April 7, 2006

Customer Service - is the customer always right?

Businesses, on AND offline, both have policies to cover their asses one way or another. To be more specific the return policy. Take a look at the statistic below, which by now is much higher:
"2000 holiday season exceeded $1 billion, and return rates for many online retailers are much higher than in prior years -- reaching as high as 20 to 30 percent for many retailers"

Given that information, wouldn't it seem that most customers "know" basic return policies? Something along the lines of this:

"You must inspect all items upon arrival and if you have any problems or questions, you have 30 days to get a return authorization."

Now I know that ONLINE differs from OFFLINE in many, many ways, but how can some of the people that return things in retail stores not have any clue how the system works, or that if something goes wrong with said return that it is usually the computer system itself not allowing the return and not the customer service rep's mistake?

Lady brings in a blouse that she claims has never been worn. Taking that into consideration, the customer service rep takes a glance "just to make sure" and sees a yellow spot on the front and it smells of smoke. Something along the lines of a bad night at the bar. Anyways, the lady doesn't have a receipt either. Well this specific store policy (written on the receipt and displayed at the service desk) states that without one, you get in-store credit instead. Kind of a way to stick it to the customer and make them learn to keep the receipt to get cash back, now they have to shop in the store only. Oh well. Now she is upset cause she wants the cash. After getting all huffy she takes the card and leaves.

The problem with this issue is that if a customer does NOT have a receipt how is the store sure it came from there? There are people out there stealing from one store and returning that item at another. It's something that will always be around.

My point is that if all these people are returning items, why is it such a surprise when they can't get cash back, or return the item cause it's 8 months old?

Just blows my mind and I am sure it's a scam type of thing and most of the customers are playing stupid, I've done it myself.