Have you ever been forced to break up with your favourite brand?
It is like being cheated on in a way. You have loved them believing they loved you back. You always put them first, always believing in exchange for your loyalty they too cared about you and would have your back and then the crashing blow, you find out they don't care about you at all and you are just another one who fell for their charms.
I have been shopping in Office for a long time, first in London and then Leeds now Leicester and Highcross when it opened. Have they been around 30 years? It feels like that long. I have about 20 pairs of Office shoes in my wardrobe currently so it's definitely been a while.
My love affair with Office however is over after purchasing a pair of boots in March that after only a few wears lost much of the faux suede heel covering rendering the boots unwearable for me. I took them to my expert shoe repair planning on investing in a repair only to discover they could not be repaired. £120 boots lasting less than half a season doesn't work for me and I felt sure Office would agree my request for a replacement pair not unreasonable.
The outcome of my efforts with Office customer service which started extremely cordially was my boots went in the dustbin and after almost a month in email dialogue with Customer Service I got a wake up call about the brand I had loved and supported for three decades. After being told politely my boots were finally being looked at and I would have a response in the next day or so my wrecked boots were returned with no solution or resolution. They didn't love me as much as I loved them.
I couldn't believe this brand could be so closed off to my reasonable and genuine issue. Even when I took the time to get in touch with Brian McCluskey the Office CEO, who incidentally Office customer service suggested I Google to get his contact details, I didn't get a personal reply, (and my letter was polite and I thought constructive) just a letter from the Head of Customer service suggesting my next course of action was the Ombudsman and as far as Office were concerned my boots were not faulty and the damage I had caused myself. I had obviously hit a raw nerve mentioning how well the brand was doing and congratulating him on his massive bonus payout.
My argument, the quality of the faux suede used on the heels, not the same as that on the upper of the boot, was the cause after only a few wears to come off almost completely, was ignored and never addressed. My story of why I purchased from Office because I believed the product was great quality for a fair price and that it seemed my boot quality had been compromised in favour of cheaper components and higher profit margins was also not addressed.
Office have been doing really well of late with soaring profits and directors being paid 6.1M in bonuses according to retail magazine Drapers. I have always been a raving fan and never had any reason to complain until this. I think when any brand can afford to lose a great customer they have become too focused on profits and bonuses and have lost the connection with the most important relationship they have and will not survive this tough market where any smart business person knows every customer matters.
Ex greedy consumer and selfish capitalist
Love supporting small business and B corporations. Try hard not to over consume. Anti plastic bags, plastic bottles, fur and fast or convenience food. Gave up meat 10 years ago, working on fish, cheese, milk (given up cereal) and eggs (once a week).