Fair is Fair

April 28, 2011

Last night, I ordered my office supplies online (late at night) from the store where I always order them:  Office Depot (www.OfficeDepot.com).  Let me preface this story by saying Office Depot isn’t an advertiser, nor am I one of their advertising affiliates.  I receive absolutely nothing from what I say about them:  good or bad.

I like doing business with them because I love ordering office supplies, and I enjoy ordering them from Office Depot online. The supplies arrive within a day or so and get this — usually in the catalogue I order from, there’s a “free gift” for ordering online.

I’m not someone who takes anything I can get if it’s for free.  I only take that which I want, like and need.  I also know there’s no such thing as a free lunch (an old therapy slogan meaning for every behavior there’s a consequence).

Because of my travels, because my mailbox in Malibu sits on the street open to any passers-by hands, and because one of my concerns is identity theft, I don’t have mail come to my address.  The problem with this is, I don’t receive the catalogues that have the “free prize” and the prize changes every month.  Plus, to receive the free bonus gift,  I need the promotional code.  I have to enter it when I  make my order.

Office Depot won’t tell you over the phone or even on their site what the prize is, which makes it a “surprise” and that makes it even better.  But not if I can’t get it, which I haven’t been able to since I stopped mail delivery to this address to stop identify theft.

An aside  guys and gals, I really thought I had myself and my assets locked up tightly.  I thought I was secure and my assets safe.  My sense of security? Totally an illusion.  What makes this scary is I had taken deliberate steps to protect myself from exactly what happened.

Back to the blog at hand.  I placed my order, but there wasn’t any way to find out what the surprise is, much less enter the promotional code for it.  I’m SOL (so out of luck) as some might say.  There’s a prize, but not one coming for me.

Today, I went online to Office Depot and initiated an online “chat.”  I wanted to clarify another detail about my last night’s online order. But those details aren’t important.  Once the Office Depot customer service representative and I resolved that issue, she asked the following question (which became the merchant’s proverbial kiss of death):  “Is there anything else I can do for you?” the rep asked.

“Not unless you can help me get the prize I should have received with last night’s order.  And given the annual amount of office supplies I purchase from Office Depot, I’d very much like to get it and I deserve it.” (I didn’t say I wanted to know what it was before I could say if I wanted it; it was a general statement that given my history with other merchants, I didn’t plan on this line of conversation going much further.)

My buddy Chip, sitting next to me working on his computer, began heckling me, something about  not in a million years would I get my prize and stop annoying the person online.

A few minutes later, the customer service rep typed something else to me, about needing to enter the promotional code at the time of ordering, to which I replied I couldn’t enter it, because I didn’t have it and didn’t even know what this month’s free prize is.

Chip laughed louder, and again suggested I stop annoying the woman (or man) helping me online.

I ignored him, my usual response to  anyone or thing that gets between me and the object of my obsession.

Moments later, the woman came back on the online chat.  She gave me my choice of three separate prizes.  The third one she described?  Exactly what I wanted.  I had tried to purchase it the night before, but they didn’t have it.

Excited, surprised, happy?  Understatements for the way that interaction this morning made me feel when the rep confirmed that the prize I wanted would soon be mine.

No, I don’t have the prize in my hands yet.  But according to Office Depot’s customer service representative,  soon I’ll  hold the spoils of victory in my hands.

Now, that’s customer service.  On a scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, Office Depot’s online score for excellent customer services gets rated ten by me.  Thank you for showing me the true customer service isn’t gone, Office Depot.

After everything else going on, I’ll take the gift with gratitude bordering on elation.

Later,

Melody Beattie

PS:  Chip, I told you so — and that makes twice.

PPS:  Whether we’re talking about a relationship with a business, friend, relative, pet or lover, it’s not wise to tell them only what they do wrong, or what they do that displeases us.  When someone does something right, something nice — especially when the person goes out of his or her way to do something special for us — it’s important to take time to notice it and say how much it means to us. In the case of a blog that’s mentioning when businesses don’t act up to code, it’s just as or more important to mention businesses that go out of their way to provide superior customer service.  People respond best to criticism if they know their best efforts will  be rewarded with praise.

Again, thanks and many kudos to you, www.OfficeDepot.com.

Note: As much as Melody would love to respond to all comments, this sometimes isn't feasible with her busy schedule. Please feel free to leave a comment but do so knowing she will only be able to respond when she has some time away from writing. She does receive your comments and deeply cares about what you have to say so please do leave a comment if you are compelled to do so.