December 15, 2020

Is Good Customer Service Forever Gone?

I have an upcoming review of the new Soap & Glory Glow Your Mind Nourishing Cleansing Balm today and it got me thinking, “What happened to good customer service?”

Ulta had listed this cleansing balm as a BHA/AHA type of product due to citrus oil in the formula. They made it seem like the cleansing balm would remove makeup and also, act as a chemical exfoliating formula of sorts as well! It was confusing to say the least. They have since updated the description but man, it drives me bonkers when they have products listed wrong.

I swear that they just have a bunch of monkeys running around an offer updating website product descriptions. You ever notice that when a new product launches sometimes the colors are listed wrong or the sizes or even the ingredients or what the product is! It drives me a little batty!

Yesterday, I was a little confused about a set I wanted to purchase from Marilyn Miglin’s website. The fragrance in the set said .7 oz and the bottle looked like 1.7 oz but I was really puzzling over it for a while. Was it 1.7 oz? Wasn’t it? I called customer service and wow! Just WOW! Obviously they don’t have a bunch of monkeys running around that office because they instantly knew that the bottle was 1.7 oz and offered to compensate me with a free gift because of the error and within minutes they adjusted the error on their website. Talk about freaking outstanding customer service. I actually felt bad because I didn’t get a chance to place the order by phone because I was working at the time and my office line was ringing so I had to rush them off the phone to get to it. But if you’re listening well done Marilyn Miglin’s customer service team! Well done!

I swear if this happened at Ulta or Sephora I’d get some dumb reply and the issue would have never been resolved and I’d be over here still wondering if the bottle was .7 or 1.7 oz. What happened to good customer service?

I think a lot reasons I shop online is customer service. I’ve actually come to the conclusion it’s a New York thing. People that live in New York and work retail just don’t care about providing good customer service. It’s sort of rare to walk into a store where sales reps know what they are talking about, can answer your questions, know where to find something, and don’t take on a deer in headlights look when you need something from them. I mean, have you ever walked into a store and asked where you can located something simple like Crazy Glue only to have someone tell you they aren’t sure or to send you to aisle four and there’s no Crazy Glue there but auto parts? I think the stereotype that New Yorkers are all rude is a false one. I think we come together when we need to. I think we’re a pleasant enough sort of folk but sometimes we are so busy we appear ruder than we are. However, retail is all about the rude in New York. That being said I appreciate what retail workers do! It’s a hard, stressful job that’s terribly exhausting and one crappy customer can really bring down your entire day. But I still stand by the fact that customer service just isn’t that great anymore and hasn’t been for many years now.

What do you think?

Is customer service great, good, or just plain bad where you live?

Do share!


About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Michelle

    Yeah it’s pretty much like that here in Boca Raton, FL. Although there are a lot of native New Yorkers down here (like me), maybe that’s why.

    • Isabella Muse

      LOL! I love the way you said it’s because it’s a bunch of native New Yorkers ;-D We just don’t know how to do customer service haha!

  • Michelle Luna

    I live in central MA and yup, it’s like that everywhere, in retail, fast food, and regular food service. Nobody knows a gotdamn thing and everyone’s all “not my department/not my job” about everything. To be fair, people expect the guy working in plumbing at Lowe’s to be a plumber, and that’s a silly expectation, but still, yeah, a much too large majority of workers just don’t have the ethic for good customer service.

    • Isabella Muse

      yup. you nailed it. I def don’t expect anyone to know everything and if they don’t that’s ok but don’t just walk away from me when I ask for something maybe direct me to someone that does know? CS is just a thing of the past sadly 🙁

  • Kimmwc03

    I think it depends on the store and the time of year where I live. Most of the people at the stores I frequent know me by name (or at least recognize me) so I get good customer service unless they are busy. Right now, there are crowds and the virus worries so things aren’t as friendly. Plus, new people get hired as temp workers around this time of year. The only places I tend to expect bad service are Target and Walmart (and, honestly, I’ve had much better experiences at Walmart than Target).

