Saturday, January 12, 2013

How One Extra Step in Customer Service Can Keep you from looking like a total Dumbass

Today, I learned an important lesson from Staples customer service manager who could have saved the embarrassment by taking one extra step. So I needed to buy a PC to run the accounting software and utilize all modules. Knowing myself, I went for the CHEAPEST yet functional desktop deal I could find. I launched Slickdeals and luckily saw Staples running a Quad-Core AMD desktop deal for $399 (with a 20″ LED monitor). I jumped right on it… I was already at another store, so I decided to stop by the local Staples store.

First, they were all busy with customers (there were like 3)… I patiently waited until the store manager offered to assist me. I told him that I was looking for this laptop that they have for $499 on a SPECIAL, and I have a Staples coupon that will get me additional $100 OFF. Without even looking at the coupon, the manager told me that he has had multiple folks trying to use this coupon, and it is a fraudulent deal. Hmm OK. I said wait a minute, this coupon is not from a 3rd party vendor. It is actually from your own URL because I have it opened on my Android.

This is a fairly old store manager, and he didn’t understand me. He thought I was talking about the logo. He said that a lot of spammers put Staples logo on fake coupons. Then I told him again that I actually got the coupon from the Staples site. Apparently URL was too smart of the terminology. Well instead of dealing with me himself, he pushed me off to the assistant manager, so he can go chatter with the copier guy. The assistant manager wasn’t helpful either. He said, no the coupon is not valid. I don’t know what he entered on the screen, but he showed me the error saying “Coupon is Invalid”.

I hate wasting time, so I am already frustrated. So I just asked them why would their own site put out Invalid coupons that is suppose to start today. The guy said that is a good question… The manager jumps in the conversation again saying the coupon is fraudulent. So I asked him does put out fraudulent coupons on their site… The response was “sometimes”… I think he didn’t understand what I was saying… I asked them to call corporate and asked, but they refused saying that they have a system that is here just for that, and the system is denying the code.

Anyways, I got the Corporate Customer Relations number, Store number, and the manager name. I came home and called the folks. Didn’t take this guy more than 2 minutes to locate the coupon and tell me that it is valid. I told him my issue, so he called the store manager. I was asked to pick up the order. I went in the store and asked for the manager. I suppose because of the embarrassment, he sent one of his employees to assist me rather than coming out himself.

If only he would’ve called the corporate in front of me, then he wouldn’t have to deal with that embarrassment. Also, I would’ve left as a happy customer.

Moral of the story, always make sure that you are doing everything from your end when providing customer service. If it requires you to spend 5 extra minute, then spend the extra time. But make sure your customer is happy, and you are happy with the fact that you did everything to help.


Manfred Wennemer Peter Brabeck-Letmathe John McAdam Mauricio Novis Botelho Kenneth W. Freeman

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