An example of broken customer service

Last night I wanted to go to Borders and buy a book.

The only problem was that yesterday was Monday and Borders has made it clear to me that they don’t want me to shop there on Mondays.

Even though I was willing to use a half gallon of gas to drive there and make a purchase.

What stopped me from doing this is that I have a Borders Rewards card.

There are two major ways that the Borders Rewards program is broken.

First you have to remember to print out the coupon they email to you every week and present it at the checkout (or display it via your smartphone).

You can’t just show your plastic Rewards card and automatically get the discount like you do at the grocery store.

But the worst part is that the coupons are almost always valid only Thursday-Sunday.

In other words, it’s as if Borders says: “We don’t want you to shop here Monday-Wednesday.”

There’s a book I wanted to buy last night. But I looked in my email for a Borders coupon, wondering if there was a coupon for today. There was not.

So I ended up buying two books on Amazon instead.

Amazon will take my money 7 days per week and I don’t have to go through hoops to get the discounted price.

So….are you putting up any barriers that make it harder for your customers to buy from you?

Do customers have to go through hoops to place an order?

What are the “rewards” for your customers if they purchase from you? Are they truly rewards?

Those of us running small businesses should be able to rock at customer service in ways that the big businesses don’t.

Never forget: every business is ultimately a customer service business regardless of what type of product or service you sell.

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  • Kevin B

    You hit the nail right on the head with this. Just why do companies go to the trouble of setting up these elaborate schemes, then add so many “conditions of use” it actually annoys people so much they take their custom elsewhere?
    Smart companies like Amazon and Ebay make it easy to buy. THAT’S why they’re so mega-successful!