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The no customer service experience

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Ylva, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I can't help but feeling the piling on.

    Guess I will just not say much more. Amazon does make my life easier, let's leave it at that then. I won't be the only consumer who thinks the same. Why do I choose Amazon over brick and mortar?
    Price, quick delivery, right to my door so convenient and excellent exceptional customer service (in no particular order)

    BN has always accepted exchanges without a receipt. If I had not been honest, I would have just been able to swap the book, no questions asked. The customer service clerk did not even want to listen to what I had to say, or work with me to find some solution.

    I don't know how many times I need to say this, but I did work in a bookstore.
     
  2. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    This is very true and a topic for another thread. I have very recent experience with Amazon as I have been home with a broken ankle. They had a couple of items that I really needed (shoe level-up and ankle ice pack) on my doorstep within two days with free shipping. You just can't compete with this. Convenience trumps all for many people.

    Dealing with and satisfying the modern consumer is and will continue to be more and more of a challenge.
     
  3. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    No, it is not cheap. People will pay for convenience. To get free 2 day shipping, you need to pay for a yearly Amazon Prim membership ($95), and prices are just average. What they offer is incredible selection, speed and convenience. "Free" shipping, easy returns, credit card on file, good customer service, one click shopping, and almost commodity you want to buy. This is really hard to compete with.

    Selection, Speed, Convenience. What can we learn from this?
     
  4. Kwik Picture Framing

    Kwik Picture Framing Guest

    I have always found Amazon to be perfect for what I needed, and on the odd occasion that I have had issues with them they have always responded quickly and in some cases issued refunds (even though it may have been Royal Mail's fault). Customer service is everything, and I will shop at the place that makes me feel the most valued.
     
  5. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Ylva, I think this is why you are so upset. You know* the process and it makes no sense that any bookstore wouldn't take back your defective book. The fact is, it WOULD cost them to take it back. Not much, and mostly time, but I think you are not respecting that fact.

    I did a little searching and came across the following. It was in reply to someone who bought a book with 6 chapters replaced with other content previously printed in the book (emphasis added):


    Here are three levels of customer service I can envision in this situation:

    Bad customer service
    What?!?! You bought that book somewhere else and expect me to replace it?! Don't let the door hit your backside on the way out!!!

    Good customer service
    I'm sorry, but we don't offer exchanges of books not originally purchased here.

    Stellar customer service
    Sure, no problem. Let's go find you one with all the pages. We'll just swap them and send back the bad one for a refund. No paperwork needed! Thanks and have a great day.

    *unless you worked at BN in the recent past, you really are just assuming the process. You don't know how the publishing industry today. More importantly, you don't know how BN deals with defective returns and what the cost is.
     
  6. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    not sure how this applies to CUSTOM FRAMING
     
  7. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I still don't understand why not buy a replacement at the convenient B&N and pick up a refund at the original store at a convenient time. NONE of this is B&N's fault.
     
  8. Warren Tucker

    Warren Tucker MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    It would make sense if you wanted to maintain the ethical high ground gained by buying the book from Mom And Pop (at the expense of BN).
     
  9. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Ylva, you probably need a HUG about now!

    Now I can see both sides of this. As someone who never worked in a bookstore I guess I would have never thought about trying to return a defective book somewhere else. Ylva did, and so she did. Can't blame a girl for trying ( well I guess you can as evidenced by this thread )
    • So sure there would have been some "real cost" as in employee labor to do the return - then again they probably waste that much time, several times throughout the day, flirting or talking about their plans later to party.
    • She after all was "buying' a stack of other books from them - not just coming in expecting this exchange.

    As a business person herself, Ylva wasn't looking to take advantage of anyone. She was just expecting a level of service that she would try to extend to her customers. What was the real cost to NB going to be except providing good customer service.

    We all talk about "cost of customer acquisition" - this was just that opportunity - lost. Of course we could really place the blame on upper management because they should have drilled this into the heads of the employee's. Satisfy your customers.
    • Remember we weren't talking about some rude, belligerent customer

    But you say - it wasn't their problem and it would have cost them money/labor!
    • How many of us replace a wire, give out courtesy hangers or make some other little repairs at NO CHARGE in order to provide great customer service in hopes of winning that customer for life.
    • Ylva does
     
  10. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I consider myself hugged John! ;)

    And extremely grateful for your post.

