When I was looking on my online banking site late on Sunday night to see if a client’s payment had cleared, I saw something I didn’t expect to see – a $100 charge from our local Franklin Covey store.
Now, I wasn’t completely surprised, I did go there, and I did buy a new bag, this one to be exact, but I wasn’t supposed to be charged for the $100. I had the man at the store split the payment between a $100 Visa card I had received from my in-laws (thank you Lohnes squad!) and to put the balance remainder (about $15) on my business card. I signed the $15 receipt, had the man throw away my (what I thought to be) useless Visa gift card and walked away happy to have a new bag for $15. But what I saw on my online statement was that I had been charged the $15 that I was expecting AND the $100 that should have been placed on the gift card.
Me = Livid
Ok, I thought, I’ll take the bag, receipt and gift card back to the store, explain the situation, have him give my business card back the $100 and take the $100 off of the gift card. Oh wait, I had the guy throw it away…
Me = Dumb
Now what? Am I going to go in, explain the situation to what probably will be a different cashier and they are just going to TRUST that I’m telling the truth? A week had passed since I purchased the bag, so it’s not like I can go dumpster diving for the gift card. I don’t want to return the bag, I like the bag. And if I return it, I’m still out the $100 gift card that is in some Columbus landfill right now ready to be picked up by some lucky raccoon that is going on a massive raccoon spending spree. What would a raccoon buy on a shopping spree…?
So I stewed overnight, ready for a customer service war. I was going to march in there, polite as could be and when things turned for the worse (as I was assured they would) I had several outs in my back pocket and was going to bring the proverbial pain.
The next morning I drove across Columbus to the Franklin Covey Store. It was such a beautiful January morning, and I knew that inside a unpleasant scenario was waiting to happen. I felt almost like Reservoir Dogs when Mr. Blonde walks outside to a peaceful day while there is so much awfulness going on inside.
Anyway, so there I was, ready for battle as I walked into the store. As I looked up, it was the same (very pleasant, older) man that I dealt with a week before. Good, I thought, because maybe he’ll remember my story and things will go smooth. Or, if things go bad, I can shame him into making things right, since it was his fault in the first place (again, please know that I’m a generally nice person, just not when things don’t go my way – a only child syndrome thing I suppose).
This is a small shop in the middle of a small community, so he was the only one working on a Monday AM and of course there was a line. So I had time to rehearse my speech. “Listen Old Man River – give me my $100 or I will write a letter to your manager!” sorts of things were really going to get my money back. (My wife is somewhere cringing right now, because she knows I would have said that as a 29 year old man just to get my point across that I mean business mister!)
At last, it was my turn. The man was typing his log-in information into his computer as he asked, “How can I help you?” I went with into polite mode to start, ready to transition to evil-John. I explained the situation, and how he was the one who had made the mistake last week. He didn’t seem to remember it happening, which worried me. I was getting ready to pull out my big guns as he started click-clicking away on his computer. He asked if I had the original card and I told him that although he threw away my gift card (on my request, but I left that detail out), I had the other card on me. Click click click click.
The longer I waited for him to say something, I became worried that he thought I wanted to return the bag. I almost said something in the middle of his concentrating on what he was typing, but I didn’t want to break the train of thought if it was going in the right direction. I also became aware that there was quite a line behind me, and I was “that guy.” At least I wasn’t paying with a check though, right? Click click click click.
Then, after what probably seemed like hours to the people behind me, he said to me “You’ll actually be getting $6.75 back on your card.” I told him that I didn’t want to return the bag, I just wanted my $100 back. Then, in what still floors me, he said – “You’ll be getting $106.75 back on your card because of the taxes, I’m sorry that I made the mistake last week, I’m not sure what happened there.”
No battling? No arguing? Just a feeble, quiet, honest, polite apology? What are you doing to me Jim? I want to fight over this, shame you into conceding, then win – not you just admit your mistake and make it right! Don’t you know how this was supposed to go? He had me sign a couple of receipts and apologized several times while I was doing so.
I wanted to come across the counter and give this man a big hug. Customer service like this is only in fairy tales. I presented no real evidence of my story, he trusted me (or remembered and didn’t let on) and made things right.
I went from a long time Franklin Covey customer to a potential problem and now am not only still a Franklin Covey customer, I am going to put this out there in the hopes they get even more business. They obviously have put people in place to take care of their customers and that’s what business is really all about. I hope we can all learn something from Jim.
Now me on the other hand, I got this brand new $130 bag technically for $9. If I am able to recover the $100 (or any part of it) from the unused-lost gift card, I’ll be sending it right back to the company. I don’t want to steal from a company that takes care of their customers like this. I had thought of getting something for Jim, but he seems like the kind of guy who would just refuse a gift. But I hope the company recognizes him doing a great job. I’ll update this post with progress, if there is any.