“You Can’t Always Git What You Want…

… but if ya try sometime, you just might find, ya git what ya need.”

I doubt that Mick & Keith had customer service in mind when they penned that song.  Nonetheless, it does apply.

I write a lot about customer service issues, and its enormous contribution to an organization’s customer retention.  In this blog, I like to use real life examples to underscore my points.  Like these:

  1. I have a subscription to a music downloading service called eMusic.  I received an email from them, saying they were sorry I had CANCELED my subscription, and that if I would re-activate my account, they would give me 75 FREE downloads.  Wow.  Pretty cool stuff.  But I hadn’t canceled my account.  I realized this about the same time eMusic did, because about six hours later, here comes an email from eMusic instructing me to disregard that last email.Talk about deflated. I had already started plotting out which obscure jazz & blues CDs I would get for FREE.  Now I’m told, ehhhh…you there… not so fast.  As Muddy Waters told us, “ya can’t miss nothin’ ya never had.”  But, with no expectations, I decided to see what, if anything, eMusic would do for me if I acted kind of put out about this.

    My first email (sort of tongue-in-cheek) was strategically turned around on me, and I was cheerfully thanked for my feedback, and assured that it would be passed on to the director of marketing.  But nothing about sorry for getting your hopes up, here have a couple on us.  Nothing like that.

    My second email was met with a sort of shrugging “sorry” response from a different eMusic rep.  Hey it was a technical glitch that resulted in you receiving an errant email, and no freebies for you.  Sorry.

    So, clever man that I am, I responded, asking what if I canceled my account.  And THEN re-activated it, just like the email said?  Would I qualify then?

    One can almost hear the deep sigh and see the rolling eyes of the third member of the eMusic customer service team to have to deal with me.  Lilly told me that she would, “as a one time courtesy” add 10 free downloads to my account, but they were going to expire in 30 days, and only good if I kept my eMusic account activated.

    So, ultimately, after 6 days, they did the right thing.  Kinda.  But look, if they can afford to throw out 75 freebies to every defector in a customer retention campaign, then they can afford to throw out 10 freebies to loyal customers who were sent an offer – an offer that eMusic has no intention of honoring – in error.  Ya know?

    This could have been handled a lot smoother. They could have taken the high road, made some humorous comment about mistakenly delivering bad news, and then thrown in the 10 freebies as a “no harm, no foul” gesture.  THAT’s how you build customer loyalty.  THAT’s how you retain customers.  (Plus, your CSRs wouldn’t have to go back and forth with a nut like me for a week!)

  2. Now, the other side of this coin is a company called Hydropool.  I regularly order the chemicals for our hot tub from them.  They have a regular email campaign, touting their latest specials, and their latest mentioned free shipping for orders over $75.  Well, I placed the order, but neglected to add the special “free shipping” code.  As a result, my invoice had a charge for $8.00 for shipping.Now, this is not the biggest issue in the world, but eight bucks is eight bucks.  So, after placing my order, I get the email confirmation of the order.  Immediately, I respond to that email, saying I messed up and failed to include my free shipping code.

    First thing the following morning, I get an email from Ryan at Hydropool, who assures me that as soon as the order ships, he will credit out the delivery fee.  True to his word, the following day, I received notification that my order had shipped.  The next day, I received an email from Kameel at Hydropool, providing documentation of my $8.00 refund.  SIMPLE.  Beautiful.

    The only thing Hydropool could do to make this better is really embrace this 21st century and the technology it has given us.  What I am referring to is using shopping cart software where rewards for purchase amount-based incentives are applied automatically.  The whole code thing is so 1990’s, ya know?

    — Chuck Dennis

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