    I expected a certain customer service, based on experience as a bookstore employee. This was a service that I provided while being a bookstore employee. Not just our little bookstore provided that service, every local bookstore that I knew of did. Plus all the big chain bookstores at the time. It would take a phone call to the publisher. They'd send a new book or give a credit. They knew misprints happen.

    What bothers me about this thread mostly is the personal replies. The 'what were you thinking' 'you can't be serious' kinda attitude.

    I was upfront and honest. I expected something and it was based upon personal experience.

    How you all would have solved this particular situation has nothing to do with all this.

    As a sales clerk, would you have handled this this way? Or would you have expected him or her to say, well, it's not our common policy but let me go ask my manager.

    I would have been a lot more understanding and forgiving and just have bought a replacement and returned the other to the local store when possible.

    As for Amazon being cheaper, well for most books they certainly are. Not so much other goods, but you can't beat their price on books, their super fast delivery and the convenience of it being delivered right to the door.
     
  11. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    ,Really not wanting to make this personal, Yiva. You just raised an interesting question as evidenced by the wealth of replies.

    I don't know what the return policy is for damaged or misprinted books from a large bookstore, but I do know that the parallel in framing would be a big inconvenience.

    If I were to try to return a damaged Nielsen Bainbridge ready made frame, for instance, I would have to dig up the original invoice, and if it was older than 30 days, I would be out. Believe me, I have tried with poor quality stock moulding that was unpacked from a box two months later. Then there is the pack up, ship back or wait for a call tag, track down the credit, apply the credit to a future invoice, have a go-round with the billing department, and so on. We have a two page wide spreadsheet to track each return and the process is tedious. Much of the time we just make a ready made out of the stock or put the ready-made in a box for our half-yearly sale.

    I'm sensitive to this as we have so much warped moulding going back lately, and some companies are easier to deal with than others. In fact, we are currently pulling samples from one supplier for just this reason and filling the spaces with Larson Juhl, partly because their returns are easy to deal with.

    But I digress.

    Carry on (gently)...
     
  12. Dermot Cox-Kearns

    Dermot Cox-Kearns Guest


    Where is the like button. ..
     
  13. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Thank you Kirstie, big like from me too

    I don't think there is the equivalent of a misprinted book in framing, so it is more difficult to envision.


    Does anyone here exchange items without the original receipt? For a store credit? BN does. One book is the same as the other (and believe me, I checked in this case, down to the SKU).

    I should have just said I received this as a gift, but it is a misprint, can I exchange it. I was honest. Big mistake.

    Less, as for this relating to framing, no, maybe not directly but it is about business, about customer service, about a customer's experience and personally, these threads keep me on my toes and keep me thinking about my own business.

    I constantly look at other businesses. Look at what makes them successful and how I could in a small way implement that into my own business. I also try to think like a customer, heck, I AM a customer.
     
  14. Kyle Henson

    Kyle Henson CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I don't understand the continued use of "being honest" as a defense to not getting the desired result in this situation. I can lie about things all day long and get what I want but that doesn't make it right. It's called a civilized society. Honestly, this thread needs to be put out of it's misery.:cry:
     
  15. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    No lying to get what you want in a 'civilized society'?
    Good one.
     
  16. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Kyle, I think the point to be made was, liars get what they want because they lie, while those that tell the truth often get the door. (Of course being an honest person has its own rewards in other ways)
     
  17. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Wow, that is harsh. You don't have to read this thread but so far it is still pretty civilized, and this coming from the one who did feel a little hurt and got over it.
     
  18. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    I would never take something "back" to a store I didn't buy it from, and I certainly wouldn't fault that store for declining the hassle of handling the "return" or "exchange" of something they didn't sell. It's worth a try, I guess, but if they say no, that's no reflection on them at all. Did you try returning the book to Nordstrom?
     
  19. mbboston

    mbboston CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    B&N current return/exchange policy is very simple and clear: they need a receipt in order to exchange an item or give you a refund.

