Review: EShakti, I give you an F

customer-service

**UPDATE**   4/8/13  I received a very heartfelt apology from EShakti this morning.  Here’s a portion of the e-mail that explains the mishap from their point of view.

Thank you for your email & review post.    The candor is deeply appreciated
Your comments about your experience with eShakti have been well noted and we will do our best to live up to your expectations going forward. We did have a set-back in keeping to delivery schedules from the start of this Spring season due to a sharp rise in our order levels which our production department could not keep up with.  And the information system for tracking specific orders also got hit.
We had also received a huge number of sample requests from bloggers around the same time.  We have been able to get the system and production largely on track now even through the higher order levels during the last few weeks. We will keep working at it until every single order of every customer is handled without any delay / information gap in our processes.
I would like to clarify that we have been recently requesting our bloggers to provide for a 2nd and 3rd choice of products in order to ensure that we are able to ship one of their requests without fail.   The alternate choices were sought as a back up in case we ran of out of fabric stock of their original product choice.   In sizing, the accuracy of the measurements does play a part, and making a garment to fit, sight unseen, does have inherent potential for errors to creep in, much as we try to avoid them.  This may sometimes lead to additional fabric requirement which would be beyond what has been allocated for that order / sample.  This, in turn, would lead to a fabric stock-out unexpectedly.

Basically, the rest of the email included EShakti’s  apology for my negative experience. They offered to send me the dress that I ordered & asked that I please review their product & let them know how the size, fit & fall of the dress is.   They also offered me a pretty nice gift card!  Something I wasn’t expecting at all.   I consider myself to be a reasonable person so their response is fully acceptable to me.  I accept their apology & I’m glad that they took steps to make me happy as a customer.  I have a lot of respect for that.

I hope this serves as an example to others to never feel as though your opinion or feelings don’t make a difference to companies/brands.  They do.  Had I not taken the time to review EShakti, even-though I really wanted to just forget about the whole thing and never mention their name on my blog, I wouldn’t have made a difference for them or for me.

This is a much better Re-Start!   Until next time Stars!

Naturally Stellar


Effort

No the F isn’t for Fashion.  I didn’t want to do it but they left me no choice.  I really don’t like giving negative reviews. It’s much too time consuming.  I’d rather be taking photos in my new dress & hosting giveaways to promote the EShakti brand than doing this.

Never in the entire time that I’ve been a blogger or in my other 34 years that I’ve been alive,  have I come across a company or brand that really leaves me puzzled, stunned and just plain pissed all at the same time!

This review is not for an EShakti Product…Believe it or not… Because I never actually received my product.  All I received is a bad taste in my mouth and an answer to my question of why does EShakti use SO MANY bloggers to promote their products?  If you just google eshakti, almost all of their promotion comes from bloggers.

Oh EShakti!  I know bloggers everywhere rave about the free dresses & outfits you furnish them in their sponsored reviews.  I mean, who wouldn’t give you a great review when they’re  getting free clothes out of the deal?  I always thought it was weird that SO many people had so many nice things to say and hardly ever anything negative.  I know, I know.   I’m sure there’s a blogger reading this that is going to get offended & comment about how their EShakti promotion is totally unbiased & their reviews are spotless.  Hey, Maybe they are. For those that do give honest reviews out there, you have my utmost respect.  I do personally know some bloggers that promote them that are truly honest with their reviews.  I also know there have been some brave bloggers out there that aren’t afraid to share with people what the real deal of their negative experience with EShakti has been like too.  I’m one of those people.

Not only do I care about the products & brands that my brand/name is attached to, I care even more about sharing honesty with people about my experiences with these brands.  I feel that it is my responsibility as a blogger that does product reviews, to be as neutral as I can possibly be when trying out a product or service so that at the end of the day, my feelings about that product or service aren’t clouded by Swag/Freebies, promises of future partnerships or even my own personal feelings before the actual review takes place etc.

Companies are very aware of the clout & influence that bloggers have, which is why they include blogger promotions/partnerships as part of their marketing plans & strategies.  It just makes great business sense & gets the company closer to their audience, much faster than by conventional means.

Before I get into a business relationship I always like to ask questions such as:

  • How did you find my blog?
  • In addition to reviews, do you have any current sales or promotions going on?
  • Can you offer my readers discounts, coupons or promotions?
  • Do you have any images or banners I can use in my posts/on my blog?
  • Tell me more about your company & why you got started?

Simple stuff.  I then explain to people,  I give honest reviews and will express my disappointment if I don’t like something. I feel that people really need to know that & most companies are totally fine with that. They want honest reviews.

So here’s what happened to me that has me so irritated about EShakti.

I was approached by an EShakti representative to do a sponsored review of their custom clothing.  The email was very cordial & explained what they were looking for in a blogger.  She also stated that if I had any further questions, she was open to answering them.  My first impression was Wow! I was honored to do this because I heard so many great things about them from some of my blogger buddies and they were pretty much everywhere on social media.  The clothes to me always look great and the people’s reviews/photos always seemed to lean toward the positive.  I thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase more fashion on my blog as well as a chance to try out their service and have a piece of clothing custom-made to my measurements to share with my subscribers & followers.   I’ve only had custom clothing done about 2 times in my life. Once for my highschool prom dress and again for a bridesmaids dress.

