Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Office shoes: A how (not) to guide for customer service and social media

I recently received such bad customer service from well known high-street brand Office Shoes that it actually made me really angry. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have caught a snippet of my anger and confusion but I felt that this merited a blog post as Office not only failed to provide the goods that I had ordered, the customer service I received was abysmal and they proved that they don't even know the basics of social media. Sadly, I'm not the only one that this has happened to, their Facebook page is littered with negative comments, that is until the page admin does the unthinkable and actually deletes them...more on that later. 

It all started off so well when I logged onto the Office website to idly peruse their shoes. Nothing caught my eye in store so I thought I'd give the website a whirl. I don't know whether I found them or they found me, either way I was suddenly faced with some utterly stunning Jeffrey Campbell wedges that just had to be mine. It was love at first sight; I'm pretty sure that the world went slow mo' while Usher/Donell Jones/Joe played in my head! I bought them then and there, checked the order confirmation email and thought me and the Jeffrey Campbells would live happily ever after. Hmm yeah, pity Office don't make the shoe buying process as simple as see, click, buy, enjoy. 

The shoes in question - Jeffrey Campbell Xanadu
I ordered my shoes last Tuesday and the email stated that delivery is between 2-5 working days. Being kind of keen impatient to receive my fierce new shoes, I called up customer service on Thursday afternoon to get an ETA. I was shocked to discover that the order hadn't even been processed yet. The lady in customer service did a check for stock and told me that there were none in stock in the warehouse and that they will fulfil my order from stock they have in store...which would take up to 7 working days! Not only had it taken them two working days to figure out that there was no stock left in the warehouse, it only came to light when I rang to check on the order. I was also told that although it would take up to 7 working days to source the shoes, it would take an additional 2-5 working days for delivery, so I was looking at potentially 12 working days or two and a half weeks. This is completely at odds with their Ts & Cs which state that UK orders could take up to 7 working days from order confirmation to delivery. 
Taken from the Ts & Cs page
Feeling slightly disgruntled and frustrated by the experience, I went to Facebook, found the Office page and wrote about what happened. I went back to the page a couple of days later and was horrified to see that the page admin deleted my post, as well as a couple of other negative wall posts. Not only that, they've blocked me from writing on their wall again! As someone who has worked in social media for two years, I was stunned. You can't censor social media, that's not what it's about. Yes, if someone is abusive or spams then by all means delete it. Social media is about a two-way dialogue between the customer and the company. You can't control what your customers say about the brand so there will be some negative comments that's just the nature of the beast but what you can control is how you deal with it. Or er..don't deal with it in the case of Office. 

The first lesson of social media is listening to conversation around your brand and the second is to interact with your customers. Deleting comments and making customers feel like they are completely insignificant is not in the lesson plan. I used to help look after social media for one of the UK's biggest retailers and I would never, ever delete a comment. In fact, our customer service team were trained to resolve issues super quickly. You need to show that you respect your customers.

I bet that this wallpost will be gone come 10am..
Like me, a couple of other people noticed that their post had been deleted so they posted to ask why their post had been deleted - these also got deleted pretty promptly. I'm shocked that the person who looks after their social media applied for the role and actually got employed. They've shown that they lack even the basic concepts of social media and have zero respect for their customers. This isn't limited to just Facebook though, I've tweeted them countless times and had zero response. Not having a Twitter account is better than just using it as another standard PR/markering channel. 

In the meantime, I had emailed on Friday and Monday to see whether they had sourced the shoes from any stores yet. Like my Facebook wall comment, my emails were ignored. I rang up again today, a whole week after my order had been placed and the customer service lady I spoke to hit the final nail in the 'failures by Office' coffin. After a lot of kerfuffling, she told me that they couldn't source the shoes from store after all and my order had been cancelled...well er, no one told me that!

Out of frustration, I handed the phone to my colleague who looks after customer service at my current workplace. When she got off the phone, she was even more frustrated than I was. The lady she spoke to kept contradicting herself, one minute they had searched their stores, the next minute they were unable to source from store, the next minute they were only able to source from four stores (there are over 40 in London alone) and she didn't even know how many stores they had in the UK in total!! She did offer me a 10% discount as well as free P&P. Honestly, that's not nearly enough to make up for all the time wasted and horrendous experience. Oh and funnily enough, straight after my colleague hung up, they emailed to confirm the order had been cancelled. Um it's sort of too late I knew that already. 

