Thrifty kitchen salesThis week we headed up to Boston for a convention.  We rented from Thrifty.  The most entertaining thing wasn’t the ride, however, it was the customer service call afterwards. Here’s what happened:

The Setup

We decided to go for the GPS unit since, well you know, it’s Boston.  What should have been a 15 minute car ride ended up as a 60 minute car ride because Thrifty’s “thrifty” approach apparently didn’t include updating GPS maps since 1960.

Cleary the GPS unit was useless.  So I notified a Thrifty employee upon return of the problem, he confirmed that the unit was an older unit and not updated in a while, and he gave me my receipt and apologized profusely.

Stop reading here, and ask yourself what would you expect to see if you looked at your receipt later?

A refund of cost of the GPS since it didn’t work, right?

The Con

A quick glance down to the receipt and – bingo, they charged me for it.  $25.96.  Not a huge amount, but the difference between what I thought would happen on my receipt and what actually happened really interested me.  Why would a company miss the opportunity to set things right with what could be a repeat customer for life?

I dialed their customer service number, punched in about 17 numbers to get to someone live, then sat on hold for 15 minutes.  Eventually a polite customer service rep answered and proceeded to spend another 20 minutes with me doing the used car sales dance.  You know – let me go talk to my supervisor, my supervisor says you didn’t do this, you didn’t do that, our policy says this, the fine print that…you know, your standard dirt bag customer service tricks.

Then they offered me a voucher for the amount to use on a future car rental.  Huh? I mean this is just plain old stealing.  Everyone knows vouchers get lost, they are rarely used and it’s yet another attempt at keeping your money. What’s so hard about a $25 credit back to a credit card?  And why offer me a voucher if you started the call saying the problem was my fault?  I denied the voucher and Thrifty refused to give me my $25 refund on my $200 car rental.

Customer service in this day and age has been reduced to a bunch of used car salespeople.  And it’s not just at Thrifty –last week Dell did it to me too on my laptop screen which was “mystically chipping”, apparently from something that was my fault (I guess if you stare at the screen hard enough, it spontaneously begins to chip in random places).

Memories of the Good ‘Ole Days

Why does everything have to be a negotiation? Everyone’s trying to nibble away at the pennies in your purse (or man-purse in my case…kidding). I remember the days when we customers use to get showered with attention, love and respect.  Where issues were resolved with ease.  Where customers were won for a lifetime.   And where customers are won are on the little things just like this.  I mean, had Thrifty refunded and made my life easy, this post would be reading very differently right now.

Everyone wants to focus on sales, sales, and sales right now.  But streamlining your kitchen customer service process can net you thousands of dollars in future business.  Don’t let your hard earned customers see you as Thrifty on the little things.