Rebecca Minkoff experienced some major problems with late shipments and poor customer service this holiday season, and the company is working to fix the situation.
Minkoff, cofounder and creative director, posted an apology on Facebook and Instagram Friday afternoon saying she was “horrified to hear/see/read” from a number of loyal and vocal customers that the company let them down this holiday. “I’m sorry,” she wrote.
The designer blamed the late shipments and problems filling orders on a new third-party warehouse facility. “It has become increasingly clear that our new partner hasn’t kept up with our expectations, their contractual commitments, or our peak season customer demand,” she wrote. “We and they are working around the clock to identify and resolve open orders. We’re working with them to identify a solution to make sure that we have the opportunity to earn back our most valuable asset, the trust and support of our most loyal customers.”
WWD reached out to the company on Tuesday to see what steps they were taking to address the problems. Uri Minkoff, cofounder and chief executive officer of Minkoff, said, “We met with our distribution partner just before the holidays. We’re meeting again later this week. Although they have assured us that the holiday backlog has been resolved, we are reserving the right to exit the relationship if we aren’t satisfied with the resolution of this situation.”
“We believe most problems resulted from their failure to allocate sufficient resources to meet peak demand. We are investigating whether we were also affected by shipping/carrier error and/or delays,” he added. The company started working with the new warehouse in early 2017. He said the company has been monitoring the situation daily and working extra hours to address customer service issues.
Asked how customers will be accommodated, he replied, “In the past, when we have had warehouse issues, we have sent affected consumers complimentary gifts. However, our primary focus right now is ensuring that all of our customers receive all of the items they have ordered, and then making sure that these problems will not reoccur. We’ve added third-party customer service consultants into the mix to help us quickly address any remaining open issues.”
Interestingly, Minkoff built her 13-year-old brand on directly engaging with online consumers. The company has embraced technology such as using smart dressing rooms in its stores and selling connected clothing and accessories.
Numerous customers complained on Instagram and Facebook that their shipments didn’t arrive on time; that they couldn’t get in touch with customer service (no one picked up the phone); e-mails weren’t being responded to; refunds hadn’t arrived in a timely fashion, and orders were cancelled weeks later because items were out of stock. Some people weighed in with positive comments and said they appreciated Minkoff’s honesty. “Transparency and an honest apology works. Well done!” posted Julie Vargo.
But one customer wrote that it’s been “absolutely impossible” to get hold of anyone to resolve an issue, and others complained about similar problems trying to get a refund. Aneta Borroughs posted: “My 12/18/17 order is missing. My card has been charged, shipping info provided but no tracking info available almost a month later. No one is ever picking up the phone and no [one] returns phone calls or orders. As much as I like your bags, I really have to reconsider.”
Beth Campbell posted: “Your products and brand are completely let down by your nonexistent customer service and your mediocre attempt at an apology. Get your act together before you burn your brand to the ground.”
Andrea D. Rusnak wrote, “This is good news as we waited over 4 1/2 months for a bag that we ordered that was damaged. We returned it to get it fixed since it sold out online. When I inquired about when I would get it back I was told they didn’t have any packing tape to return it to me and that is why it took so long. I really scratched my head and couldn’t believe that this is the kind of service that Rebecca Minkoff would expect their customers to receive.”
In October, the company moved its web site to a new back-end system designed to be faster and more responsive. “So far, that project has exceeded our expectations,” Rebecca Minkoff wrote in her apology. As reported, Minkoff switched to Shopify Plus, which is geared toward mobile first and integrates social and mobile pay platforms such as Apple Pay and Alipay.