On reflection, I'm not actually sure what the biggest problem is here: the frankly crazy long-winded web ordering process, the shoddy customer service and lack of communication or being deleted and blocked by their social media people. All I know is that I'm never going to buy anything from their website ever again, it's just not worth the hassle. I doubt I'll even bother going into their stores. However, if you want to play a fun game*, post something negative on their Facebook page and see how long it takes before it's taken down. Extra points for getting blocked too.  

* Disclaimer - I am not actively encouraging people to spam the Office Facebook page. 


  1. You'd think having the name 'Office' they'd be organised. Oh the irony.

  2. that's awful Reena, I can't believe a lovely person like you has been treated like this by a company, I think this is the WORST customer service i've seen. They really neeed to sort themselves out!
    Hope you get a pair of those wedges!xxxxxxx

  3. I can't believe a lovely person like you Reena has been treated like this, It's shocking for a retailer to do any of that ^
    Those are gorgeous wedges too, hope you get a pair!

    let's hope they fix the error of their ways before they loose all customers together! xxxx

  4. Oh my god what a shambles. Even though I do love Office shoes, it shocks me they haven't made more of their twitter page as there's so much potential. It's shocking that they kept you out of the loop the whole time and can't even keep their stock updated on the site. I did manage to find some bargains on there this morning, I might take the risk though could easily end up writing a post like this in a few weeks!

  5. How shambolic! I hated Office a bit already because of their ridiculously high prices, but now I have a far more legitimate reason to hate them.

    I really hope your blog post is a wake up call for them and they can apologise to you and learn a BIG lesson about customer service/social media. Can't get over the fact they blocked you! Using social media for solely promotional purposes defeats the object of using that platform. Social media is supposed to create DIALOGUE, not a monologue.

    Sorry you had such a shitty experience, and moreover, sorry you couldn't get the shoes you wanted! I hope Office see this blog post and find you a pair somehow. It's the least they can do!

  6. harumph, this is very VERY annoying. as a "communication" expert, Clearly there is a HUGE breakdown of communication between the store (online and non-internet world) and customers. i really dislike when simple chains of communication break down. if they had informed you within those two days of your order and told you "aw shit sorry we ran out, here have 10% off" straight away, it would have been so much better. or something anyway!
    well said reena.

  7. omg this aweful! clearly office need to fix up!!

  8. I've never ordered off the Office website & after reading this I won't ever be! Such a low level of customer service at such a big company is baffling!

  9. Can't believe such a huge retailer could make such a cock up of the bare basics of e-trading and social media. I hope you get your money back promptly but I'm not holding my breath Reena! I won't be using Office again.

  10. Oh what terrible service. You must have been fuming x

  11. Terrible service, I've had similar from Office too. Your post has reminded me to watch Mary Portas tonight on C4 - all about cutomer service in stores, maybe Office will appear!!

    The doll on fashion

  12. Office are so rubbish - even a simple press request took them ages! I emailled the PR team, no reply, Twittered them, FB'd them and someone finally got back to me a full 5 days later, with the attached image and a really quite rude (not apologetic at all) email about how many times I'd contacted them. At the time, that was my job as a journalist. Now, working in social media, I'm more aware than ever that brands are accountable and you can't just ignore and lie to your customers. Deleting posts on their social channels and using Twitter passively is pathetic - perhaps the same rude boy that finally sent me the photo is also in charge of their Facebook?

  13. What a joke! I can't believe such an established company would have such an awful social and customer service strategy. To delete and block you just for posting a negative comment is shocking. At least they can't delete your blog post!

    They also have a no returns unless faulty policy instore, which I've always thought is so archaic. So it seems they need to rethink their entire service model, as no one's happy!


  14. I never order from Office as shoes never ever EVER arrive! I know so many people this has happened to. They are particularly bad at sale times. Their attitude to their customers doesn't surprise me at all.

  15. I totally agree- I had a similar experience with Office and probably would never order from them online again. I work for a much smaller online retailer and it's so frustrating when huge companies offer bad customer service, and worse social networking! They should be using online communication to improve customer service and interact with customers positively, not make it worse! It's so frustrating when companies use social media to just blatantly advertise, but deleting comments etc is just so unacceptable!!

  16. Wrong , wrong and wrong on every level from the poor customer service to the deleting comments. They need a huge lesson in social media – plus this is censoring on the biggest level.
    I’m sorry about the shoes as they are very fierce but I have had similar Office mishaps and they must be the only shop on the High Street which doesn’t do refunds ……. So if you buy in the shop make sure you really like them and they really fit otherwise credit note for you.

