Fragrance Friday: Excellent Customer Service

Facebook Fragrance Friends recently posted the question: where have members received excellent customer service when trying/buying fragrance? I thought that was a great question and it offers the opportunity to articulate the positive instead of dwelling on the negative. While I appreciate comments that warn about particularly bad experiences, I also value (maybe even more) fellow fragrance-lovers’ input on particularly good ones; and I also like to give a shout-out to the folks who extend themselves to make a customer’s experience as pleasant as possible. So here is my random list, in no particular order, and I apologize in advance if I’ve left anyone or any place out! I’ll do another post on customer service online, and outside the US.

In-person experiences in the US:

Neiman Marcus. It may be partly because I live in the South, though I’m not a native Southerner, and it really is true that Southerners seem to take a little more time and extend a little more warmth and courtesy with customers. Not all of them, and not all the time, but overall this is true to my experience, including at a large store like Neiman Marcus. I go to the one in my city occasionally; without exception, the sales associates in their large, top-of-the line fragrance department have been courteous, helpful, enthusiastic but never pushy about offering various fragrances to try even when I have said candidly that I was just browsing, or they didn’t have what I originally wanted. Several have been very knowledgeable, not just about a couple of the brands they carry, but about fragrance generally. All have been kind, and usually able and willing to offer small samples. If I were wholly devoted to a high-end house that is rarely available online, I would absolutely develop a relationship with one of its sales associates at NM.

Scent Bar. Such a fun boutique to visit! On my one and only visit to LA, a few years ago, I sought it out with a friend, at their first location in Hollywood. I understand they now have two locations in addition to their website LuckyScent. The store has a delightful set-up, with fragrances displayed by categories on open shelves along all the walls (floral, green, spicy, etc.), fronted by a long bar-like counter. The sales associate responded knowledgeably to my interest in florals, especially lily of the valley, pulling out a wide range of fragrances for me to try, including some I had not heard of before. I ended up buying a terrific Byredo sampler and was also given several samples of the other suggestions she made. I love supporting an independent business like this, btw.

Nordstrom. This department store chain is famed for its customer service, and our local store fits the claim. It has open containers throughout the fragrance department with small, empty sample atomizers that one is invited/encouraged to fill oneself from the many testers on display. Now THAT is nice. Sales associates there have been less expert than those at NM or ScentBar, but still very helpful and courteous.

Sephora. Although service can be hit or miss, depending on the store you visit and who’s on duty that day, I have had several excellent experiences at Sephora, with enthusiastic young sales associates. What they might lack in detailed knowledge, they have compensated for by their willingness to suggest and offer samples of various fragrances, in sincere attempts to help. As a result, I’ve bought more at Sephora than I otherwise might have, because most of what’s in its stores just isn’t “me” — I don’t really experiment with make up, or use most of the products they carry.

What have others experienced that counts as excellent customer service? Praise and compliments only, please, we are dwelling on the positive in this post!

16 thoughts on “Fragrance Friday: Excellent Customer Service

  1. I also have had excellent customer service from Neiman Marcus fragrance counter. I rarely visit because I the store is not near my home and I prefer to shop from NM online; however, an appointment recently took me near NM so I stopped in and the wonderful SA spent a lot of time with me discussing our fragrance loves. He put forth great effort to show me fragrances with the notes I love and I ended up making a purchase which he had shipped to my home with generous samples. I order from Luckyscent online and visiting Scent Bar is on my wish list! I always get excellent customer service from online shops AveParfum, Twisted Lily, and DSH Essences.

  2. I adore this idea of filling your own samples and wish that other department stores would do so as well (or at least allow you to fill your OWN empty vials if you bring them!).

    Best customer service by far is Dame Perfumery. Several years ago I ordered three bottles as Christmas gifts in November. The USPS had them listed in limbo and despite repeated efforts to find where they were Dec 23rd rolled around and they were no where in sight. When I contacted Jeff via telephone he overnighted three bottles to the recipients and they received them on December 24th just in time for Christmas. Then on the 26th the original bottles showed up! When I and the recipients offered to compensate him for the double order he refused. Also, he is extraordinarily generous with his samples no matter what the size of the order. He is by far the most generous indie perfumer around. And he also makes some pretty amazing fragrances!!! I know you happen to like Black Flower Mexican Vanilla 🙂

      • I’m going to order one of the trial vials! It’s tough for me to buy a fragrance unknown but I love that there are deluxe samples to try. I think I’m going to go with Midnight Vanilla. The notes are very similar to fragrances I gravitate towards (Miss Dior, Flowerbomb, The One, Madmoiselle, Amber—I know I’m basic but I like what I like, haha).

        Dom | http://www.DivaNamedDom.com

      • Diva – I will also recommend Earth Mother which you might find similar to some of your fragrance loves you listed….the hair oil is phenomenal and I use it as an all over body moisturizer too (and you can also just apply to wrists as oil perfume)…the body creams are also great…and both come in travel sizes very reasonably priced…..with free shipping!!!

      • Do you want to hear something hilarious? I actually ordered a sample of Earth Mother too! I am SO excited to receive these in the mail. Between both of your recommendations and the About Me for the company, I was sold. How could I not try such eloquently described fragrances?!!? If I like the scents and the longevity, I will most certain grab full sizes because the 100 ml is only $85!! Thank you so much for introducing me to this brand! 💕

  3. I usually shop for fragrances at large department stores thanks to their generous samples and gifts with purchase. I must be honest, it’s usually Macy’s because I love free makeup bags, totes, or whatever else gratis comes with my fragrance purchase. Staffers are usually pretty pushy so if I browse, I need to know exactly what I want or what type of fragrance I’m looking for and don’t stop until I find it!

    I also shop a lot for fragrances at Sephora (hello reward bazaar) but it’s namely when there aren’t any gifts with purchase at Macy’s and it’s usually to replenish pieces from my collection. I’m usually never greeted, ignored, and yet, followed around the store (perks of being black 😎).

    Dom | http://www.DivaNamedDom.com

    • I’m sorry to hear you’ve had that experience, don’t know what else to say except that stinks. My Sephora is in the urban heart of a large, diverse Southern city, so they have a very diverse sales team and many diverse customers. But I can’t say that your experience doesn’t happen here, sadly.

      • Eh, I’ve worked in retail so I know how the game goes. I ignore it, but it does make for a pretty drab shopping experience. If it’s really absurd, I’m vocal about it.

        On the flip side, when someone *actually* helps me, it makes my day! Fabulous fragrance AND customer service = W I N N I N G

        Dom | http://www.DivaNamedDom.com

  4. Most of my perfume shopping (and even just browsing) experiences in the last many years were rather positive. NM, Nordstrom, Saks and Barneys – all offered everything I needed/wanted without any negativity.

  5. Pingback: February Faves – Diva Named Dom

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