    • Terri

      This is a subject near and dear to my heart! I have been working in Guest Services, Fan Services, and Customer Service in Los Angeles for the past 2 years. I am 61 and found myself getting aged out of many jobs – but – people seem to have realized that a certain generation has no skill set in this area. I am so happy to work at all the sporting events and concerts, it’s great!
      Even right now I am working a holiday drive-thru event and my co-workers under a certain age are just complaining about having to stand up and stay off their phones….

      • Isabella Muse

        Please don’t take offense Terri but it’s your age that makes you great at your job. You have a completely different mine set, set of values, and work ethic than a younger person does. I find anyone in the sales field that is older definitely pays attention more when addressing them, they know more when you question them about something, and they care enough to show you where something is or offer to find it for you! I do not get that level of service from someone younger. It’s just such a different generation. I don’t consider you old nor do I consider myself old but sometimes I find I can’t relate to anyone under 40 at all lately! It makes me feel ancient lol!

        • Terri

          No offense taken! That’s exactly my point! Sadly, it’s a lost art.
          It’s particularly annoying to me right now, when many of us have had our jobs shut down for 8 months and WANT to work.

          • Isabella Muse

            It really is. It feels like no one cares about their job! Doesn’t matter what field it is! I mean, I had to call my cable company the other day and I can’t even believe how many times they transferred me for a really simple question. No one had any clue what to tell me. How in the world do you get this job without knowing WTH you’re doing? It’s any field really. Credit card companies, retail, food servers, even the post office, people are just really bad at what they do. I’ve always put all my effort into what I do. I may not do it perfect but I know I try hard and I do it to the best of my ability. That goes from the time in my teens/collage years when I worked at CVS, a fabric/craft store/ and other retail jobs as well as in my adulthood at more professional jobs. It’s crazy how so little anyone cares about their work. The shut downs sucks sigh 🙁 I get the need for them but it really does kill so many businesses but most importantly puts people out of work!

          • Jennifer F

            Hi Teri & Isabella,

            Just wanted to join your conversation on customer service…

            One of my first jobs was at Williams Sonoma. I worked in their customer service/order taking department. The entire first two weeks on the job was customer service training and product information classes. You learned how to give your customer world class customer service and you learned EVERYTHING about each item that was sold in the company. Every time there was a new season, there were new training class on the products. That company cared about their employees, took pride in their excellent customer service and, most importantly, respected their customers.

            I think the whole idea of customer service comes from the top. Treat your employees well, instill pride of ownership in the job they do and the company they represent and reward them for their efforts. It’s a mindset that should be emulated by everyone not just in retail companies.

            P. S. I was trained by a generation of wonderful people like Teri and I went on to train other people in customer service.

          • Isabella Muse

            Hey Jennifer!!!!!!!!!! My favorite instagrammer 🙂 Williams Sonoma is actually one of my favorite places to shop both in store and online! they really do excel at customer service BUT that as you explained in your comment they actually know what they are selling. They remind me of Trader Joe workers! You go to Trader Joe and you can describe something and not know the name of it and be like “It’s a sauce and it has pine nuts in it” and the Trader Joe employee instantly knows what you’re talking about. That’s how Williams Sonoma sales reps are. They know exactly what you need, how to use it, etc…! so i burn boiling water but I’m a foodie and I like the idea of learning about food and how to make it and their classes are incredible. They always take such time out to detail everything and make sure you’re understanding how to do something. Def a big chef’s kiss for Williams Sonoma no doubt ;-D

      • kjh

        Nothing irks me more than the cashier hopping on the phone while I do the card bit. I want to kick the phone away and then aim for her/his teeth.

        • Isabella Muse

          LOL! It’s sort of sad that our phone has become an extension to our arms!

    • MDW

      I’m still too scared to walk into a LUSH store. Their business model confuses good customer service with cloying, sickly sticky, neediness.

  • Jane

    Here in the upper Midwest, customer service is usually pretty friendly and knowledgeable as a rule, but I can’t help but wonder if it were better paid and respected if people wouldn’t stick around longer and work harder at it. Most retail jobs are ones a person is expected to float through almost temporarily, and companies sure treat their staff that way (to say nothing about how customers treat people. It’s awful). I haven’t worked in retail and hope never to have to again just because low pay + no respect from business or customers = no hugging way.