    It doesn't matter if customer has an honest, or dishonest story, it is irrelevant what policies B&N used to have once upon a time or if you ever worked at a bookstore. You may not like new return policies, but there is no reason to blame employees for anything, they did what they were told (and paid) to do and followed the company rules.
     
  20. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    perhaps an interesting turn might be on howeach of us might have handled the situation had we been in her shoes

    Me? if little Johnny was intent on reading right then, I would have gone to BN, bought new one and taken back misprint, at my leisure, to original seller. I might try calling and let them know that it might awhile

    then, of course original seller could have been a Rock Star by saying "No problem, Bob, we'll credit your card right now. Bring it back when you come this way. And for your trouble, I'll make sure we have a little surprise for you"

    Then wecould all be talking about great customer service

    And, if that did happen, I'd sure show up with a dozen Krispy Kremes
     
  21. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Bob, :thumbsup:
     
  22. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    What got to me most was not so much their policies or their refusal to exchange an item.

    Yes, I agree that policies change. From my own personal experience, I had an expectation. I do realize that none of you would have thought like me but you can't blame me for that. I had an expectation, wrong maybe, but I didn't think anything of it since this was the policy when I worked at the bookstore.
    Not that hard to understand if you take the time and try to put yourselves in my shoes. There was no intention of hurting anyone, taking advantage or anything.

    If the sales clerk would have been a little more customer oriented, explained things, made a little effort to maybe involve a manager or anything, I would have bought the book there, gone back to the original store and bought more books.

    The title of my thread is the no customer service experience. I did not in any way experience ANY customer service.

    I don't sell any ready made frames. What if the manufacturer would tell you there is a major recall on an item, for whatever reason but there is a replacement available.

    A customer comes in with said item, purchased 1000 miles away. You carry the replacement item. The manufacturer will reimburse you, or replace the frame for you. Would you refuse?
     
  23. Kev@Frames

    Kev@Frames CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    From YVLA's viewpoint as the customer, I think it reflects the higher expectations these days that customers have got used to. Customer service now depends on what the customer thinks is better than fair.

    would I have exchanged the book under the same circumstances if I ran a bookshop?
    Yes probably, if asked. If it costs nothing to help someone out, why not. I think that customers in general realise this as well, and appreciate it.

    But would I expect my staff to do the same if I weren't there to OK it? That's a tough one. I don't think it was bad customer service at all. Just no special customer service. Asking a manager would have shown that someone seemed to care and wanted to help at least, which is what it is about, even if they knew the manager would say no.

    They missed a good opportunity to show that the store could give outstanding customer service if they wanted to.

    As YVLA touched on Amazon earlier: Amazons mantra is "start at the customer and work back". It seems to work for them.
     
  24. FramerCat

    FramerCat SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I don’t sell readymades either so my opinion might not be relevant, but no, as a policy, I probably wouldn’t make the exchange. I wouldn’t want to give away a product that I stock in exchange for a potential credit for the purchase price. If I bought the product to stock I must have done so because I thought I could sell it. If it’s not on my shelf I’m not going to sell it. It becomes a big waste of my time which is very valuable to me. I will have wasted time when I ordered it, and when I attempt the return. However long I have to wait to replenish my supply is tying up my cash flow. Now keep in mind that I’m a small independent business so I reserve the right to change my mind at any time and for any reason. If it were a good customer or somebody that is spending a lot of money or even if they ask really nicely I might do it. That’s the advantage we have over the big boxes. We can change our policy whenever we want, they can’t.

    Ed
     
  25. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    My thoughts on why B&N said no. (Aside from not even delving into the situation long enough to have an understanding of what Ylva was asking them to do)

    In today's age of chain wide inventory control taking in a book that was never in their stream to begin with will throw their inventory numbers off. Their chain wide computer system would should a book in Newburyport that isn't there. So someone will ask for a book in an out of stock store and be told Newburyport has it only to find out that it isn't there either and they have to go to Newbury Street... Or Woburn.

    I think in the old days you would have just grabbed a book off the shelf and "pretended" that the book in Ylva's hand was that book you took off the shelf and called the publisher and shipped Ylva's book back. No one would have known the wiser. A book is a book is a book, mentality. Today a book is a book is a unique number in a proprietary tracking program potentially at least).

