Yankee Candle Too Swamped To Answer Phone, Sends Free Candle Instead

Is a company that goes the extra mile to fix their own error during the key holiday season really going “above and beyond”? I would have to say “no,” but Robin was still impressed with the way that Yankee Candle handled an error they made with her order. Except for how they wouldn’t have had to send a replacement item had anyone been available to answer the phone when Robin called.

This is actually a compliment to Yankee Candle’s customer service, although problems there cost the company extra money.

I ordered a gift set for a friend, who emailed me when she got it, wondering if I had sent it. It seemed to her like a gift I would send, but the gift tag said the gift was from someone she’d never heard of. I went online to check my account, and saw that Yankee had already realized their mistake and not only re-sent the gift tag, but also sent a whole new gift!

I called and waited on hold forever, twice made it to the ringing right before a live person might pick up, and was disconnected both times. I called a third time and selected the option to be called back, which of course never happened. So while Yankee caught their own mistake and fixed it (by Christmas Eve) –they could have save themselves the cost of shipping another whole gift set if they would have just called me back.

Retail call volume is maddening in the pre-Christmas runup, so it’s not surprising that Yankee found it more efficient to mail out a new package instead of calling Robin. We simple consumers just don’t understand. And in the end: woo-hoo! Free candle!


Edit Your Comment

  1. Omali says:

    Cost of candle + shipping to satisfy a customer: $10?
    Cost of hiring another person to take calls: Far more than $10.

    I can see why they’d choose the former.

    • AngryK9 says:

      Agreed. This may be a “compliment” but it seems to have quite a presumptuous tone. I can’t imagine there being anything in the company’s charter saying that someone *must* be available at all times to take “Robin’s” phone call.

      • mmmsoap says:

        Seems pretty reasonable to me to expect that, if you call during a company’s posted hours, you’ll get through to a person eventually. Didn’t sound like Robin wanted someone available at all times, just someone available at all….not a crazy expectation for someone willing to call 3 times total.

    • suez says:

      It happened to work out in the customer’s favor this time, but if it hadn’t…

      Cost of losing a customer? Pricessless!

    • Jevia says:

      True. But what if Yankee Candle had 1000 customers with problems that couldn’t get through. That’s $10,000 for candles. Now if its 10000 customers, that’s $100,000 for candles. At some point, it is more efficient to hire another worker, especially if its just temporary over the holidays.

  2. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    They did fine – noticed many businesses had real problems with staffing and overloaded customer lines this year. I think Yankee Candle cemented their relationship with Robin and may get more business from her in the future.

    • pawnblue says:

      Yeah, I’ve heard it’s pretty tough to find someone who wants a job. It’s no surprise that lots of businesses had problems with finding people to provide customer service.

    • Jevia says:

      Agreed. Unlike my problem with H&D, who failed to respond to my problem in time, then just sent an “oops, sorry we’re busy” email. No offer of anything in compensation for the error. Unlikely to get much of my business in the future.

  3. c!tizen says:

    But did the friend return the original order that was from the wrong person? Cause it’s not hers and if she didn’t then that’s like stealing and she should burn in a fiery (Yankee candle scented) pit of shame for all eternity while the rest of us moral and ethical holy rollers point and laugh and pat each other on the back for being so awesome.


  4. Rachacha says:

    I have heard talks from companies where they spill all of their mistakes (We screwed up, and here is our story, so hopefully you don’t make the same mistakes). Often times, mistakes are simply a collection of errors that happen all at the same time. This one story that I recall was with a company that was experiencing unprecedented growth, launching a new product line and rolling out a new customer service software application. Long story short, the new software was failing, despite all of the previous beta testing, manufacturing and shipping could not keep up with demand, and no one was getting their orders. Their call center was overwhelmed, so they added more phone lines so that people would at least be in the que on hold rather than getting a busy signal. They tried to bring in some temps to man the phones as well, but they were not trained well, so they were of little use, and call times were averaging 3-4 hours. The company knew that they had #^$*&@ed up and they were able to to make it right with their customers by contacting as many of them as possible via E-mail apoligizing for the error and offering free products on a future purchase. They changed their “on hold” message to explain that they were having problems fulfilling orders and what was being done to rectify the situation. They reimbursed all shipping and handling charges, and with every shippment threw in a free product to compliment the original order along with a bunch of coupons. The mistake cost them millions of dollars, but they came through in the end with a loyal customer base and sales continued to soar. they learned from their mistakes and what worked/what didn’t work.

    The OP received a free candle and told her story to a major web site, and I am sure, shared her story with a few friends. While the company may have lost $10 sending a second candle, they gained hundreds or thousands of dollars in free advertising and goodwill and likely have made the OP a loyal customer.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      I was thinking of replacing a couple jar candles I used up during the holidays, and couldn’t decide whether to go PartyLite or Yankee Candle, since I like both. (The friend who was selling PartyLite quit, so it wasn’t a question of not patronizing a friend’s “business”). I went with Yankee, partly because of this post and partly because of the 10 off 25 deal.

  5. teke367 says:

    Hmm, usually a company messes up, then “fixes things” by going the extra mile to satisfy a customer. This time, the company went the extra mile unprovoked, then “messes things up” after the fact.

  6. jimmyhl says:

    If the OP’s happy then I’m happy, but……that’s not really service, is it? The company is throwing money at a problem it prefers not to fix. I’m still a dinosaur who wants to talk to the people I do business with when a service issue comes up.

  7. Red Cat Linux says:

    Yankee Candle has some of the best customer service. They don’t quibble about replacements. If you have a product that doesn’t work, bring it back. They replace them, no questions asked.

    This includes the candles themselves. I’ve seen people in the shops returning Yankee candles that were 3/4 gone with the complaint that the item burned incorrectly. They just replace them. It’s not uncommon that a mix is just wrong, and rather than squabble with the customers over it, they take the high road and get a lot of return business.

  8. Hoss says:

    It’s hard to figure out what the complaint is here. Yankee Candle is a truly outstanding organization (a real rags to riches story) with a high quality product line.

    • jimmyhl says:

      I think the complaint is that they don’t answer telephone calls from customers who call the number that they give out to customers who want to discuss business matters with the company.

  9. JackieEggs says:

    While I’ve never had to call Yankee Candle, I do like their products.

    What I dislike is the residual taste of their products floating through the air and flavoring whatever I might be eating/drinking at the time of it’s use…

    What gives with that?

    • bluejena says:

      It has to do with your particular biology and how smell and taste function. Not really Yankee Candle’s fault, other than having a good saturated scent in their products.

  10. clickable says:

    $10 was not only the cost of satisfying a customer. That $10 bought them more goodwill than any formal advertising campaign costing tens of thousands of dollars.

    Smart company is smart.