“There’s nothing I can do” – What you never say to your customer

I just had another one of “those” customer experiences.

I was taking an online seminar that included a product. I went to the website to order my product using the gift certificate codes that were given to me by the seminar documents.

I was presented with the option to upgrade the product, which I selected. So I entered in my credit card information to cover the cost of the upgrade.

All went smoothly until I realized a second too late that I missed the place to enter the gift certificate numbers (it was hidden in an obscure link that had a background that almost matched the color of the link text – were they trying to cheat me?). After the next screen loaded, I used my browser’s Back button to return to the previous screen.

No luck I was stuck in the “process funnel” and I couldn’t get out. It kept forcing me to the next screen and there was no “Back” button on the web page. So I selected the “Cancel” button in the screen thinking I would just cancel the order and start over.

No luck again. Now I was a “registered customer” and I had to login. And the previously familiar process was no longer available. I also received an email a few minutes later that said my credit card had been billed for the product that was suppose to be free. And I didn’t get the upgraded product that I was trying for either.

Oh well, I thought, I’ll just try to order the upgraded product and enter the gift certificate codes so at least I will get a discount on the product I actually wanted.

No luck again. The gift certificate codes were tied to a specific product and could not be used.

Luckily they had an 800 number with actual operators. I called thinking I could easily get this mess straightened out.

After giving the operator my information and telling them what happened, I heard a pause on the line and then the worst words you can tell any customer, “There’s nothing I can do.”

Too bad, tough crap, we have you money and there’s nothing we (or you) can do about it. No offer for a refund, no replacement gift certificate codes, no help whatsoever. And eventually after my pausing in astonishment a lame offer to send me an email.

An email!?! An email about what; “thank you for the opportunity to rip you off and frustrate you completely, we thoroughly enjoyed it.”

I was sure this wasn’t their intent and that they are actually an honest business. But apparently they either give their customer service reps no tools to rectify order mishaps or they really don’t care.

How hard would it have been to refund the credit card or give me some new gift certificate codes to use in purchasing the product I really wanted. I do this all the time in my business. My goal is to satisfy my customer even if I have to give away the product for free.

When we make a mistake we make it up to our customers. Free products, additional products, discounts, gift certificates – something!

Even when it is not technically our fault – bungled deliveries, missing packages, damaged goods, etc. – we still try to make our customer happy. Because they are our customer, we fought long and hard for them and paid dearly in cost and effort.

We never knowingly leave a customer hanging, disappointed, or frustrated. Our reputation is on the line with every customer encounter. And every one in our organization has the ability and authority to do what is necessary to fulfill our customers needs and desires.

Within reason of course – we’re not a door mat we’re a WELCOME mat.

We live by the old adage that one satisfied customer tells two others and a dissatisfied customer tells 10. Excuse me while I go find 10 people to tell my story to. Thanks for reading, now I only need 9 more.

About the author
© Simple Joe, Inc.
David Berky is president of Simple Joe, Inc. a marketing company that sells simple software under the brand name of Simple Joe. One of Simple Joe’s best selling products is Simple Joe’s Money Tools – a collection of 14 personal finance and investment calculators. This article may be freely distributed so long as the copyright, author’s information and an active link (where possible) are included.