    Idea number 2. If there was a misprint then the publisher will want to know which other boxes they shipped may potentially also have the same misprint. Their tracking software knows which boxes went where. Now when B&N store #682 says they have a misprint then maybe the publisher wants to know if there are more to get recalled. The indy store might have bought a partial box of books, so the misprints in the indy's box may be in a consolidating order center.

    I am assuming that when 10,000 books are printed at once and one is wrong that more are also wrong. If I set my (non existant) CMC to cut 100 mats and one turns out to be "wrong" ie the customer ordered an 8 by 10 opening and wanted a 10 by 8 or a 7.5 by 9.5 opening I would assume that all the mats were "off" in the customers eye... When things are made in bulk errors tend to be together don't they? When I had cut 200 sand blasting stencils by hand and had a bad day it wasn't limited to one mistake but a series at once...
     
  26. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I wouldn't be surprised that, unless it was a shipment of defective books, that the local B&N just eats the one book loss - I doubt that their supply chain handles single book returns.
     
  27. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    that could well be true Pat, I don't bother getting credits for defective stock if it is low value, it would cost me more in time to sort it out.
     
  28. hangupsgallery

    hangupsgallery MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Wow....one thousand,nine hundred & seventy three (1973) views and seventy eight (78) replies on this thread so far...... Just goes to show the power of the disgruntled customer. Imagine what it would be if she was really ticked off. That's why it's important to nip these things in the bud before they explode, no matter what the cost or inconvenience.:popc:
     
  29. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Yes. Have you ever had a customer come in who had worked as a framer previously and proceeded to tell you how to do their framing and how easy it is to do this and how that shouldn't cost much? How much did you enjoy that?

    Sorry you feel piled on but you asked for opinions. You had to know going in that not everyone would agree with you.
     
  30. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Sigh

    The only reason I mentioned it was to explain WHY I had those expectations as everyone has been quick to point out how idiotic I was thinking. Which is not true and which is why I tried to explain why I came to that expectation.

    If this sales clerk had treated me better, gave me a little bit of his time, would have listened to me, I would have had NO problem at all even if I couldn't exchange the book there and have happily bought the other books there.

    I simply did not experience ANY customer service, hence the not buying anything else there.

    How many of us do get customers in with requests that in our opinion are completely idiotic? We all get them. You can't help those people maybe, but you can still take time to listen to them, hear them out, be friendly, civilized as we all know that although it might be a bit of a silly request (and that is only ones own personal opinion), this customer might turn out to be a great customer in the long run.

    Well, let's take that back. It seems not many people know how to be friendly anymore.
     
  31. Dermot Cox-Kearns

    Dermot Cox-Kearns Guest

    Maybe your expectations are set a bit high...
     
  32. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Dermot that may be very true. I have a feeling that Ylva expected to be treated the way she treats her customers. The Golden Rule is to treat others as you would be treated.

    You all can fault her for expecting to be treated with respect. If this is how she treats her customers thene I would feel honored to be her customer. Obviously she goes out of her way to listen and then do what she can for her fellow man.

    My issue has been with B&N all along. They trained their workers to not care. If the chain policy was 'customer first' then they would have at least listened before saying 'no can do'. Imo the policy s get them in get them out. In restaurants we called it turning tables. The faster you get customers in and iut the faster they can give you a tip... They were just turning tables and not serving her needs or wants. Good for the immeduate bottom line but not for the customer.
     
  33. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Very true! But at our shop we don't roll over to unreasonable requests; we do work very hard to politely explain why we make certain decisions.

    Case in point: A customer recently asked for an email quote on a 24 x 36 frame. We quoted $XX. When she later called to say the piece was now going to be 48 x 56, she was offered a quote for her agency approval, but she said no, that the job was a rush, and to just charge her card through, which she read to us over the phone. This bill for this size was $XXX. She picked up the work and all was fine. Then two weeks later she wrote to me to complain that she was overcharged. I tried to call her, failed to reach her, and emailed to very politely explained that when something is almost twice the size as the art for the original quote, the price goes up. We tried to give her a quote, but she was in a huge rush and did not stay on the phone for it. We braced ourselves for an online complaint or a chargeack, but she wrote back to thank us for listening to her and for fully explaining the charges.

