Snow Boots Revisited or Why I Like High-Quality Customer Service

Remember these? I was just bragging on them a few weeks ago. OK, I went to find the link for the entire blog entry I had written about these boots and it was never published. So sorry, I'll recap. These are my favorite snow boots. They have rubber uppers to keep the feet dry, vibram soles that don't slip on ice, leather uppers for a comfortable ankle, thinsulate insulation for warm tootsies, and these awesome cord and snap closure.

See how awesome?

I bought them in Jan 2000 (I actually still had the original receipt in the shoe box), paid $89 for them and thought they would last me the rest of my life. I love these boots. Only problem was, I used them when I shoveled snow in early January and wore them the rest of that day because it was sloppy outside. About 1/2 through my day, I noticed the boots began to flop on my feet for some weird reason. Then suddenly, I saw it. The rubber portion had come loose of the leather portion all the way around the front of the boots (both of them!!) and the rubber had split down to the sole on one of them. Damn the bad luck.

Now I know these boots are 10 years old. But come on. They were practically brand new. I had probably only worn them 6 times when I lived in Chicago and I hadn't worn them at all until that day. I hadn't stored them under extreme conditions. (Unless you consider on the top shelf in my linen closet to be extreme conditions.) They were stored in the original box and I still had the wadded up paper stuffed down in the toe of the boot. We are talking a pretty cushy life. So to see them fall apart on what was probably the 7th time I'd ever worn them. Massive disappointment.

So I did what I usually do. I called the company. You know Columbia actually makes this pretty easy to do because their company phone number is written in really large type on the shoe box. I like that.

Anyway, I explained to the fellow that the shoes were 10 years old but seldom worn. He asked me to take pictures of the damage, which you see above and they'd get back to me. So I did. Finally, yesterday, they contacted me again.

Here is the content of the response I got from Columbia.
Thank you for your photos and information. We will be happy to replace these boots for you as we would consider this a manufacturing defect. Based on our current inventory,I have placed an order for the Bugaboot Omni-Tech Boots, color Winter Lux, size 10, to ship from our Kentucky Warehouse. Please let me know if you do not receive these within ten business days.

Thank you!
Here's the boots they are sending.
Can I say I really like Columbia's customer service? Can I say that they've probably won me over? Can I say that when I'm buying some particularly expensive something that I will probably look more favorably on Columbia products? You betcha. More companies should learn this lesson.

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