A week ago, see, I used the "Contact Us" feature on Vitamamin World's website to submit this here:
I was excited to use my 40% off in-store-only coupon and drove all the way to the Maplewood (Minnesota) Mall on Tuesday night.
I walked in to the store and the employee was away from the register, talking on the phone to a customer. I found the item I wanted, placed it on the checkout counter, and waited. And then waited and waited and waited while the employee stayed on the phone, not once acknowledging my presence with an "I'll be right with you" nor even with as much as eye contact. He finally ambled up the register, still without as much as eye contact, and his phone convo continued on for long enough for me to doubt that his coming to the register had anything to do with my presence there.
I walked out of the store, having wasted a lot of gasoline, time, and self-respect.
This morning, I received this here:
Thank you for contacting Vitamin World.
On behalf of Vitamin World, I apologize for the inconvenience you experienced and thank you for bringing it to our company’s attention. Please be assured that we take our customers’ feedback very seriously. A copy of your e-mail has been forwarded to the District Manager for this location. The District Manager will be in contact with you to discuss this situation.
We value all of our customers and appreciate you taking the time to report your experience to us. We hope that you might continue to trust us with your nutritional needs in the future.
I observe I am not the angry, piss-and-vinegar type guy I used to be; frankly, the whole "I apologize" together with the deferential "We hope that you might continue to trust us" bit kinda ties everything up in a bow, right there. I guess maybe the older you get the more you realize there's not much more you should try to extract from people.
Which is why I'm not super-happy about this email, which arrived about a half hour later:
Good morning Mr. stud,
My name is bla and I am the district manager for the Maplewood Mall location. I received an email from our customer service department outlying an unpleasant experience you had there. First, I would like to apologize that you did have an unpleasant experience, but I would like the opportunity to make it right.
I would like to take a few moments to speak with you at your earliest convenience or if you could provide me with your number, I would be more than happy to contact you when it is most convenient for you.
Please feel free to call me at (903) bla, this number is my cell phone and always on. If by chance I am with a customer and am not able answer, I will return the call immediately.
I look forward to speaking with you soon.
OK... so let's say I call the guy... what should I expect? How should I react?
I had a customer service catastrophe with Eddie Bauer...actually about 14 years ago now; sheesh - but it was that memorably catastrophic, actually. At one of the low points in that protracted episode, a gal from their corporate hq in Seattle called me with great despondency in her voice, wailing, "I would like to make this up to you!!! What can I do?!???" I told her I'd call her back, which I never did, because I couldn't envision me doing anything but brow-beating her until I was to encounter the limits of human brow-beatability. (I got an impressively composed letter from her a week or two later, but I didn't respond. for the same reason that I didn't call.)
And now here I am again: Owed something.
I am so scared of being a jerk when on the phone with this District Manager type person.
How do you handle it when a retailer/service provider/airline wrongs you and is trying to make it right? How do they make it right?
[Edited 2013-02-27 23:29:41]