Tuesday, February 26

Adventures in Customer Service: Fab (review)

The Internet is home to a labyrinth of coupon and deal websites and services, and I thought I was familiar with most of the best of them. That was until I found Fab.

Fab is a unique version of the deal/coupon website, driven by good design (their mission). I came across the site by happenstance. I ordered a poster from LivingSocial (a well-known, mostly app-driven deal site) and the order was fulfilled and delivered by Fab. I didn't know that these services intermingled... Turns out that's kind of a like a bait and bait, instead of a bait and switch. There is no switch. Only more things to like...

Actually, since learning about Fab, I've paid more attention to what they're selling than what GroupOn or LivingSocial or Hautelook have because the organization of the website and app is cleaner and easier to use and the items for sale are generally more interesting to me because they're things I may not have otherwise found on my own. I like that.

For example, I bought a Goorin Brothers hat. These are fantastic, American-made, well-designed hats. I remembered liking them quite a bit when I visited their store in San Francisco two summers ago, but I didn't have the funds to splurge on a hat at the time. Fab brought the hats to me and, at a good price, I found a cloche I liked.

Another benefit in contrast to the other deal sites I mentioned above? The "flash sales" are a little longer. There's a little less pressure to "buy now!" and I can think through a purchase and how it will fit in my life. That's really great, considering Fab offers some really terrific options on modern-styled furniture that, honestly, I wouldn't want to get on an impulse buy... If you're giving me a good product, give me the time to make a good decision. Fab does, and they're expanding their market because of it.

So now comes my customer service story... I received a $10 credit (like a coupon) from Fab to use by Valentine's Day. I was excited about having a chance to get a little something special, so I took my time to peruse the shops, marked a few favorite items, and eventually decided to purchase the Aviary Table Lamp.* (Those of you who know me well will not find this to be a surprise at all... haha.) I was excited to include this lovely lantern in my office.

The lamp arrived, I assembled it, and plugged it in. No light. I tried another plug. No light. I tried another light bulb. No light. I tried more plugs and more light bulbs, and still no light.

I wrote to Fab to let them know that I was disappointed and that I wanted instructions on how to return the lamp for another one, or how to process a refund. They wrote back (within two hours) apologizing for my sad experience and promising to help me remedy it. The person signed with their name.

They wrote back again to say that I should keep the lamp and that they were going to send me a replacement, no questions asked. (!) Again, the person signed with their name. In my mind, I know that this is a large company, but because the person signed with their name, the personal touch made me feel like this person was taking charge of my problem and addressing it, making sure that it would be resolved, as though he were an extension of myself, solving the problem how I would solve it for myself. This is good customer service. This is the personalization businesses are missing in the 21st century.

I got the lamp yesterday morning, assembled it, and plugged it in. Light! A beautiful bird lantern! I was thrilled. It's in my office now, replacing a tired old glass lamp I had. The lantern's design updates the space considerably and I'm pleased with the amount and color of the light.

Fab went the extra mile to satisfy my needs. I'm pleased that I have a working lantern. I'm not sure what I'll do with the other one. (Maybe give it to my engineer boyfriend to look at.) But I have a working product. This all took place within ONE WEEK.

So thank you, Fab, for making my shopping and even problem resolution experience such a positive moment in time. Thanks for taking the time to not stress me out. Thanks for taking responsibility for the problem and fixing it.

Fab, you rock.

*Note that I bought this before I lost my job. Le sigh. My purchases are few and only of necessity these days.

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