So the first thing I did was reply with a few questions and she quickly responded back.  One thing that surprised me in her response was the subject of advertising on my blog. I thought this was kind of strange seeing that a blog post IS already a promotion AND She was asking for FREE ad space for 2 months!?  All of this BEFORE we even entered into a business relationship. Really?!   These were her exact words:

Typically, the bloggers we work with offer us a month or two of free ad space.   If that is something you would like to do as well, it would be great.

Boo

BOO!!!

I was given an opportunity to select any item of my choice, to review,  from a pretty good selection of clothing.  This was very exciting.  I LOVE clothes…and FREE Custom Clothes, even better!

So on 3/7 I selected my item, input all my custom measurements on their website and submitted my order.  I then received a confirmation e-mail with the specs of my order, a photo of the dress I selected, and a message saying that it’ll take 7-9 working days (business days) until its shipped.

Measurements from Candice Straughter - naturallystellar@gmail

I was so excited to be able to try this Silk Maxi Dress since Spring was approaching and Maxi’s are IN baby!  Plus this had a beautiful embellished waistline.  What I wasn’t ready for was this response 9 business days after placing my order. :(

Dear  XXXX (I added the X’s not her :)
We seem to be running low on fabric stock for the product you have requested as a sample.   Did you have any other favorites that we could process as an alternate?  – UM…No.  You didn’t ask me to select any more than 1 (ok I’ll stop)
 
I apologize for causing you any inconvenience.    
I will look forward to hearing from you
Yes, I was disappointed that my dress wouldn’t be made, but what really ticked me off is how long it took them to tell me this. Their policy is 7-9 working days for products to ship, yet they waited 9 working days to tell me they don’t have enough fabric and to Select another product?  Which I’m assuming would take an additional 7-9 working days just like the 1st go round.  Plus, when I checked their website again, the dress was GONE! No longer available through their blogger portal or the main website – Not even on backorder – Just Gone.
So…Instead of jumping the gun and sending a negative response right away, I sought some advice from other EShakti bloggers/partners from a blogging network that I belong to & respect.   The overall advice I got was to give them another chance because that’s just how EShakti works. Sometimes they’re timely, sometimes they’re not.  Sometimes you get your first choice, Sometimes you don’t. Depending on which media rep you’re working with, your experience may differ.  1 Blogger even shared with me how whenever she works with them they always tell her to select 2 or 3 favorites just in case they are unable to provide her #1 choice.   I give that a HUGE side-eye. WTH?!   If I was a paying customer coming to the EShakti website for the very first time to make a purchase (especially a custom-made purchase) There is no way in Bejezus I’m gonna select 2 or 3 items in the hopes that my #1 gets made.  Who. Does. That?!
Good thing I’m just a blogger, not a paying customer right?  Wrong!
Despite all of that and although I was reluctant, I decided to give EShakti another chance. After all, people make mistakes. I do all the time.  I always want to be known as a fair reviewer so I wrote the Media Rep an email explaining my disappointment politely and explained that I selected another item.  I also thanked her for letting me know, and expressed that waiting 9 days to tell me you’re low on fabric was a little bit much.   So I placed my 2nd order on 3/21.
Here’s what I ordered:
2ndDress
On April 1st, something was telling me to go back and do follow-up on my order.  So I did.  I checked my email and realized that I never received a confirmation email with my 2nd order like I did the 1st time.   So I went back to their blogger portal (This is an area of their site that bloggers are allowed to make selections from and place orders) to see if the dress was still there….low and behold!  It was gone. No longer Available!
I checked their main website….GONE!    And that was it for me!   I was done!
I wrote the Media Rep an email letting her know that nobody at EShakti notified me that the dress I ordered 7 working days ago is now out of stock, I had to find out for myself.  I then explained to her that through my own research, I’m finding that there are others out there that have had similar experiences as I have with EShakti. I expressed my disappointment in not being able to work with them.  I expressed my disappointment with their level of customer service.  I then explained that as a small business owner I also understand stock issues, but it is the responsibility of the company to notify your customers, in a timely manner when you are aware of shortages or other issues that may affect orders.  I also informed her that I would NOT be promoting their company on my blog, until they have made steps to correct their customer service issues.   I would however continue to honor my obligation to share my honest review of their company with my readers.
I don’t believe that the customer is always right. That philosophy doesn’t sit well with me. But understand this.  If you own a business.  The customer IS the one that keeps the lights on.  They ARE the ones that keep your business afloat.  They ARE the ones that help drive your success. The minute you decide to forget about the customer and push them aside is the very day you are going to sink.
My hope is that EShakti sees this review and the other negative ones out there and takes steps to UP their level of Service, not just for bloggers but for the sake of their paying customers.   And Please…stop asking bloggers for FREE Ad Space…Please.  Especially if they haven’t even worked with you yet.  It’s really insulting.
EShakti…I give you a big fat F

**Also want to note that as of the date of publishing this review I have not received a response of any kind from EShakti, neither apologizing for my experience or responding to my last e-mail**

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Candice S.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief of Women's Lifestyle Blog, Naturally Stellar.
Candice is a passionate entrepreneur and business professional with a love for beauty, fashion, music, natural hair and great food. When she's not busy being a rock star mom, an awesome wife or catching up on her British dramas on Netflix, you can find her sharing something interesting on her blog, Naturally Stellar.