    There are ways to say no to someone and often still make them happy. Listening and making sure the person in question is heard goes a long way. As Yiva has pointed out multiple times on this thread, no one listened to her. Of course this goes for customers, employees, friends, and family as well.

    There are so many related topics in this thread, it could generate several different discussions. We need to take the discussion away from Yiva, and concentrate on what we can learn from what happened.
     
  34. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You know that????

    I've always been treated well at B&N stores. I don't shop there any more because it doesn't make sense to drive 20 miles each way to pay more than Amazon's price for physical books, and I acquired a Kindle before they got into the ebook business.
     
  35. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Thank you Bob and Kirstie.

    Dermot, yes, maybe my expectations were high. I am used to be treated friendly and with respect. I went into the BN, with a smile, a friendly greeting and after browsing a little bit, went to the customer service desk and said: "hi, I have a bit of a problem and not sure if you can help me with this. I bought this book, somewhere else, and it is a misprint. Is there anything you can do to help me".

    What this clerk heard was 'I bought it somewhere else' and refused to even think a second about anything. It was a straight 'no I can't help you'.


    This thread has demonstrated more and more that it is all about the attitude. Most of you have gotten to know me over the years and I think that was why I was a bit shocked with the very harsh posts like I was totally crazy.


    How do you treat your own customers?

    For example, lately I have had a few people walk in to see if I have free wi-fi. You can just answer 'no' and leave it at that and think, what a stupid question how dare they.

    I tell them 'no' but always ask if there is something I can do as I do have internet access and can look something up for them. I don't know why they come into my store to ask for free wi-fi. I just know that they did and it doesn't cost me anything to be friendly. Oh no, of course...I forgot....it's time so it does cost me. :icon45:
     
  36. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Pat, I always had good experiences with BN in the past. Like you, it doesn't make sense to drive half an hour to the closest BN to pay more for the same book that I can get from Amazon. My local bookstore is not that close, but same price as BN, so I simply have no reason to shop there anymore unless I am close to one and need a book right away, which does happen with kids, book groups and our library not always having enough copies.
     
  37. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Read my first post.

    Been to book stores a lot as I am a member of a book family. Small bookstore employees tend to work there because they are "into" books. The small, indy book sellers know their stock and what is out there. They can help you find a new book, an old book, usually with little help on the consumer's part. People have asked my wife, they have asked Kelly (a friend of ours from that same bookstore) for "the red book" or "the first one by that new author"... and Kelly and my wife and their fellow employees were able to find the book or find two or three books that the person could then choose from. Go to B&N and ask for an obscure book. 9 times out of 10 they won't be able to help. My wife has asked for books by name, by author and the staff at B&N can't help. They go to the stacks they go to the computer and often will spell the authors name wrong.

    I have been asked to find a molding to match one "that looks like this but more gold..." Or that is "about so wide and maybe this tall" and I have been able to find something that is similar to what they are looking for. I am sure you have had similar experiences. Go to a BB frame store and ask the person working the frame counter that day for a frame about 1 1/2" wide and 2" tall and see what you get.

    It's the difference between caring and being indifferent. You care, I care Ylva cares; the employee clocking time until the next pay check does not. There may well be a worker or two at a BB that cares and goes above and beyond but they do not make up the bulk of the staff at a BB bookstore. Have you been in a health food store and asked for an herb that is supposed to help with some malady or some cold symptom? Almost all employees there will have some knowledge about the powers of herbs, supplements and teas. Ask someone in the grocery store the same kind of question. Ask someone at Krogers what the difference between acai berries and quinoa and which has a better influence on your chi. I think your question will entertain the break room for weeks :) Ask it at a health food store and you will probably get an answer then be given "better" alternatives.

    I shop at B&N, but I don't look for help finding a book there. When I go to River Run books in Portsmouth the person ringing up my order will ask if I have read other books by that author and will probably give me a book or two to think about as the next book to read. If I am looking to buy a book as a gift River run will ask what the person I am buying for reads and will try to fine tune the selection. B&N will lead me to the sale table.
     
