ROMEOVILLE, ILLINOIS -- The following is the letter I sent directly to the senior management at Ulta.com, Chuck Rubin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I was an Ulta customer until today. Briefly, on Friday I ordered a 100 dollar gift card for my daughter's 20th birthday tomorrow. I paid for expedited shipping because I had to be sure it arrived on time. My daughter is a college student on her own and too far away and Ulta is, or was, a favorite of hers. The gift card was meant to mark a special birthday at a special time in her life. She never received it.
I am not sure if you realize that your products aren't just functional, they sometimes carry weightier significance and that was certainly the case for this particular purchase. Nor am I sure you how important it is that some orders arrive on time, in the case of birthdays and other special events. (What is the point of offering expedited shipping?)
I called Ulta last night, expressed my situation and received a wooden response. I asked to speak with a supervisor and was told that would be impossible. I called again this morning since there is still time to make this right--the birthday is tomorrow and we're only talking about a simple gift card that can easily be slipped into an envelope and shipped overnight. The hold wait was so long that I actually had the time to Google "Ulta complaints" and read through hundreds of comments from unhappy customers and many of these complaints were strikingly similar to my own. Expedited shipping fees. Still nothing. No tracking available for gift cards. Orders that remained in the purgatory of "still processing." Terrible customer service.
And as I waited on hold, I reflected on the remarkable customer service difference between Ulta and Zappos, a company so successful that its founder teaches customer service to other companies and organizations. (It should go without saying that Ulta might consider inviting him to corporate offices for a seminar. Or two.) I also reflected on what impact it might have if Ulta investors, or prospective investors, could read through printed out pages and pages of the complaints I found online.
Eventually, someone picked up my call, but not until the muzak was interrupted by a recorded voice suggesting I download that same unbearable muzak. That's right: after waiting on hold interminably, you folks then had the chutzpah to hawk your own muzak. Seriously?
Finally, a CSR got on the line and tried, given extremely limited resources, to help me. I could hear her shuffling through scripts while I attempted to explain the urgency and uniqueness of my situation...sick daughter... birthday tomorrow...expedited shipping... And then, unfortunately, I began to cry. If you're a father you may know the stress of a sick child. I couldn't help myself. I apologized. To her credit, she tried to console me. But she, too, had limited resources available to her. She said she would send my request to "corporate" marked urgent/critical. And she told me that things really do get better with time, and wished me luck with my daughter.
So what's left for me to do? Pray that by some miracle my request makes it through the layers of bureaucracy and a girl who turns 20 tomorrow gets the birthday gift I promised her. I can also search for the email of the head of Ulta and hope this letter actually reaches him. My advice to other Ulta customers. Don't order anything online.
I ordered several items via Ulta.com, but due to the lack of quality I returned quite a few back. Upon realizing that they had never issued a refund to my credit card account I contacted Ulta via email. I even included a copy of the UPS delivery receipt which shows that the items were received and signed for by an Ulta representative Their reply back to me was that they are sorry but it has been too long. How is that possible that a company can have my money and get their products back but then tell me that there is nothing they can do to rectify the fact that they did not issue a refund to me.
FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA -- Me and my daughter visited Ulta Store #164 in Fredericksburg, VA on 10/19/08. I purchased two hair ties for my hair. They rang up 1-penny. The cashier went to another cashier and told asked her, Is this right? She responded "She, I guess so". I was happy about the price, so when I purchased those and went to get others to purchase them. When the cashier rang me up, she began to get upset, because everything was ringing up a 1 penny. She said, "I can't believe this, I just bought one of these for my hair at Walmart last week and it was 7 dollars". She acted upset that I was getting a deal. So she said, I need to call the manager because this can't be right. She called the manager and the manager used hand held price checking devise, it also said 1 cent on the items. At this time, I was beginning to see that she didn't want me to get a deal. So she called another manager over and she said I need to call my manager, who wasn't there. She got on the phone and hung up by saying, No, you cannot have the merchandise for what they were ringing up for. She was rude and not friendly about the situation at all. I explained to her that I already had previously purchased similar types of items get a few seconds ago. She didn't want to here it and was very rude. So I left, not very happy. I get to the car and my daughter was upset because she had returned a flat Iron that cost $104.00 dollars. Her receipt said returned $94.00 dollars, they had left out the taxes of $5.00 dollars. So I returned into the store and requested them to correct the return. The cashier did the correction and as I was leaving I saw/heard the previous manager so to the cashier and say what was that all about. She had a nasty look on her face and it wasn't very professional. I turned to her and said, that's not very customer orientated and she told me, I wasn't talking about you, in a rude response. The people in that store need serious customer service training.