What is it with me and luxury goods? First, I got a wonky pair of Louboutins. Then my beloved Louis Vuitton Alma bag was scratched by a guy who wasn’t watching where he was going at a lame event Robert dragged me to against my will. And now, in London, I treated myself to a LV Keepall weekend bag to bring with me on city breaks, and they buggered up the heat stamping!
So, what happens when Louis Vuitton screws up? What can you expect in the Louis Vuitton customer service experience?
I love shopping at Louis Vuitton and I love carrying their bags. I grew up shopping at Sears and JC Penney for special occasions, and K-Mart for pretty much everything else. So going into an LV boutique and having the guy on the door say “good morning” rather than eyeing me suspiciously, and being greeted right away by friendly staff before being offered a seat and a beverage is a whole different world.
This time we were at Louis Vuitton’s London flagship store on New Bond Street… my favorite! I was just going in “to look,” as I’d done in Rome, Hamburg, and Athens. In Hamburg, I informed Robert that I needed a small dog so I could justify one of those adorable dog carriers, and in Athens, Robert finally drank the Kool-Aid and got a weekend bag of his own.
Robert sat in a comfy seat drinking coffee while I modeled prospective weekend bags. Is it too big for me? Do I look out of balance? Will I be able to fit everything I need? Will people think it’s fake? I love the brown monogram canvas, but I’d die if anyone thought I was carrying a fake!
Once I’d decided on a bag and we worked out the monogramming for the luggage tag, a big step since I went with my married initials, they whisked away the tag and brought us more drinks. Before long, our SA returned with our boxed up purchases… I’d bought Robert a toiletries bag to match his weekender, and we were on our way.
I was so happy to finally ditch the awful ancient silver wheelie bag I’d gotten as an employee Christmas gift, in favor of something a bit more stylish. So imagine my horror when I unboxed my new Louis Vuitton Keepall and discovered the upside “S”!!!!! Talk about an anticlimax!
So back to New Bond Street we went the next morning! My SA had the day off, so I explained the situation very quietly to someone else who was every bit as mortified as I knew they would be. She offered us a seat and something to drink, then the manager came to speak with us. I love that it was handled quickly and discretely, and kudos to the manager for dealing with the situation personally. So far, the Louis Vuitton customer service experience was in line with my expectations.
The guy doing the new hot stamp was very, very careful, and it looked great, except that when he compared it side by side to the original tag, the leather was about 5 shades darker! I hate being that person but having shelled out over £1,000 the day before for a bag made with leather so beautiful, it’s bought by the centimeter, that just wasn’t acceptable.
Louis Vuitton Vachetta leather is untreated and develops a patina over time. At some point, the shade of the leather trim on the bag would’ve caught up to the tag, but in the meantime, I didn’t want to be carrying around a mismatched bag! The trim on new bags and most counterfeits is a light beige; over the years, the trim on authentic bags darkens to a lovely deep honey color. Some people go to great lengths to try and maintain the light beige, but I’ve been leaving my bag in the sun to speed up the patina process.
The manager came over again, apologizing profusely. He went away, then returned with a selection of luggage tags, doing his best to find one that matched the original, and he did! Now that’s what I call service, and that’s why it’s such a joy to shop at Louis Vuitton… you can’t beat the Louis Vuitton customer service experience!
When we bought Robert’s bag in Athens, the first bag had a scratch on the leather trim. Fortunately we noticed it while still in the boutique, and the whole bag had to be thrown out! Back where I come from that would be grounds for a 20% discount, but Louis Vuitton doesn’t discount, ever. They also offered no compensation for the inconvenience of the mis-stamped luggage tag. But then again if you’re shopping at a place where they don’t bother to put price tags on things, a discount would be insulting.
So now you know what happens when a brand like Louis Vuitton screws up and what to expect from the Louis Vuitton customer service experience. Mistakes happen… and they rescued it.
I can’t fault Louis Vuitton for service, craftsmanship, or anything else, and I’m so very happy with my new bag. I’m looking forward to our many trips together, and I can’t wait for my next Louis Vuitton bag ;-)