I feel conflicted. I don’t think I have written a negative blog post about a brand before but there is a first time for everything. For many years, I have spoken very highly of MAC Cosmetics. I like their products, love having in-store makeovers, and am a fan of their recycling program, Back to the MAC. When you return six items of primary packaging to MAC, you receive a lipstick for free as their thanks to the consumer for helping the environment. There are a lot of things about the brand that I enjoy, including their awesome assortment of eye shadow colors and a few must-have mascaras. I’m completely baffled by their customer service, though.
Let me explain. About five weeks ago, I made an appointment for makeup application at a MAC store because I was having a photo session (with the talented Michael Downey) and I wanted to look my best. My makeup wound up looking lovely, although the artist who applied it was a speck abrasive. I attributed her attitude to “creative energies” (Yes, this is an excuse that I made up for her.) and decided that all I cared about, in the end, was that the job was well done. I noticed that the artist seemed to skip some brush-cleaning and lipstick-disinfecting steps that other makeup artists take during the application but when I walked out of the store, I was happy with how my makeup looked. As I’m all about social media, I took a few Instagrams during the entire process and I’m using those images in this article.
After my photo shoot, my eyes started to feel funny and by the time someone suggested that we meet at a nearby restaurant for dinner, my face had been cleansed and washed of all cosmetics. My left eye, in particular, didn’t feel right. Two days later, my eyelid was red and had a bump on it. I spoke to my ophthalmologist on Tuesday and followed his instructions. On Wednesday, I called the MAC store and was told that the manager who could handle the issue wouldn’t be in for 48 hours. Two days seemed like a long time for someone to be able to take my call but I waited and then called on the day that I was told to call. I left a message. I called again two days after that and left another message. A few days later, I called a fourth time and finally spoke to the correct person. He seemed upset and concerned that he didn’t get my messages and I thought I was receiving genuine care. I explained the situation, asked what MAC could do for me, and he said that he would contact someone else within the company and get back to me. It has now been almost four weeks and I haven’t heard back from him. I really wanted to work through the issue at the store level but after two weeks of waiting, I posted my problem on MAC’s Facebook page. After almost 24 hours, they replied with an email address and phone number and told me to contact either one. I wanted written documentation of my communication since my phone calls didn’t seem to help so I opted to use the email address and I wrote my email within minutes of MAC’s reply on Facebook. I, to this day, have not received an answer to that email.
Five days after I sent my email, I hopped over to Twitter and tweeted to MAC about the experience. They tweeted back with a different email address to contact but didn’t reply to any of my subsequent tweets. I wrote to the second email address and received a form letter back about 24 hours later, identifying me as a number. There was no personal touch to the email at all. The email told me to call an 800 number, which I will do tomorrow.
I started this whole process on the phone and it did not seem to get anywhere. Why do I feel like I’m working so hard to receive customer service? I’m fairly certain that the eye debacle was a pretty isolated incident because I’ve had makeup applied by MAC artists in a variety of stores and in a variety of states and this is the first time that I have had a negative reaction. However, I want to discuss the problem and what I observed in the store on the day of my appointment. I’m not happy with MAC’s response.
I have an event to attend on March 23, 2013. I will be having my makeup applied for it and, under normal circumstances, I would be making my appointment with MAC. Do I think that I’m going to have another eye problem? Probably not. Do I hesitate to make the appointment because I don’t think that MAC is appreciative of its consumers and is failing to provide acceptable customer service? Absolutely.
I’d like to ask for your input. Here are the facts. MAC products are great. I love their stores. Their makeup always looks fantastic. I have allergies to some brands of cosmetics and not to MAC’s. Their artists might need a refresher course on cleanliness. Their customer service is lousy. If you were in my shoes, would your next professional makeup application be at MAC? Should I stay with MAC or never go back?