    • Erica

      I agree – I am a fellow upper mid-westerner and almost always have good customer service experiences where I live. But I really think it is regional – when I have traveled to different parts of the country, I definitely noticed less of the midwestern-nice than I am used to at home. I actually had some pretty terrific customer service in New York though – but it was mostly doing tourist-y things. It’s funny, I still complain to my hubby about our Disney World customer service- after all the happiest-place-on-earth hype I expected more, but found the hotel/restaurant/shop staff interactions to be only okay.

      • Isabella Muse

        Where in the mid-west? I know trips to Chicago and many of the stores on the mile are pretty great which surprised me as I consider Chicago a lot like New York but the service does come across much better! I think Disneyland is always a better experience hotel/shop/restaurant-wise. Disneyland folks just always seem really helpful but I’ve run across worker’s at disney world that are just out and out rude! 🙁

  • kjh

    I was begged to go back to my low end retail night job, because the new applicants were no call/no show before they even started. What does that tell you about MWJ workers? I had quit over the store not insisting on state Covid mandates. I relented after being assured I could ask everyone to distance, pull up the mask, etc. I think many to most customers appreciate the older worker’s attitudes and style of interaction. Since cards are prevalent, we see customer’s names. I learn them, greet them by name and inquire after the relevant family, etc. Being able to pronounce a customer’s name, when you cannot speak the language goes a long way. Once I addressed a beautiful Nigerian woman by name…eight syllables. She cried. Literally. Then I asked her if the name was Yoruba or Igbo, and she totally lost it. Grabbed my hands (pre-Covid, obvs ) and said ‘I cannot believe you care enough to learn about my country.’ I know very little, but I know how to make people feel valued. I’m 72. 2 jobs, 3 masters. The older workers work like border collies and the younger workers mostly lean against something and look at the phone. What bothers me is that they have no idea that their behavior is rude, because it’s the norm, tolerated, even expected.

    • Isabella Muse

      older works are the best. They have my dad’s work ethic and his is flawless! So yup, if you get someone older helping you out you know it’s going to be a five star experience! It isn’t to say you don’t run across someone younger who is great too but it is rarer. That’s so beautiful! oh my gosh! I’m also one that tries to call people by their name! I always ask about my client’s families and I know their first, last name, and everything about their policies without the need for a computer. I also always address anyone at the supermarket or the post office or Target by the name on their tags because hello? They are people too! I think it goes a long way when someone rings up your groceries and you say thanks Jane or Thanks Joe after reading their name tag. I always get a smile when I take note of a person’s name and address them personally! I don’t know a lot either but I def know how to treat someone and I have a good work ethic!

      • kjh

        You couldn’t call me by name, because I really don’t want anyone to know it…though many to most regulars do. I covered my name with a black and tan dachshund sticker. Know my dog, know me.

    • Jennifer F

      You are PRICELESS!! I would have never let you walk away from my team! I would have done anything to keep you and keep you safe. True kindness (not the kind driven by commissions) is SO rare these days.

  • Daphne B

    I totally agree with you on customer service. But it is not the only problem – the brick and mortar stores simply don’t stock enough product, and there stores look terrible – looking at you, Kroger, Target, and Walmart (these three chains in my neighborhood are Shameful!) and they would not know customer service if it smacked them in the face. Our Ulta has actually gotten better, but they were terrible for a long time. I must say though, that our nearest Sephora was a pleasure to shop in a couple of weeks ago. I went early in the morning when I knew they would be empty, and they could not have been nicer. I was buying something that they were out of, but I did not even have to go to the register – they ordered on their hand-held device and I even paid through it, so no waiting plus free shipping! I was actually glad they were out of my Inkey List serum. Stores are going to have to work alot harder if they want people to shop there and not order online, They can no longer afford to ignore customers and not take care of their stores.

