Friday, November 09, 2007

A Tale of Non-Service

A while back, Mammy went into a discount store with a list of items to purchase. As she perused the aisles, pickin’ up this item here and that one there, she came to the one that was the main reason for her trip. This item was on sale for a really good price and since Mammy epitomizes (word of the day) bargain shoppin’ (as a matter of fact, I believe she is used as a case study in the bargain shoppin’ 101 classes taught nationwide), this was to be the high point.

To her dismay, the store was completely out of that item. Not to worry readers, she knew just what to do. She would get a raincheck from the cashier and just pick it up another day when she was in the store.

However, upon requestin’ one, she was dutifully told that the computer was a’showin’ they still had one and that the cashier was required to go get it for the customer, thus savin’ the customer the hassle of havin' to return to the store with the raincheck. After all, they wanted their customers to know they cared.

Mammy said it was ok, she would just take the raincheck since she frequents that there store often enough. “No,” came the reply. “It is company policy.” The checker was soon a’scurryin’ down the aisle in search of the missin’ item.

After waitin’ several long minutes (You know, readin’ those stupid tabloid headlines , “Alien Babies Born To Woman Who Has Been in a Coma for Sixteen Years”, since there’s nothin’ else to do while you are trapped in the checkout line a’waitin’ for the missin’ checker to return.) for this excellent bit of customer service, the cashier returned empty-handed. Duh! Go figur, there really weren’t none there. Hmmmm, now what to do?

Mammy repeated she would gladly accept a raincheck for the item. The reply? “Sorry, but since the computer says we have one, I can’t run a raincheck through the system, it just won’t let me. I can take your name and number down and call you when I find it.” She never did hear from anyone at the store. I’ll remind you that the main reason for the trip was to get the great price on that item. Now, regardless that there twern’t one in the store, the “system” wouldn’t allow a raincheck, even though the company also has a policy that if they run out of any advertised item, they will give you a raincheck.

Moral of the story: If you’re a gonna implement a policy, ‘specially a customer service policy, make sure there is the ability to override the system in case some kind of unexpected glitch comes up. Customer service policies should be meant to improve a customer’s experience and entice ‘em to return to buy again, not alienate them and give them a desire to return with picket signs. I voted fer the picket signs.