I haven't posted much about customer service in awhile, but The North Face's service has been so repeatedly astounding that I've got to spread the word.
Full disclosure: The North Face is not nor has ever been a client anywhere I've worked (to my knowledge), nor have they resorted to any form of blogger outreach or influencer marketing to this blogger in particular. They have, however, taught me a few things that are worth sharing. Here's why The North Face is as good as it gets:
1) After a couple years of traveling around with a North Face backpack that I bought from eBags due to its great reviews, the zipper on the main pocket started getting stuck, and in time it got so bad that I couldn't use it. I figured I'd check to see if they could fix it. I wrote them through their website, "I have a North Face Surge backpack and one of the zippers is now busted. Can I get this fixed at a North Face store or do I have to send in the backpack? I have a store near me (the SoHo store in Manhattan) and can return it in person. I purchased the bag March 2009 via eBags. Thanks. – David". I sent this late on Saturday and by the time I woke up Monday, I got a response via email.
2) The North Face first shocked me with the response: "Thank you for contacting The North Face. We're sorry to hear that one of the zippers has broken on your Surge backpack. Our bags have a lifetime warranty, and we will repair that zipper for you free of charge. Please fill out the warranty return form and send the pack to the address at the top of the form. The Soho store can also send this on your behalf." I had no clue about this warranty when I ordered the bag. Guess which bags I'll be ordering in the future?
3) I stopped by the store and they quickly processed the bag, giving me an easy way to track it.
4) A couple weeks later, I was surprised to get a FedEx from them. It turns out that The North Face wanted to replace my bag, but the exact item wasn't available. Instead of sending me the next best thing, they sent a gift card for the value of the equivalent new backpack – over $100 (and about the price I paid for it in March 2009). The card was redeemable in-store or online. Remember, this was all for something that broke after a lot of normal wear and tear, probably due to my own fault, and I was expecting to pay to fix it in the first place. (See the image below. The big red icon is the envelope for the gift card.)
5) I went to shop the North Face site. I appreciated how it tapped into Facebook so I can see products that were especially 'liked.' This isn't anything that special, but not enough retailers are doing this. I liked a product I planned on buying and it instantly showed up on Facebook.
6) I saw some weird size on a ski mask I was checking out – LXL. Fortunately, they had live chat late on Sunday night and explained it was extra long, which is great for a big headed guy like me.