  38. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Sadly though, the BN that I used to go to (not this one) was more like a local bookstore. Staffed with people who knew their books, made recommendations.

    No longer though, that changed about 2 years ago.
     
  39. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Bob, I still challenge that assertion that they TRAIN their workers not to care.
     
  40. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    ...or how about they DON'T train their workers and THAT is why they don't care.

    I miss the local book store.. Mr. Paperback.

    The owner decided it wasn't worth trying to compete with online and closed ALL of the stores in Maine a couple of years ago.

    My Mom is in a nursing home and likes to read Harlequin romantic suspense novels and the bookstore had my name in their computer for automatic order every month. When the books came in, they would call me and I would pick them up.

    THAT'S customer service!!

    Now i have to go online to the Harlequin site and pick them out every other month for her.
     
  41. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Thanks Ralph,

    I think Pat is just bored and wants me to be typing away at my keyboard for his entertainment :)

     
  42. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I'm just curious if Yvla had the same experience at any of the other bookstores in Glouscester attempting the same return after she left B&N

    Not piling on but i'm guessing that would have been a difficult endeavor at any store

    In my foggy recollection I can only think of one store where that probably would have happened-Nordstrom

    But, I agree with Pat. I can't imagine any trainer, especially in a larger operation, suggesting indifference. Or, worse bad service

    On a more constructive note

    we used to do a lot of Market Research (shop competition). The main reason was was to highlight to 'new' employees two things: one was a meaningful exercise to convince them of actual prices in the market place (virtually every new hire had the perception that prices for framing were higher than a cat's back. the drill confirmed that our prices were competitive)

    The other purpose was to have them observe 'customer' service. To see good, where they were instructed to share the positive experience with staff to see if we could learn from it, but also the bad. You wouldn't believe the bad. Most common response from our staff was 'they couldn't work here' and two most common reasons? Person helping at counter seemed to be in rush to get back to work project in back and counter help never engaging in listening to prospective client

    it's easy to say that's not true in 'our shop', but hire a 'mystery shopper' service ( or get a friend of afriend ) to test that assertion by shopping you. I promise it will be 'eye opening'

    Unintended consequence: if staff had an inkling of the drill, they all stepped up their game. My key was to make that the typical reaction

    Try it
     
  43. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Bob, I still have that misprinted copy as I simply have not had any time to return it.


    I am very tempted to do some experimenting and see how other bookstores or any other store where that book is sold, would react. I am afraid that everyone would chew me out further though and it makes no sense if I couldn't post about that experiment.


    Another thing that strikes me. Mostly guys have answered on this thread. How many of you are the main shoppers in your household????

    We have always thrown birthday parties for our kids, with a lot of their friends bringing them gifts. More often than not, you get doubles, sometimes triples of the same gifts and no gift receipt to return it. What do you do? Anyone who has ever been in that same situation, tell me what you did?

    I have often just gone to a store where they sold those items and explained the exact same thing as I did at the BN except for the not knowing where it came from. I have always received a store credit. ALWAYS.

    Still think I am unreasonable or my expectations were too high?
     
  44. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    here in the uk most shops will give you a gift receipt, so it can be returned if such a thing were to happen, how is the store to know you haven't just stolen it from a nearby store or even their own store and want a credit ?
     
  45. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I've been asking for a gift reciept from LifeSaver :) I think that would be a great thing, especially around XMas time...
     
  46. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    No, Bob, you made an unfair accusation. I know you are a supporter of Mom and Pop brick and mortar. So am I, but from a consumer point of view, they will not survive selling "commodity" products that are exactly the same as available everywhere else. B&N grew selling the same books for less, with more choice in the store. B&N and other BBs losing now to on-line sellers [Amazon] because the same books cost less, and browsing and delivery are more convenient, even more so with ebooks. Life goes on and books cost less.

    Extra service lets the commodity selling little store hang on a bit longer, but the issue in this thread is returning a book to a store that one didn't buy it from. It would be interesting to test the issue with returning a B&N book to the local store. They might actually be desperate enough in today's market to make the exchange, but I wouldn't criticize their "service" if they refused, and won't criticize B&N for it either.