    • Isabella Muse

      Ooo yes you hit the nail on the head. Before the pandemic my dad would call me constantly about how he hated looking online to see if home depot or walmart had what he was looking for because there would be a “ship to store” option and the actual product wasn’t available in the store. It drove him bats. But yes, most stock seems to have migrated online. If you want a pair of sneakers they have like two sizes in store or one color and online they’ll the same pair in fifty shades, in all sizes, and not to mention probably a cheaper price at the same exact retailer. I think this year more than any other year I realized how much of business has migrated online. I dunno if it’s pandemic related or just the way the world is moving but finding christmas lights and decor in store was extremely difficult! It was so limited! Target, walmart, no matter where you went they had very, very little Christmas decor and what was available was wiped clean right after Thanksgiving/Black Friday (they have no moved on to Valentine’s Day). Sephora has been a pretty pleasant experience lately here too! They have curb side here and I typically dislike curb side because no one comes out and you have to call twice or just walk inside and grab it but not Sephora. They have it ready to hand off to you and it’s so fuss-free! Everyone can def take a note from them!

  • kjh

    Which Marilyn? I’ve always loved Pheromone & Destiny might be my fave white floral. Over the years, I’ve had a bunch of her m/u, too. That woman has to be one of America’s best survivors.

  • Linda M

    If you want bad customer service try calling Microsoft. On the phone number the tell you they no longer take live calls so go online and try to find your answer there. Then they just hang up on you.

    • Isabella Muse

      LOL! I hear ya on Microsoft. Technical support for anything MS is a thing of the past!

  • Blue

    No one is paid a living wage for their work in the service industry anymore and haven’t in a good while. Companies cycle through workers on purpose to maintain a high profit margin. Why would a person be good at a job if the job is exploiting them for profit? No one owes a company or customer loyalty or good service if they aren’t being payed well for it or treated like an actual human being. There’s also a pandemic on and people are being forced to work and risk getting a virus that maims at least half the people who get it, or die choking on their own lungs, or starve and be homeless, while almost every person in a position to help them is busy counting their money at home safe and sound or passing legislation to protect the corporations liable for deaths. Practically every person working in the service industry is being exploited right now. Good customer service will only exist when people have a living wage, universal healthcare, actual unions, and aren’t forced by a psychopathic ruling class to work in the most deadly pandemic this earth has seen in a long time.

    • Terri

      Sorry, but when you’re being paid over $20 an hour and can’t stand on your feet and stay off your phone for a 5 hour shift you are just lazy.
      Two gals I was working with quit yesterday because they were told no more sitting or phones….
      This is a FUN, month long event!

      • Isabella Muse

        I’ve worked minimum wage jobs and I’ve always put my best foot forward with them and acted like they were paying me $200 an hour. My dad always ALWAYS told us to work hard no matter what job we were doing and I truly believe it pays off in the end but not everyone believes that.

        • Jennifer F

          I was the same way!! It reflects back to you as a person!
          Karma too…I believe in that too but it’s just not that…just be kind, it’s something simple that could make someone’s day be a little better. You don’t know what others are going through.

          • Isabella Muse

            AGREED 100%! A small smile or a nice gesture is all it takes to make someone’s day!

    • Jess

      I agree with Blue. A lot of the comments here are very uncomfortable to read as a people-facing worker. This “pull yourselves up by the bootstraps/youngins are so lazy” stuff is weird and not attractive. :/

      • Isabella Muse

        it’s def not all about young people although it does sound like that! I do think that older SAs do come across better in terms of knowledge and customer care. It really all depends though on the store, the items being sold, etc…For example, there’s anthropologie at my mall and most everyone there is around 17-22 years at best but they are all SO amazing. Very helpful, always smiling and greeting people, never aggressive. I think it def depends. I’m sorry, I def didn’t want to just single out one age group in particular but it did sort of turn into that! Please don’t take offense!

  • Eileen

    This isn’t exactly beauty related but if you are looking for socks, Bombas has outstanding Customer Service. They are a little more expensive but hold up well and can be exchanged or replaced at no cost to you. For each pair purchased they donate a pair. And they do answer their phones. All kinds of socks for for women, men and children.

    • Isabella Muse

      Thanks Eileen! Never tried them but knowing they have good CS is reason to give them a whirl!

