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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Kmart - Customer Service Gone Horribly Wrong

Working in retail for the past decade has given me the opportunity to complain a lot about how I think certain decisions that the company (company can be either at Corporate level or even just on a Senior Manager level at the store) makes because of whatever reasoning I might have.

I was taught by my Admin Manager from day 1 that the customer is always right and we will do anything we can to make them happy because they will give us repeat business if they felt we took care of them fairly (no matter how we felt about it).
This has been ingrained in my head for over 9 years now as I take care of my customers on a daily basis.  From making a sale to correcting an issue after the sale, I take care of my customers every single time.

So, it is with much frustration that I am now in a situation where I am dealing with another retail company where I have an issue and I feel like I am getting the run around.

My problem started before 12:30 pm today and here I sit typing at nearly 3pm with no resolution other than I can expect a phone call within the next 48 business hours to discuss the situation and find a resolution.
So, enough vague and more explain!

Kmart has been running deals with rewards as long as you are signed up for their reward service. I will not be divulging the name of said website because I do not want to advertise for them with the lack of customer service I am currently receiving.

There was an advertisement that is running all week long stating a deal in the form of Purchase $XXX and receive $XXX in reward coupons for a future purchase.  Must equal a certain amount after tax (and per the official representative online) you CAN use previous reward coupons to bring the price under $XXX and STILL QUALIFY.

So, I go to my local Kmart to take advantage of the promotion.  When I get my product there are 2 cashiers near the register who are talking to me, one of the cashiers is new and the other is not.
Normal chit chat occurs and I explain to them why I am making my purchase and what I figure I will qualify for by making the purchase.
Neither of them have a problem with any info provided.
The new cashier is the one running register and cannot get his log in to work, experienced cashier gives new cashier his information so he can run the transaction (this really has nothing to do with anything, I am just retelling everything that happened).

He goes to ring everything up, but I ask for it to be done in two transactions to be on the safe side because I am expecting reward X for purchase #1 and reward XX for purchase #2 and would rather keep them separate just in case the system will only recognize one reward per transaction.
They both agree this is a good idea.
We make sure to use my rewards card (done via my phone number) because the system only prints the reward coupons if the person is registered for the reward program.
We run the transaction and no reward coupons print - I look at the receipt and my reward program was logged correctly.
Both cashiers cannot figure out what went wrong so they call a supervisor who comes back and flips through the add looking for the information.  A few minutes later she finds it and looks at what I purchased and tells me that because I used a previous coupon which brought my transaction down 1 penny below the threshold, I did not qualify.
I explain to her that online, through the official Kmart representative of this program, has verified and spread the word that the use of other reward coupons to lower the amount will not affect it and the purchase will still qualify.
She tells me that i am wrong and that they do not know how the system works and because of the product that I had purchased (it is a NON REFUNDABLE product) there was nothing she could do for me.
She told me that I need to pay more attention in the future in order to qualify for the rewards.

So, instead of continuing a conversation where I am being told I am SOL (the customer is not right) I left before a heated conversation could ensue.

I used my phone and looked up Kmart customer service phone number and gave them a call while I was still in the parking lot.
I explained my situation to the person who did all the normal apologizing and after nearly 20 minutes she informed me that all I had to do was go home, log into the reward program online and that my reward coupons for $XX would be in my account there and I could print them.

That was not the case, I have no reward coupons stored in my online account.
So, via online chat I contacted another Kmart representative and explained my situation through a series of very lengthy typed out messages.
He as well did the typical apologize, this is a rare case, sorry about your issue BS before finally getting to a point where he told me that he was sorry, he could not help me at all because my transaction occurred in a physical store and he can't help with those types of matters.
He then provided me with a different 800 number and told me that I should call there to resolve my situation.

So, I called and after explaining everything yet again I get told that she will get a hold of the Store Manager at the store and he will call me back to discuss any resolution, and he has 48 business hours to do so.

So, here I am, hours later and possibly waiting for another two days to talk to someone who might be able to come up with a solution that has already dragged on for way longer than it ever should have.

If this were my store the situation would never have gotten this out of hand.
First off I know all the promotions for the product I am selling.  If someone says that they are going to be taking advantage of a certain promotion but they have the wrong information I explain it to them.  I tell them how exactly they need to go about it in order to achieve their desired goal.  I do not just push them through and when something goes wrong expect someone else to take care of the matter.

Second, if there were an issue after the sale I would have taken care of it immediately, right there on the spot. I would have come up with a resonable solution or gotten someone involved with the authority to do so. I would not have looked at the customer sand said "Sorry, your shit out of luck, you need to pay more attention." (I told the cashier what I was going to do and why, they made the sale knowing the desired outcome but weren't smart enough/trained enough to know whether or not the desired outcome was achievable?)
I would never have let the customer leave the store upset and feeling wronged.  THIS IS NOT HOW YOU CREATE REPEAT BUSINESS.

So here I sit, hours later, getting more and more upset over the whole situation as every single person I talk to cannot come up with a simple easy solution even though I have told each and everyone of them what I was willing to do or how I would take care of it if this customer was in my store with this issue.
No, I have to wait another 2 days and hope to get a call back from the Store Manager and hope that he can provide me with some sort of closure in an attempt to keep my business.

I would have had this particular situation taken care of in less than 5 minutes At The Store.
Kmart let me leave pissed off and getting more angry with every level of service I deal with, potentially losing me as a customer and everyone who I am going to tell about my issues and how they will not take care of you and no longer care about you once the sale has gone through.

--- A disgruntled customer

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