by phone. Whether I buy Clearance or Outlet or full price, everything gets to my house quickly. The shipping is expensive, but efficient.

    I misplaced a gift card once and my rep figured out the number from who had given it to me. Then she gave me a universal pin number, so I could use it on-line or on the phone. That’s customer service. She spent over 20 minutes working on this.

    The only other company that has that kind of mail/internet order customer service is LL Bean.

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