1-800-Contacts: Great Customer Service or the Greatest Customer Service?

It’s not often I feel compelled to write about a customer service experience, but 1-800-Contacts is so far beyond any other company I’ve ever dealt with, I think they deserve some credit. Quick note: this all happened a couple months ago, so quotes are not exact and largely paraphrased.

I’ve been a customer of 1-800-Contacts for quite some time but never had to call them for any reason. On my latest order, I accidentally switched the prescription for my left and right eyes. It didn’t really matter as far as the order went, but I didn’t want there to be any delay, so I gave them a call to have it corrected.

The phone rang just once and then a recording started.

“Thanks for calling 1-800-Contacts, this call may be recorded…”

Except it wasn’t a recording, which became apparent upon hearing,

“… how may I help you?”

Just a single ring and I had a cheerful, happy person on the line waiting to help.

It was a short call — she added notes just to make sure there’d be no delay with the order — and that was that.

Over a week passed and my contacts still hadn’t been delivered. I looked at the tracking info, and it showed DHL had dropped them off at the USPS hub for the final delivery, but the estimated delivery date was already two days past.

I called again. One ring,

“… how may I help you?”

I explained the order hadn’t made it yet. She asked if I’d mind waiting one more day.

“When do you usually get your mail?”

“Around 10am.”

“Okay, I’ll give them a little extra time and call you around noon to see if your contacts have been delivered.”

“Yeah, sure…” I thought to myself, knowing I’d have to end up calling again to get this taken care of.

The next day rolls around and no contacts make it to my mailbox. At 12:05pm my phone rings. I don’t remember her name, but my best guess is Lindsay.

“Hi this is Lindsay with 1-800-Contacts checking to see if your contacts were delivered?”

“Thanks for calling! No, they’re still not here.”

“Shoot, okay, I’ll get a new box out today with overnight delivery. So sorry for the delay!”

The next day my new order of contacts show up and all is well. But we’re not done yet. Four days later, my original order finally shows up too. Knowing I’d get a happy person on the phone immediately and not sit on hold, I called them to let them know.

“Hi, you guys just sent me some new contacts because the original order seemed lost, but they just showed up.”

Melissa, the rep who answered, sounded flabbergasted.

“Oh my gosh, thank you SO MUCH for calling! Let me email you a return shipping label. It just makes me so happy that you let us know, your honesty totally made my day!”

Needless to say, I felt pretty good about myself. Sure, I could’ve kept them and saved $130 or so, and 1-800-Contacts had already written them off as lost. But knowing beforehand that getting ahold of someone and getting them returned would be hassle free, I didn’t hesitate to call. That, and I’m totally honest anyway. Really.

A couple weeks later I got a hand written note from Melissa in the mail, with a $25 gift certificate on my next order. Talk about the greatest customer service.

1-800-Contacts Hand Written Note


  • Summer Van Wagoner says:

    I worked there while I was pregnant with my first child. For a non-professional, it was seriously the best place to work. They take such good care of their employees, and it was so empowering to be able to do things like those gift certificates for our customers. Everyone felt a very genuine responsibility to take care of people, because that feeling was coming from the “top.” I still have all my 1-800-CONTACT paraphernalia from working there, and I love that I’m proud to have their logo on my stuff.

  • Steve Spencer says:

    I respectfully disagree. I worked at 1-800CONTACTS for almost 6 years, and was the highest performing manager for nearly 4 of those years. I volunteered for 3 years on the company’s activities committee, and volunteered for literally every charitable that the company sponsored. I was not a perfect employee, but made no glaring mistakes by any stretch of the imagination. Two days following a week off, a week I spent with family arranging the funeral for my 9 week old deceased nephew, I was laid off. No reason given, no sympathy expressed for my situation, just unceremoniously laid off. Not a single word of encouragement or support from all of my “friends” and co-workers. To this day I have no idea why it happened, but it had me unemployed for 15 months, and ushered my family to the brink of financial ruin. I pose this simple question: if a company treats it’s employees (that the company says it values above all else), then how do you think it feels about customers?

  • Anonymous says:

    I also work for this awesome company and will stop myself from commenting on the above comment but wanted to say that after leaving the company for a different job, I ended up going back because it was such a great place to work. In addition to that, it really is refreshing to be able to fix someone’s problem on the spot and make authoritative decisions without getting permission from anyone. I love making people happy and doing unexpected things to make their day. Yes, we sell contacts but what we really sell is service.

  • anonymous says:

    Not a great place to work. They try to make up for it by offering perks, but the job itself is awful. Not enough communication from marketing or managers to employees. They expect you to wing it, and then dock your bonus if you dont say what they want. Too many IT and system issues and its just not worth the headache.

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