  17. Thats an great example of the customer being completely overlooked. Isn't the customer always right? Not when you're Office!
    I look after a Facebook page for one of the retails brands the company I work for own. To be fair we have only had one customer complaint directly written on to the facebook wall- which was dealt with the same day. The customer wrote again on the wall a week later saying his faith in the brand had been restored and listed the people who had helped him by name and praised them individually.
    In my mind that's how a marketing tool that liaises direct with the consumer should be run - swiftly and efficiently! Take note Office!!!

  18. This is SO standard from Office. I have heard so many horror stories (my ex-housemate had a very similar experience to you with them and they were really rude to her) that I would never ever consider buying anything from their website.
    Actually, I can quite honestly say that out of every single person I know that has ordered from their website NOT ONE has ended up getting their shoes. Erm, are they a shop or just a site full of images? Sigh.

    Brands need to wise up about social media, and quickly too.

  19. I wish this was news to me, but they've been allowing you to order out of stock items then take a week to tell you you'll never be getting your items since at least 2006. I was a member of a fashion forum at that time and, lured by Office's excellent sale prices, a number of us placed orders only to be told, days later, that the items were out of stock and would never be available again.

    So it seems that whoever they employed that has no idea how to update a website with the simple words 'out of stock' is still there, and still hasn't learnt how to do their job. It's just sad that they've employed someone else just as incompetent to deal with their Twitter and FB pages.

    I've not bought anything from Office since 2006.

  20. I have to say, you were almost lucky that you didn't have to deal with the courier company they use, as they are literally the worst I've ever encountered. I ordered a pair of shoes on the last day of the first big snowfall this winter, and my confirmation email said that orders may be delayed due to backlog. Fair enough, but they took so long to process the order that a whole new snowfall had covered the UK which slowed them further (not something that happened to Topshop, Miss Selfridge or Zara, with whom I placed orders on the same day which arrived within a week). My shoes were eventually delivered over two weeks after my order, but of course I was at work and when I attempted to re-arrange delivery the courier company had a blanket message on their website saying that delivery could not be rearranged and to just... wait. They had also closed their call centre. Indefinitely. I emailed Office and received a standard email saying 'if you're complaining about snow then get over it', basically. The shoes eventually arrived over a week later, thankfully someone happened to be in otherwise I could still be waiting...

  21. That is so messed up, such poor customer service. I don't understand how they get away with it?!?

    Thanks for writing this post, I'll never shop at Office ever again.

  22. This is diabolical. I've never ordered from Office online, and I rarely shop in store - mostly due to the fact that their prices are extortionate and their no refunds policy seems absurd. I work in retail part-time and I can say that when a company refuses to give refunds - something is amiss.
    I honestly don't understand what is to be gained by not allowing it.
    I also think that their deleting your comments is despicable. It's not like they even said "We'll look into it"!
    I really hope you get some kind of response from this because clearly their whole system isn't working.
    It's a shame you couldn't get those shoes, but I'd rather spend my money in a shop that treats it's customers correctly :)

  23. like we actually give a f*ck. ps. dont expect to be sent any free jeffrey campbells in the post either like im sure your no doubt hoping

  24. Unfortionately the ecom team at office don't really know how to run a website-in a time where net a porter will deliver same day & pretty much everyone offers next day, office can't even guarantee you will get your shoes or that they even have them in stock-it's a lottery as to whether they have what you want or if it will even get there. But not that they care

  25. They never used to delete the comments. I know that they've had bad press on FB before & the guy or girl was really friendly & helpful, maybe it's a change of staff or management? Also surely you can't be allowed to offer items for sale that you don't have? Is this legal? Seems a wee bit shady to me, maybe trading standards should be informed of this bad service and bad attitude
    Hope you manage to get your JCs....somewhere else :(

  26. I cant believe this has happened Reena, and from such a well known high street brand..disgusting.
    I had a similar issue with Topshop - processing my payment (taking the money too) and then getting an email a few days later saying it was out of stock - but they hadn't debited my account, when in fact they had and it took me to complain to get the money back.
    I hope you can find another way to get your gorgeous shoes.
    Love the blog by the way ;o) xx

  27. I hate to see that you've had awful customer service from office, but I'm glad to see I'm not alone. I bought a pair of £91 boots that fell apart in weeks, and have been wrangling with them since mid november. I'm not surprised about the facebook comments, they don't even return phone calls! If you need any help running an internet campaign about the quality of their customer service I'd be glad to help- it would certainly help me to feel less frustrated.

