Very nice customer service

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Society
April 27th, 2004 • 3:44 am

A few weeks ago, I placed an order at for a CD that was going to be released on April 20th. Since offers free shipping for orders above $39, I thought I’d add a couple of other things I was interested in in order to exceed that limit. I added a paperback and another CD, both of which had the mention “Usually ships within 24 hours“.

To my surprise, April 20th came and went and I didn’t receive the usual notification that my order had been shipped.

Today, I received another type of e-mail from explaining that there was an unexpected delay of 4 to 6 weeks on the other CD that I had added to my order. Since the free shipping offer is only available if you choose to let only ship your order once all items are ready, that meant that my entire order (including the CD released on April 20th) was going to be delayed by a month or so.

I really didn’t want to wait that long for the CD released on April 20th, so I went to my account page to see what I could do about it. The page let me cancel individual items in my order, but of course if I cancelled that other CD, the order total would be less than $39 and I would no longer get free shipping. I was perfectly willing to replace the delayed CD with another item in order to bring the total back above $39 — but there didn’t seem to be the facility to do so on the account page. The help page, however, did mention somewhere that “adding items to existing orders” was not available at this time and invited customers to use the “Contact Us” page instead.

So I removed the delayed CD from the order, which, as expected, put the total under $39 and resurrected the shipping charges. Then I proceeded to the “Contact Us” page and submitted a request explaining the situation and giving a reference to another paperback for sale at that I would like to add to my order instead in order to bring the total back above $39.

The “Contact Us” page says that you usually get an answer within 24 hours. I got an answer within a couple of hours… and it was a really nice one too. First, they apologized for not offering a facility to add to an existing order at this time, and said they were planning on adding it soon. Then they told me that, unfortunately, it was too late to add to my order because it was already in the process of being shipped. But they said that they had already credited my VISA account with the amount corresponding to the shipping charges for that order, and they invited me to place a separate order for this other paperback that I was interested in and then get back to them with a note so that they could waive the shipping charges on that other order too!

Now that’s what I call customer service. It was all done via the web and e-mail, as befits an on-line store, and it was done very quickly too! In addition, they made sure that I would not be penalized at all for the fact that I wanted to take advantage of the free shipping offer.

I can only compare this to my experience with last year, where I was denied the use of a 20% coupon because I made a mistake in my credit card’s expiration date — it had changed recently and I had forgotten to change it in my account information. I placed the order with the 20% discount with the expired credit card, which was rejected, and when I placed the order again with the proper credit card information, I was told that the coupon was no longer valid because it had already been used! I ended up having to phone, and was given instructions over the phone on what to do to get my discount. But even after that, I was unable to obtain the discount. I kept getting semi-generic e-mails from Chapters’ customer service saying, “Regretfully, we are unable to issue a credit to your order, ORxxxxxx, as it did not meet the requirements of the coupon.” — this, in spite of the fact that I had been told on the phone that I could obtain the discount on my order.

It was much more painful to deal with (waiting on the phone, repeated e-mail messages getting only generic responses, etc.), and I never even got my discount!

Needless to say, I haven’t bought anything from since then.

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