  • Swoozy

    I will say Nordstrom is uniformly awesome, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at my local Target and local home improvement stores. They almost always know the whole store to the aisle number or will look something up if they don’t. It may not be the friendliest experience, but they’re probably getting paid not great wages and I appreciate at least being told the right information I need.

    • Isabella Muse

      I always get fairly good CS at nordstrom as well! They do go out of their way to help! I wish I can same the same for home improvement here but both lowes and home depot are horrifying here!

  • Randi Macdonald

    I live in California, retail customer service is great here. When we go to Florida on vacation, customer service sucks. Both in restaurants and stores. I figure its because almost everyone in S. Florida is from NY. LOL

  • Shelly

    I retired from a CU in MI. We subscribed to outstanding member (customer) service! We had our own Mission statement and we reviewed on how we incorporated it into our daily interactions. I was a branch manager for 17 years and we let everyone know “if you want to be here, you should be welcoming every single person that comes through the door.” Now that I’m retired, boy, I really notice good/bad service :). When I see good service, I tell the person and also send an email to their corporate office. Once in a great while I do the same with bad service (not always because everyone has a bad day now and then.) I love people who are passionate about their work!

    • Isabella Muse

      There aren’t people around like you anymore Shelly! If I get great service I always take time out to ask the person’s name and I email or call the company telling them about the person that helped me. Two years ago, I took my dog to get her photo with Santa and it’s always a fun experience but that year happened to be EXTRA good. The elves that were helping santa were ridiculously brilliant! They loved my dog so much they took a pic with all of us together and gave it to me free LOL! It was just a really beautiful experience. They were so friendly and amazing with everyone. It took a bit of work but I managed to track down the place that hired them and explained how amazing they were at their job. I went back a few weeks later and gave them all gift cards to Starbucks. I wish everyone in customer service was like that!

  • Jennifer F

    One more comment…
    I’m from San Francisco but went to school in NYC. My first impression of NYC: it was big, people were all in a hurry and very brusque to the point of rude and uncaring…or so I thought.

    My first day or two in NYC, I walked into a busy Chase Manhattan Bank to open an account. When the lady found out I was all alone in NYC (I was 19 but I looked much younger), she took time out of her day to give me the lowdown of all the tricky ways people would try to mug me on the street! She told me if I needed anything to come back and look for her. THAT’S customer service!! LOL!

    • Isabella Muse

      We’re ALL in a hurry and we’re all always busy which translated others as oh my gosh new yorkers are rude 🙂 but the lady you spoke to sounds exactly like a New Yorker and what a New Yorker would do! New Yorkers have big ass hearts given the chance 😀 She sounds incredible ;-D That’s def some grade A CS lol! I hope you enjoyed your time here while at school and adapted to our bustling lifestyle;D

      • Jennifer F

        I LOVED NY and dated a New Yorker long distance for many years.
        I LOVE New Yorkers and feel like an honorary one from my many years of flying there for visits and for work (fashion and beauty jobs). I think when the poop hits the fan another New Yorker will have your back!

  • Hannah Mary

    I totally feel you!

    I had the weirdest issue at my Ulta recently. I had purchased the mini Nars RCC ($13) and when I got home I realized what a terrible deal it was for the amount and price. So the next day I went back and exchanged the unused mini for the full size ($30). Well I don’t know why I didn’t just get the shade I use in the Soft Matte, but needless to say the shade didn’t work out for me. I went to return it and they say, “okay you are getting $17 back on your card.” So I go, “what about the other $13?” And the girl explains that I used that $13 from returning the mini to purchase the full size. And I explained that yes I did and I am now returning said full size and should get all the money that was used to purchase it back, not just the extra I paid during the exchange. We went back and forth a few times and she calls a manager over and explains the situation and the manager just repeats what the girl said she told me. So I just say “okay I must just be doing the math wrong”. So put in my card to finish the return and she looks at her screen and goes, “oh I see what you meant about the $13 now. I guess we do owe you that but you are getting it as a gift card.” I decided not to ask why I wouldn’t get it back on my original form of payment, but she didn’t even apologize for this whole ordeal and treating me like I was in the wrong the whole time. On the contrary, I apologized to her because I am just one of those people who says sorry all the time.

