2 Apr

I work in a customer service related role. I grew up in a retail environment, watching my father who was always a passionate advocate for the customer.

I’ve worked in various retail and call center roles over the years. I may not be changing the world, but forcing change in policies that will impact hundreds, thousands-that has it’s own satisfaction. I like to hope that people like me work for other companies, quietly finding little ways to make the things they must do easier.

The other day, I was at Chapters-it’s kinda like Borders, but Canadian. I had seen an art book I wanted to get for me, and the kids the night before, and since I hadn’t purchased the book I wanted the night before, since the cashier said it was 45.00!!!!, I went back to get the big art one.

Pretty art. Lovely art to show my daughters, to perhaps spur and interest in art, in lovely technically useless things.

I head up to the cash. I’m steeling myself for the inevitable questions about their reward program. I don’t want it (25.00! That’s another book!) but I hate being rude. I know they have to ask.

I get a younger girl, early university I imagine. She asks if I know about the program, if I want it. I tell her no, I need to buy diapers today.

She answers “Yeah, we all have excuses don’t we.”

Now, at the time, I didn’t really compute this.

I try to make small talk about how excited I am to buy this great book for my kids.

“Oh,” she says, “I didn’t realize kids in diapers could appreciate world art.”

“They’re PICTURES.” I stutter. Still not computing.

I get across the parking lot before Mogo, and my brain convince me that this chick was a TOTAL cunt to me. For no reason.

It was none of her business, but yes, I DID need to buy diapers and they were the same price as their retarded loyalty program. The worst part is that I had actually been contemplating buying it lately, since on some items, the extra 10% off would be helpful.

Not now.

Add to this the fact that the “45.00” book I wanted was 34.10 online, and onsale for 22!

I broke out my internet, and wrote a nasty but polite email to Chapters, detailing my experience, and how dissatisfied I was. I made sure to mention that this type of behaviour was exactly why I do more purchasing online with amazon-no bullshit, and better pricing.

I heard nothing, so I emailed again, asking when I would receive some follow up.

Yesterday I received an email from the GM of the store apologizing for what happened. He explained that the agent would be spoken with. He explained that whatever quote that cashier had given on that book was wrong, it was indeed 34.10 instore. He even said he’d send me a 20.00 gift card.

I let him know that I was more than pleased with his personal follow up, and the gesture. Because this is not about being given money-it’s about teaching your staff to act appropriately, politely and jebbus, with a little common sense.

And it’s also about not tormenting your staff with these little up sells. Frankly, I’m not surprised the girl was snotty. Considering some of the pushy up sells I’ve had in that place, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a LOT of emphasis on selling that program.

But, all is well that ends well. It’s so nice to have a least ONE company in this place listen and hear what the customer has to say.

8 Responses to “BOO-YAH!”

  1. Hannah April 2, 2008 at 12:36 pm #

    Well done you for following up. I have a horrible tendency to stew – loudly – about that stuff, but then I never actually do anything about it.

    The call centre experience really colours how I feel about customer service. On the one hand, I tend to be more patient because I know first-hand how shitty it is to justify some boneheaded corporate policy over and over again to people. On the other hand, it just infuriates me when customer service people behave like assholes – because I always really made an effort to remain calm and courteous no matter how much I was provoked.

    The Chapters reward program generates an unbelievable amount of junk mail, both the electronic and paper varieties. Consider yourself warned. 😉

  2. thordora April 2, 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    I’m hoping they’ll see the link and read the complaints then. I just have never seen the real value.

  3. kirida April 2, 2008 at 12:46 pm #

    That’s great that you followed up. I hate those pay for it membership services. It’s like, I have to pay money before I can save money? That doesn’t compute.

  4. Julie Pippert April 2, 2008 at 1:52 pm #

    Power to the people who use their words…and to the customer service providers who listen!

  5. radical mama April 2, 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    We don’t have a Borders here, but we have Barnes and Noble. They do that same sell-up crap. Like someone else said, I don’t pay money to save money. I rarely buy new books and I doubt I would see a return on that “investment.” And that girl’s comments to you are pretty inexcusable, regardless of the pressure to sell. I worked in restaurants for a long time and being pressured to sell appetizers was no excuse for bullying, rude service. Good for you for calling it out.

  6. Judy April 2, 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    We have a Barnes and Noble, and even though we have more toy trains than any 4 yo should have, my boys love to go and play with their train set. So, occasionally, we go.

    The last 2 times we’ve been I’ve had the same horribly rude chick. The first time I chalked it up to maybe she was having a bad day – my Guthrie kept trying to talk to her and she just ignored him. The second time, when he was jumping up and down so he could see her over the counter and telling her something he was very excited about, and she wouldn’t respond, I finally just looked at him and said, “I have no idea why she’s not responding to you.” She looked at me and said she didn’t realize he was talking to her. Yeah, because he was talking to all the invisible people around us.

    Their rewards program is also $25/year, then 10% off. So, you have to spend $250/year before you break even. I easily spend $250/year on books, but it’s usually on used books through Amazon or at Half Price Books (where my husband gets the educator discount of 10$ off without having to pay). So at B&N, totally not worth it.

    I’ve been contemplating writing a letter. Maybe I should. If she’d just been rude to me I would have let it slide, but not being rude to my son.

  7. Jenn April 3, 2008 at 7:54 am #

    Your post made me laugh, I used to work for Zellers and let me tell you the crazy amount of pressure that is on the staff to get people to sign up for loyalty programs. Your job, livelyhood (regardless of how miniscule your pay is) is threatened on a regular basis. At Zellers it is all about the freaking credit card. If you sign up today you will recieve and extra 10% off your purchase. But we were never allowed to give the pros and the cons. if you spend $100 you will get $10 off but the credit card charges 30% interest! So if you dont pay off the card in one month you will have saved $10 but will be paying $30 in interest on the purchase you made. A wapping savings of $20 more than you would have payed had you payed cash like you were going to. Cashiers were expected to get 3 people to sign up for this DEAL, every shift. If they didn’t they got written up leading to termination.
    I had a big moral problem with this so I used to tell the person to sign up for the card, we would put the transaction through on the card they would get the 10% off, then I would have them pay the card right there and then and tell them to cut it up when it came in the mail. I got my credit referals and could sleep at night knowing that I didn’t just create further poverty for my customers.

  8. thordora April 3, 2008 at 8:02 am #

    I worked for Sears-I just wouldn’t sell the damn cards. I had great performance otherwise, so aside from bringing it up once in awhile, they left me alone. If someone asked about it, I’d offer it, but I never did with much effort. And if they asked, I’d mention the 28.00% interest.

    Many of the people I worked with did the “pay & cut” thing. Management didn’t care since the numbers they needed were the opened cards….

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