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Nice systems. How’s your service?

Yesterday, while vacationing in Breckenridge, CO over Labor Day Weekend, I bought two 100-chip sets of 11.5G poker chips at Peak-A-Boo Toys on Main Street. When we returned home last night and opened both sets, we discovered that one of the sets contained only 99 chips and was missing a green poker chip.

This is not a big deal but since a complete set is preferred to an incomplete set, I took a picture of the box and green poker chip and emailed it (along with a brief explanation of the incident and my home mailing address) to the customer care email address I found at the website of the supplier, Cardinal Industries, Inc.

Shortly afterward, I received an email reply advising me that a case had been opened and a case number assigned. So far, so good.

This morning is when the experience began to unravel. I received an email thanking me for contacting customer care and instructing me to “give our Customer Care Team a call directly.” In addition to needlessly increasing customer effort, there are other problems with this response:

  • They already have 100% of the information they need to resolve the issue, including: an explanation of the incident; a photo of the box, item number, and 11.5G green poker chip in question; my email address, home mailing address, and cell phone number; and the date of purchase and retailer.
  • If they did need something more, they should call or email me directly rather than require me to call them.
  • There is a cost to every contact that a customer has with a company to resolve a problem. These costs amount to dollars per contact. In this case, we’re taking about a 14-cent poker chip. Just mail the green poker chip that was missing from the set, resolve the customer’s issue, and cut your losses. Don’t drag the problem out unnecessarily. It’s not good business.

So I called the toll-free Customer Care number provided and, after navigating a short menu of options, reached a representative. After providing my case number, the rep began to request information that I had already provided in detail in my original email (e.g., product in question, item number, etc.). If your goal is to create promoters of your product or service, then penalizing proactive customers (who have already taken the time to provide complete details of the problem experienced) by asking them to repeat themselves over the phone is going to undermine your goal.

Having provided the rep with all of the pertinent details, I was then informed that the item in question was no longer in stock. Oddly, the rep then suggested substituting a replacement game such as Bingo or chess. I informed her that I was not interested in a replacement game. I simply wanted a 14-cent 11.5G green poker chip to complete the set purchased the day before.

She agreed to escalate my call to someone who might be in a better position to resolve my issue. At that point I was inadvertently transferred to a 2-question customer satisfaction survey that asked me to rate the quality of customer service provided by the Customer Care representative followed by the likelihood that I would recommend the company to others. (I’ll let you use your imagination to determine my ratings.)

So, that’s it. Here is yet another example of yet another company that, even while investing in a robust contact center and Net Promoter Score (NPS) assessment – ostensibly to appear responsive to customers and improve customer service quality – has completely missed the mark.

Don’t settle for ordinary. Choose extraordinary. (It’s always a choice.) Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.

New! Cascade the lessons from Delight Your Customers throughout your department, division, or entire organization. Order the Delight Your Customers Companion Guide by Steve Curtin and Brian O’Neill.

Watch the 90-second book trailer.

New! Cascade the lessons from Delight Your Customers throughout your department, division, or entire organization. Order the Delight Your Customers Companion Guide by Steve Curtin and Brian O’Neill.
Don’t settle for ordinary. Choose extraordinary. (It’s always a choice.) Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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