Interesting to see Sephora Customer Service as a reviewable. Although I shop there often enough, after all, who doesn't if you use cosmetics, I find the customer service to be lacking in many respects. Why? Perhaps it's because when I walk into my local one, (its a Sephora JCP), the products that are recommended to me are always the new ones on the shelves. Not products that I'm necessarily looking for, just new products in their store. Isn't customer service about assessing the customer's needs and wants? And that's what I find lacking at the Sephora JCP's that I go to. Not the free-standing ones tho. There seems to be a difference in the way they are managed.
When I go shopping for cosmetics, I'm not there to waste my time and play with the testers. I know there are people that do that. I see it happen all the time. I go to the store to evaluate whatever product I'm currently researching for myself. The problem I seem to be encountering at the Sephora JCP's lately is dealing with SA's that have absolutely no product knowledge of anything that hasn't been stocked within the last week or so. And their product knowledge isn't that great, either. It's minimal. It seems the SA's see what's on their shelves, but have to read the labels just as their customers do. So why bother asking them for advice?
The last two times I went into one, I was sorely disappointed. I was shopping for a new BB cream. I told the SA the one I had just finished up and said I was very happy with it, but was wondering if there were any new ones comparable to it. They weren't sure, so they walked me around the store and showed me all the BB creams in stock and tested them on my hand. (I could have done that myself.) I wanted product info, not color info. I didn't want to walk around the store, either. I finally told the SA that I was going to choose my original brand, but couldn't decide between two options within that brand. I asked them to apply the BB cream to my face so I could actually feel the difference in the creams and make an accurate decision. I made my purchase and left. When I went home, I went onto the Sephora site and discovered that the brand I had just purchased had a better deal of the BB creams packaged in a set at a better price. Unfortunately, the JCP store didn't carry it. So I decided to return what I had been sold, and explained why. No biggie, they said. Sephora is great like that. But it was a waste of my time. Plus, I feel the SA should have been more aware of what the dot com site sells. After all, according to them, they're a team and they "sell Sephora all the way" as they like to say.
A few days later, the sun kit came out. As a beauty insider, I was sent the email. However, I also knew that the JCP kit was different than the actual one sold in the free-standing store or online. So I went to the store to see what the difference was. I'm standing in the store comparing the kit to what I see on my phone for the difference in price. Three times this SA comes up to me and asks me what I'm doing, can she help me, do I have any questions. I told her what I was I doing originally. I just wanted to see if the JCP one was worth the difference in price or not. I wanted to know which one to buy. She actually had no idea what I was talking about. All she could tell me about the kit was that "it was a great buy". Really? How about the products? Tell me why the kit is a great buy. I so wanted to tell her to go away and bother someone else...lol, but that would have been extremely rude and I am not that way.
I guess what I am saying is that they hire these robots to sell their products, but their programmed to say things like "it's a great buy", "other customers love that product", "you'll be so happy with it", but don't have substance to back up their statements.
The store is great because it carries products I want. The customer service...eh. I'm seeing more and more people avoid the help when I'm in there, too. There was a time when Sephora JCP SA's knew their stuff and it was a pleasurable shopping experience. Now, I much prefer going the distance and spending time at an actual free-standing Sephora. I've dealt with two JCP ones that seemed to have the same philosophy "we don't sell on commission, so we don't have to push any particular product, but then again, we don't know about any particular product either" versus the free-standing Sephora that I shop where if an SA isn't familiar with a line will get another SA that will adequately discuss it with me and point out pros and cons of whatever the products are. I have found the free-standing Sephora SA's to be knowledgable and helpful always whenever I have shopped their stores. They've been courteous, professional and friendly.
I've worked retail all my life, a number of those years in cosmetics to know how to address a customer's needs. Sadly, the JCP's come up short. The telephone reps that I've dealt with for their online site are wonderful, btw. I've only had to deal with them twice and both times they were astounding in how they handled the problem.
I gave 3 lippies for the overall rating factoring an average for all three. Sephora somehow should ascertain how they can deliver the same exacting customer service across the board for all of their delivery systems, rather than have different policies for free-standing versus SephoraJCP versus online.
eh, i think it's weak at least at the JCPENNEYS location one closest to me. they seem to be doing their own make-up or not around whenever i go in. one time i went in and asked an associate for help with getting NARS sheerflow foundation - she took forever to get to me, which is fine, but then spent 1 second with me. i ended up returning the foundation and concealer after 2 days because it looked terrible on me and the colors were wrong! when i returned it, i was still looking for a new foundation and told a different associate who i was returning my purchase to that... but she gave me attitude and didn't engage my need for a foundation when it could have possibly just been an exchange. i still go back and drop too much money there, though
PROS: I've never had a bad experience yet. Although, I would say that the customer service via the phone has been even better than in-store customer service with SA's, managers, etc. The phone reps have always been willing to help me with my order, never made me feel stupid about questions, willing to replace damaged goods, etc.
CONS: I didn't make it a "5" because sometimes the in-stores sales associates can act like they are explaining what makeup is to you, as if you've never heard of it before (some can be a little condescending that way.) Also, the wait is usually long at the register.