Sunday, February 04, 2007

Customer Service for Dummies

Okay, so Indigo’s Valentine’s promotion worked – sort of.

I needed a gift and wanted a new book so I went to Indigo yesterday. I chose a couple of birthday cards too so I could “win” a Valentine’s gift.

I picked up a book from the Dummies’ series. I saw a print ad on the back page of the Globe’s book section – all Dummies’ books were supposed to be 30% off through April (and another 10% off for iRewards members.) Pretty straightforward, right? Wrong!

The cashier was a bit flustered. She didn’t think I could use my iRewards card and receive the Valentine promo. (Odd since I received an e-mail notification of the promo because I was an iRewards member.) She checked and sure enough, the two promos could be used together. I also had a $5 off coupon from my iRewards renewal package.

The charge seemed too high, about $10 more than I thought. I asked to see the itemized bill (I don’t know about you but I hate how the new cash registers print out a signature slip before the itemized bill when you’re paying by credit card.) The Dummies’ book was regular price. I promptly and politely told the cashier the book was on sale.

Cashier: “But it’s not coming up on sale on the machine”.

I told her about the ad in the paper. She called another sales associate for help. A surly man came over to help out. Service-oriented he was not.

Surly guy: “Not all Dummies books are on sale!”

Me: “But there was a full-page add in today’s Globe.”

Surly guy: “If they make a mistake, we’re not responsible.”

Me: “What!, isn’t that an issue between Indigo and the Globe? Shouldn’t you be honoring it?” (C’mon, someone at head office approves all print ads before they go to press. I know how press approvals work.)

Surly guy: “Do you have a copy of the ad?”

Me: “No.” (I don’t make a habit of carrying a newspaper around when I go shopping. Do you?)

Staffer #3 was called in. (Let's call her Janie)
Surly guy: “Oh Janie, have you seen a copy of the ad?”

Janie: “No.”

Surly guy: Is that the Books’ section of the Globe in your hand?

Janie: “Yes.”

Surly guy: Is there an ad on the back cover?”

Janie: “Let’s see.”

Surly guy: “Yes, it does say ALL Dummies books are on sale. Okay, we’ll give you a refund then.”

I breathed a sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. Surly guy insisted on some funny cash register gymnastics. He was explaining how he was doing this and that and I’d actually end up getting some extra cash back because he couldn’t do something on the machine. Huh!

I pleaded with him to refund the original sale and start over so I could understand what he was doing. He refused. Several minutes later, after he turned at least as many other customers away from the cash, his cash register gymnastics failed, so he refunded the sale and started from scratch. Duh!

Boy, was my patience tested? It took me about 20 minutes to pay for a couple books and cards.

This whole situation could have been easily avoided:
• I could have shopped online helped cancer patients and skipped the movie passes – I never see movies on Monday nights anyway.

Indigo employees (especially cashiers) should have been briefed on all promotions and customers should be given the benefit of the doubt – why weren't copies of print/online ads available by the cash registers and the staff rooms?

And for those of you wondering about the Valentine gifts for purchases, I couldn’t get a list of the prize odds but it seemed like everyone was getting a 2-for-1 Monday night Cineplex movie pass.

Technorati tags: books, customer service, marketing, Valentine's Day

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