On 11/8/10 I received an email entitled “COUPON & Picks for You!” which detailed a special offer: buy Josh Groban’s “Hidden Away” single for $1.33 with coupon and get a coupon for Josh Groban’s upcoming “Illuminations” at $9.99. My wife likes Groban so I planned on getting this for her.
Today 11/10/10 I went into the Borders store at Superstition Springs today and this single was not in store. I walked around the store to see if it was misplaced but it wasn’t in store at all. I asked the cashier (Peg) about it and she had never heard of this offer, nor could she be of any more assistance than just pointing out the two places where CDs were being displayed. This was very disappointing as I made a special trip over there just to purchase this.
The online Borders.com customer commitment regarding the “In-Stock Promise” is useless as a search for the single on the site yielded no results either. Why send out offers if they don’t plan on allowing customers to purchase the items?
So, I sent a note to their customer service explaining the above (verbatim). The form I filled out also included my address. This is what I got back just a few minutes ago:
Thank you for contacting Borders.
I apologize for the inconvenience this have [sic] caused you. I highly suggest that please try other Borders stores nearest your place, please be reminded that the offer is not valid at Borders Express and Waldenbooks stores.
For an online listing of all U.S. locations please view our store locator at:
Thank you for shopping in Borders. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.800.770.7811.
Borders Customer Care
And below the email was my original note along with my name, address, the store I tried going to and the words “Contact Customer: Yes”.
When I read that email, I was sorely disappointed. One, I was disappointed with the fact that “Customer Service” was just blowing me off. Two, I was disappointed with the fact that “Customer Service” apparently does not have English as its first language (“…this have caused you…”, “…highly suggest that please try…”, “…please be reminded…”) Three, I was disappointed with the fact that, sadly, Borders apparently cannot keep up with its peer (Barnes and Noble).
So I responded:
[name redacted] (and anyone else that may be reading), I understand that you are probably very busy and so could not take the time to determine that the Borders I went to _IS_ the nearest to my location – which already is 13 miles from my house. Your suggestion, which may make sense if you don’t take the time to look at Google maps, would force me to drive over to West Mesa (Arizona), which is another 11 miles from the previous Borders; or, I should instead drive to South Chandler, which is “only” 23.5 miles away from my house, thus saving that extra half-mile. I filled out the form that included my address and zip code – it’s even at the bottom of this email!!! – so you had the opportunity to definitely do some checking; your website stated that you would respond in the next 48 hours, so you had time to research. As a customer service representative, you’re supposed to be listening to the customer’s needs and determining what’s best for the customer.
Instead, you’re telling me “too bad, go to another store and hope they have it.” And if they don’t have it, well, golly, I’m out of luck or else I have to drive even farther.
Your whole “In-Stock” promise is apparently nothing but smoke and mirrors. I have a Barnes and Noble closer to Borders, but I had stuck with Borders out of loyalty to the brand dating back to when it was just Waldenbooks in my hometown. I was one of the first to sign up for the Rewards program when it was first offered over five years ago – I still have the old silver and red striped card. Apparently, that loyalty is misguided. You’re sending me coupons and offers I can do nothing with – look at my Rewards account activity over the last six months (1 time, and that was today) and you’ll see what I’m saying is very much true. When you finally send me something that I actually WANT, I can’t use it because not only is it not in stock, but the online store doesn’t carry it either and the customer service tells me to “go to another store”.
Well, I will, thank you very much. From now on, I’ll be shopping at Barnes and Noble. At least when they don’t have something in store, their customer service offers to find it or order it and ship it to me free and doesn’t tell me to drive around the Phoenix suburbs until I find a store that has it. I’ll also make sure my friends and family see this on Facebook; maybe it’ll cause Borders to change how they approach their Rewards program members. Too bad that I had to be the “test case”.
So, for all those reading this (all ten of you), don’t shop at Borders any more. It’s just not worth it. Go join the B&N rewards program instead and save your hard-earned money.
—- FOLLOWUP 11/11/10:
Received a final email from Customer Service:
Thank you for taking the time to contact Borders with your comments.
I apologize that our site did not meet your expectations. We do not want to lose you as a customer and hope that you will give us another try.
We want to thank you for taking the time to give us detailed feedback regarding our website. We value and rely on feedback so that we can evaluate our programs and services and make changes to best meet our customers’ needs.
We do not want to lose you as a customer and hope that you will give the Borders Rewards Program a try. Please feel free to contact us with any other questions or comments.
My expectation (singular) is that if you advertise something, you’ll have it in stock. Pretty simple. If you can’t do that, then I’ll go elsewhere with my money.
My expectation for your Customer Service is much higher. Even though I’ve referenced the touted “In Stock Promise”, Customer Service is showing that it really is just meaningless promotional drivel. NO attempt has been made to follow through and find the items. NO attempt has been made to show me that Borders actually cares about making it right – they’ve got the systems in place to look up other stores and find the items and then have the items sent to the closest store. And absolutely NO attempt has been made to apologize for the previous Customer Service person’s misguided and unhelpful comments.
Like I said, no way am I ever shopping there again.