  28. Their shoes are overpriced anyway - I won't be shopping there again. I hope you email them a link to this post too! x

  29. Never bought anything from them, never will. Even less so after reading this. Total support to you Honey. x

  30. Great post, not sure ill order from them again! We don't complain nearly as much as we should thats why they always get away with it, well done! x

  31. Hi, I have the same problem with office: ordered 2 pairs 2 weeks ago... since them one order has been cancelled and the other still displays "pending".
    Customer service is ridicolous, they confuse themselves, they provide no informations and... they charge your money before knowing if they have your shoes!!!! DISGUSTING!!!
    They removed my comments from their facebook wall, too.


  32. Hi Reena, this is so true - unfortunately many people who work in marketing think this is the best way to deal with complaints - look up the Nestle Facebook scandal if you haven't heard of it.

    Nice to 'meet' another blogger who works in social media/marketing - where do you work? Would be interesting to have someone in a similar field to sound off to! I've worked in PR/Marketing/Social meda for 3/4 years, about to start a job doing online marketing for Motel Rocks.

    Now folowing your blog :)


  33. Great post Reena! What a horrible horrible company, I thought about ordering something before but I live in Holland so I can only imagine how that would go. I'm glad you wrote this though and created some awareness about it, it's a really good read! Cannot believe you got blocked, it almost seems childish.


  34. Had virtually the same happen to me over 2 pair of uggs i ordered. They only sent 1 didnt tell me and took a lng while to refund the money they had taken....but if you think about it what a splendid money makking scam to have several thousand orders sat in an account for 10 days gaining interest before giving it the poor unsuspecting public their money back!
    To add insult to injury when i tried to return the second pair back to the store, I was openly accused of handing in fake goods!!! The girl wouldnt give them me back and i am still £100.00 out of pocket with no word from head office who are "investigating" my returned goods.
    They have messed with the wrong customer this time as I am looming to be recompensed for the inconvinience and to prevent me from taking them to court for slander would like a full explanation as to why their staff are allowed to treat their customers like this. For such an expensive range, you would and should expect 100% customer care from them, exactly the same as the other high priced high street stores out there! Rude and inconsiderate....I for one will not be using them again and am rapidly spreading the word about my vile experience with them.

  35. That is truly shocking. I will not be shopping there or featuring them on my blog.
    I cannot believe that in this day and age a company like that cannot even use social media correctly.
    Customer service should be a high priority for every company, especially ones with a high profile.

  36. Hi, if I buy from Office shoes I use their ebay site. It is a lot more professional and you get an answer to e-mails very quickly. Sometimes you get an answer within 10 minutes, the longest is 48 hours.

  37. I wonder how much money they make in interest between receiving your money into their bank account and having to refund it? On a seemingly large scale I'd say it's a fair few pounds!

  38. As a bloke, it is not often I elect to buy shoes or boots.

    When I do, I want to spend the minimum time and effort trawling through shoe shops and buy a pair of boots that will stand the test of time.

    So, with the above in mind, I made the (now) stupid mistake of going to Westfield and buying a pair of Office 'Ask the Missue' boots.

    Aesthetically, they are superb. In fact, the leather is well finished and the boot fits my foot like a glove.

    However, after wearing them a grand total of 6 times, the back seam of the boot split and the local cobbler says they are 'knackered'.

    So, after reading the above, what are my chances of taking back a pair of boots that are less than 9 months old?

    Place your bets.


    1. nil - yesterday i took back a pair of Toms which I bought in March. One has a hole in the fabric on the heel, which in unraveling - the store manager would not exchange as he said it was the way I have worn them!!! I am fuming and will not shop in office again

  39. I have just received a pair of boots that I love - which have clearly been worn! No labels, scratched and worn soles and a small scratch to the leather.

    I called up for a returns label within minutes of receiving them to be on hold for nearly 20 mins (I gave up) and called for the same amount of time the next day to be told that I have to pay for postage and they will refund. I dont know how much that will be for the huge (and very worn) box they came in.

    I will also not be using this store again as this is the first time I have ever had to do this. Or received a worn item for that matter! You would expect good quality and good customer service at the prices they charge! I have had neither on this occasion.

  40. i am experiencing a similar problem at the moment. i want to scream!!

  41. I am currently battling with exactly the same problems with an order for four pairs of Office shoes. The 'quality' of customer service is really quite appalling!

  42. I have had 2 horrible experiences with office also. Once I found a beautiful pair of shoes in the sale in a store, sadly they weren't my size but the in store staff suggested I go online and see if they are available. They were and I ordered them straight away. I was told to wait 2-5 days until the shoes were in my hands. Two weeks later the shoes weren't here. My dad emailed and rang and they told us the shoes were no longer in stock (although on the website it said they were...). I was disappointed. It wasn't until a little while later that I realised I still hadn't been issued a refund. It took weeks and many phone calls to get my money back. And when telling the story to a co-worker she realised she had ordered shoes, completely forgotten and they had never shown. Office online has to be the worst run store EVER.

