Pottery Barn Saved Christmas With Good Customer Service

Pottery Barn rescued Reginald’s Christmas gift from the clutches of incompetent delivery people who forgot to hand over all the pieces to his Lawyer’s Bar & Hutch. Reginald was fuming, ready to tell Pottery Barn that he would never shop with them again—but then he spoke to Jim.

Reginald writes:

For Christmas, my wife bought me a lawyer bar hutch (Order XXXXXXXXXXXXXX). She also paid extra for delivery and setup.

The delivery company scheduled the delivery for between noon and 2 p.m. on 2007-12-26. I planned my day (including re-scheduling a family event) so that I could wait for the deliverers.

When I arrived home at noon on 2007-12-26, I learned that the deliverers had dropped off the piece 45 minutes earlier (and it was just pure luck that someone happened to be there to open the door for them). Furthermore, the setup was incomplete.

Needless to say, I was fuming. I called the Pottery Barn number that I had. The call service representative was nice, but apparently this particular call center did not handle this type of issue. She gave me a phone number in case I was disconnected, and of course, I was disconnected.

Unsurprisingly, I was livid and at that moment frankly not someone from whom you’d want to get a service call. Fortunately, I reached Jim. He was polite, sympathetic, and seemed generally concerned about my situation. More importantly, though, he solved my problem: He quickly reached the delivery company and had them return to complete the setup later that day.

What Jim did was great service. Then he provided stellar service. He followed up. He called me to make sure the deliverers had properly set up the bar. He also sent a gift card to compensate me for the inconvenience.

Too many companies view call centers as just cost centers and neither empower nor adequately pay their customer service representatives. But that kind of thinking is counterproductive in the long term: Every company makes mistakes, but great companies fix their mistakes and turn potentially disgruntled customers into their ambassadors.

And Pottery Barn, through Jim, showed me that it was a great company. Before this incident, I was ambivalent about Pottery Barn. The millions the company spent on advertising were mostly lost on me. Before speaking with Jim (and after the deliverers’ mistake), I despised Pottery Barn. I planned on telling everyone in the world about how Pottery Barn ruined my Christmas. Then Jim intervened. I hate to sound so fawning, but not only did he defuse the situation, he solved it. I now will tell everyone how great Pottery Barn is.

I would like to thank Jim for his help. I also hope Pottery Barn shows Jim its thanks.


Great customer service can save more than customers. It can save Christmas, too. Great work, Jim!