    Sorry for that long comment. Lol. Just needed to get it off my chest. I mean am I just being silly or does it seem obvious that if you are returning a $30 item that you get all $30 back? Crazy.

    • Isabella Muse

      LOL OMG THAT CONFUSED ME BECAUSE I’m TIRED! But after reading it twice now I got it ha! I’m the type of person that says sorry a lot too lol! Even when I’m right! I’m just not really an aggressive person so yeah, not good because people step all over us right? I had my first bad experience with Ulta recently. I’ve always had good CS from Ulta but back in September I got pretty pissed off with them. I had purchased two candles online and they arrived smashed. They really packed them poorly. I called up and was told they would have to get a manager to look into it. I offered to take photos of the damage and I asked they just send me the exact same candles back but nope, they needed a manager. Took a few days but the manager contacted me via email and told me they were looking into it. I wrote her back and explained again that I could take pictures and if she can just send out the two candles that broke. Big no on that request again. Ok, fine. Waited a few more days and my claim had to be escalated to a supervisor. wow three people involved in one simple problem. Several more days go by get an email from them saying ok, go bring the candles to Ulta and they’ll give you a gift card to purchase the candles online (they aren’t available in stores). I was like, well, it’s sort of dangerous it’s a lot of glass! Sorry, you gotta bring it back into the store. Ok, will do. Bring it to the store, sales reps looks at me like I’m insane for bringing her a big box of glass, she proceeds to cut herself (thankfully a small cut) while trying to scan them for the return. This is why I didn’t want to bring them back to the store duhhhhhhh! Got the gift card and guess what? DIDN’T use it on candles anyway as I was concerned the second batch would be broke and I’d have to go through the entire weird ass process again. I hate when stores treat me like a criminal for trying to make a valid return of exchange. What in the world!

      • Hannah Mary

        Omg that is so annoying. Way to make you jump thru hoops! If you bought them online it makes no sense they made you go to the store instead of handling it online with photos. I get that people do exploit the return policy and maybe lie about damaged items to get their money back and the items are fine. But you offered photos to prove the damage. I literally just sent some photos off to Herbivore of a damaged bottle and they are sending me a new one. Ulta shouldn’t have made it so hard!

        • Isabella Muse

          right? I felt like a criminal! I actually didn’t even mind bringing it back to the store but I had already cut myself and I was telling my boyfriend wow they really want me to bring this to the store and possibly get someone hurt? Sure enough the poor girl got a cut on her hand. It was small but STILL….! I def think people take advantage of the system and that’s what makes brands and department stores etc so wary of returns but jeez, take a look at my history and you’ll see I rarely make a return.

  • Mary

    You’re right about the decline of customer service, but thank you for recognizing Marilyn Miglin’s positive difference. I go way back with her products and service, and they’ve always bent over backwards to make customers happy. They’re a class act!

    • Isabella Muse

      They really are! I was so surprised when they updated the website that fast! That’s truly outstanding!

  • AH

    This is part of why department stores are dying. For several years, I’ve only shopped at Nordstrom, because it’s the last department store where you still get polite, knowledgeable, and helpful sales associates.

    I think a lot of companies believe they can just train indifferent people to read from a script and call that “customer service”.

  • Susan Lambert

    I’m so glad you brought up this topic. Here are two recent opposite examples. My cart at Skinstore is at $48.75, only 25 cents shy of the $49 required for free shipping. Shipping is $7 so I tried to find an inexpensive product to add to the cart, but the cheapest thing was $3.50 and I didn’t need it. So I wrote to customer service asking if they could give me free shipping since I was so close. They wrote back that they would not do anything for me. On the extreme is Deva Curl. I wrote to them because I couldn’t figure out how to open their pump bottle of conditioner. Instead of replying by e-mail a rep called me, walked me through the process while I was on the phone with her and then offered me a free product of my choice, including free shipping. The free product arrived a few days later. I couldn’t believe how nice she was. It was like taking with a friend. She should get an award for the best customer service ever!

    • Isabella Muse

      AMAZING! That’s the kind of CS I like to see!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!