The Hole in Some of the Parts

Today I completed my first online purchase / in-store return at Saks. I was excited to try out their omni-channel experience. And the website made it sound easy: present the merchandise to an associate at any Saks Fifth Avenue.

I kind of overshopped, and my return was spread across three unwieldy boxes which I maneuvered through the store’s front door. I was hoping (as is the case at Nordstrom) that I could go directly to a customer service desk and unload them.
Greeter: “Unfortunately, we don’t have a customer service desk. Please go to 2nd floor dresses.”

Second floor associate: “No, you’ll have to go to the 4th floor to return those items.”

The maze of unconnected escalators meant I needed to wrestle my boxes through all of the high-end designer clothing on the second and third floors. It made me feel uncomfortable.

When I asked the fourth floor associate why I couldn’t return my items on the second floor, she said, “Anyone could have helped you. They were just being lazy.”

Saks aims for a seamless omni-channel experience. I was excited that they had one in place. Unfortunately, it was ruined by the lack of a convenient customer service desk and that second floor sales associate who didn’t recognize the importance of her individual role.

A user experience is only as good as each of the people and parts that comprise it. Each person involved needs to understand that.