    (I'm one of the little guys, too, but I can't criticize customers that don't buy framed poster prints from me for $350 when they can get something that appears the same for $99 at Home Goods or on-line. As a 70 year old in a one man business, I'll keep on trucking as long as the specialty niche I'm in remains profitable. I'm not inclined to go the route of Warren or Jeff - the way to beat the BBs at their own game.)
     
  47. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    That's where you missed the point. I think if you had gotten the point then you and I would be closer to being in agreement. The point was customer service, not returning the book. Ylva went into the B&N and was not given the chance to be heard. (What I called indifference in my first post)

    She told how she could not return the book, which had I owned a small bookstore I might have had trouble doing as well. But I also might have weighed the 1/2 hour of hassle against the sale of 8 books. Also the fact that the book was missing the first bunch of pages, something that a customer had no control over... would have weighed in Ylva's favor.

    I did make assumptions when I read Ylva's OP. I could see not taking back a book bought elsewhere, but not a defective book... so I assumed that they had not looked at the book. An assumption I made based on my experience with B&N (on the many I had been in, I do buy books there, and Amazon and little bookstores, like the great store in Camden). I have not been quiet about my bias against B&N's customer service and the employees' lack of knowledge of books. So that did play a part in my response. But I did respond with my perspective, and the visual of a customer, kids in tow, a stack of books and one defective book in brand new condition would have weighed in on my decision.... Still not sure how I would have handled it, but I would have listened. If the book was relatively cheap, ie under 10-15 that's one thing but if it was a $50 book, well, as a small shop owner I better recognize her as a repeat customer :)

    She would have gotten the elusive "customer service" not sure about a return... :shrug:
     
  48. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I hear you Yvla and the only real distinction might be the fact the book was not re-saleable. Your chances of a beter 'customer service experience' might have gone up exponentially had it been 'ready for sale'. just saying

    Extra gifts that were not needed (or the sweatshirt with something really stupid like 'Of course I'm right, I'm BOB'-actually got one) just end up in so many garage sales or clothing drives for me. Or watch a Seinfeld re-run on Re-Gifting

    Caution: Bob Story

    A few years back, i had a humongous garage sale where the rule was 'if i hadn't worn it, used it, played it in a year' it probably went on sale. Sale was a huge affair and a lady came up fron Viet Nam Vets asking if anything that wasn't sold, they would gladly pick up. After sale, there were some barking spiders left. one was a pink sports coat, several Frame Up polo shirts and a pair of black and white wing tipped tasseled loafers (don't ask)

    I keep thinking i'll be driving downtown and see some poor homeless guy by the shelter wearing all that stuff LOL
     
  49. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    So I have been watching this thread play out for a while.

    Anybody that has been on the G for a while knows that Ylva is as sweet a person as anybody would want to be around. She has never displayed any sense of entitlement here so I would assume the same is true in her daily life.

    Ylva has worked in bookstores before so she knows the process of swapping defective books from the business standpoint. She did not walk in and say exchange this item and that's all I need from you to BN. All major retailers have procedures in place to handle this simple item and she was buying additional items at the time she asked. Everyday BN has a load of books delivered and a load of books headed back for one reason or another.

    It's a shame she didn't get a manager in the middle of this one at the store. My wife deals with a large group of associates who handle these items daily and the one thing she repeats constantly is for her people to "Take Care of the Customer". Since she is with WM you can only imagine how many scammers come in on a daily basis but how do you tell the customers from the scammers. WM has a system in place that will eliminate the scammers before long and it is not the associates job to judge who is a con artist and who is not.

    The one thing she has to keep reminding the associates is that the money in the register is not their money it belongs to WM. WM wants to take care of the customer but often times an employee decides to not follow the protocol set up in the system. The system will catch the con artists so the associates need to just follow the procedures to "Take Care of the Customer".

    Now if Ylva was trying to return a dress or shoes to the big bookstore that would be an issue. Swapping out a defective copy of an identical item is not a problem until an employee turns it into a problem.
     
  50. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Right. I think that's what I said was the issue. I don't see that employees conforming to store policy over this issue as bad customer service warranting "punishing" the store by aborting planned book buying. Just my opinion...
     
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