  43. Office shoes, well they are very cheeky, I have no even words to describe it, just stay away from them, and that's it. There is a lot of plenty footwear online shops.

  44. They are pathetic, I am never ordering anything from them again! I have ordered a pair of shoes for 12 days now, nothing has been delivered, their courier claim to have delivered a week ago and now I am waiting for them to find out where my package is.

    It's so bad of them to delete your comment on FB. They clearly do not understand online and they should stick to the high street.

  45. I am so annoyed with office, I created a Fb page: http://www.facebook.com/OfficeShoesOrdersGoneWrong

    Just shared your link, like and share.

  46. I've ordered pair of shoes and still hvnt got it. ugh i'm so annoyed and it's been a week and half today and i still havnt got my shoes..
    i'm propa pissed off with the office delivery system. It is the shittest delivery system ever. Obviously i was being patience as i ordered the shoes when it was on sale but ohmygod its been nearly 2weeks alreadyyy. ]
    i'm really annoyed i'm never gonna order from office anymore, it is so crap and suckiest online system ever. My balenciaga ( designer ) handbag was shipped from USA and i got it within a week or even less.

  47. they are not fit for purpose

  48. i ordered 3 pairs of shoes totally £150 one of which was supposed to be a birthday present (but is now too late) i was told i would receive a confirmation of dispatch email, and that more often than not items where posted next day. LIES!!! after days of waiting and checking my email over and over i logged back into my account to make a complaint, it was at that point i realised there was a tab titled 'my order' underneath delivery status it said deleted. they have taken the payment from me, i have not received my shoes, i have not received any further emails since the initial confirmation, i have not received a refund, and i have not received any response to the email i sent to them regarding all of this. I AM DISGUSTED!


  49. also just an after thought. NO i do not want to spend a million years on hold to them and have to pay for the privilege, when they have no real answers for you anyway and just seem to talk incessant crap.

  50. Well its taken them a month to 'attempt' to find my shoes! i ordered them a month ago and the delivery guy didnt leave a sorry but you werent in card so no idea where they are! non of m neighbours have them and they have expected me to knock on up my street! a joke! and they have just disconnected me after 40 mins of being in a waiting queue! fuming is an understatement! shit company

  51. Nearly just sicked at the sheer amount of negative comments circling the net re.OFFICE. I too am currently suffering from the disgusting way in which they 'serve' their customers.
    I am moving house in a week and a half and thought 4 weeks was plenty of time to account for the delivery of 5 new pairs. Clearly not. With just over a week to go, no show, no response from emails and out of pocket, I am livid. Furthermore, two pairs of the shoes ordered have now been reduced!!!! *Spewing* (could not hold it in any longer). I demanded a refund of the difference in price, as a gesture.. Seeing as they are both in stock in my size and I could always re-buy then send the first pairs back.. I just don't have time for all that messing.
    But seeing as they have not responded to any of my emails, I will be returning all 5 pairs. I mean, yeah, it would be nice to have some more shoes, but no, no, no, they are going back. And I mean it.

  52. I just ordered my shoes at the weekend, received an email stating it will be delived in 2- 5 days. On Tues i emailed them to ask whether it had been dispatched as keen to get them before my holiday. Customer service has been great and helpful. They said shoes had been dispatched and I recieved my shoes wed! well ahead of the 5 working day promise.

    Very pleased with Office online purchase.

  53. I've only ordered from office once and about a week after got an email saying they were out of stock so I wouldn't be getting them. Haven't bothered to order from them ever since, nor have I been to any of the stores either. Their stock system is clearly incredibly inefficient and I've heard the same thing happening to numerous people, who obviously are p*ssed off and usually do what I did, never buy from them again. It's clearly not an impossible task to keep an up to date stock list, as I've never ran into the same problem with any other company, and I shop online a lot! They also clearly do not understand what social media is for; it's not just another channel to hawk your products but actually so much more. Failing to utilise social media is definitely bad for their business alongside with their other failings; hopefully one day they'll either get their shit together or go bust and save us all the trouble that is associated with ordering from them!

  54. Office are an appalling company to order from and to work for. It's shoddy all the way through.

  55. Pathetic, I ordered a pair of shoes that where never delivered, although the courier claims to have done so, they where 63 quid and now I am being told that I should expect the police to investigate this...what the hell, if you dont have a signature its not my problem, I paid for items to be delivered and they have not arrived....its that simple. I will NEVER buy from them again.


Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my post.

Lots of love,
Reena ♥

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