An Example of Positive Customer Service From a Loyalty Program

There was a product which was on sale that I wanted to purchase with a certificate worth $13.98 that I had in my account as a member of the Office Depot Office Max Rewards program; but when I went to redeem it, it was no longer there — and nowhere in my account history was there any information as to what happened to it; nor did I receive any e-mail message pertaining to it.

An Example of Positive Customer Service From a Loyalty Program

Befuddled as to what happened to that certificate worth $13.98, I contacted a representative of the program via its chat function last month; and the discussion has been copied verbatim in its entirety — with the only exception of obscuring my personal information.

Jim: Hi, my name is Jim. It will be my pleasure to assist you today.

Brian: Greetings, Jim.

Jim: Welcome to Office Depot, Brian.

Brian: Thank you.

Jim: I sincerely apologize for having trouble in your rewards. Let me assist you with that and I’ll be happy to check that one out for you.

Brian: Thank you. I appreciate it.

Jim: Can you please provide me your email address, phone number and shipping address for verification and security purposes?

Brian: xxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx

Brian: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Brian: xxx xxxxxxxx xxxxx, xxxxxxxx, xx xxxxx

Jim: Thank you for the complete information. One moment please.

Brian: Okay.

Jim: Thanks for waiting.

Brian: No problem.

Jim: I was able to pull up your rewards and I do see here that the $13.98 rewards certificate is already expired on 05/31/2017 and I do apologize if you were not able to use it. However here’s what I cna do.

Jim: I will go ahead and process a $15 rewards certificate in your account and this will be posted within 5-7 business days.

Jim: Would that be okay with you?

Brian: That is very fair. Yes. Thank you. I appreciate it.

Brian: For future reference, where do I find when something has expired?

Jim: You’re welcome. One moment please.

Jim: Thanks for waiting. I have successfully processed the $15 rewards certificate in your account and you will be notified through email once it is available to be used. There is no option to check the rewards online that is already expire and I do apologize for that.

Brian: Ah. I was wondering. I thank you for your assistance. You have been very helpful.

Jim: You’re very much welcome. Would there be anything else I can assist aside from this?

Brian: No. You resolved my question.

Brian: Thank you again, Jim.

Jim: You’re most welcome. It was a pleasure assisting you and thank you for chatting with us today. If you need further assistance, we’re available to chat with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Summary

What I liked most about the interaction with the customer service representative is the proactive customer service recovery which occurred before I had a chance to ask for anything — which, of course, he was not obligated to do. The entire chat consumed perhaps ten minutes of my time — much of which I was working on other things on my computer.

Although it does happen from time to time, I thought to myself: would it not be nice if the frequent traveler loyalty programs of lodging companies, airlines and rental car companies had similar proactive customer service on a consistent basis — especially when pertaining to expired miles, points, vouchers or certificates?

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “An Example of Positive Customer Service From a Loyalty Program”

  1. James says:

    Not a chance. Supply and demand.

    In office depot’s case, their view is, “office depot need customer”. In the airlines, chain hotel and chain car rental, their views are, “customer (you) need them”.

    You don’t like flying United, go take a bus. You don’t like Hyatt, go sleep at the park or somewhere else (you waste your points tough – and I can get customers from travel agents and/or corporate deals). Car rentals may also be the same. Whereas office depot viewed you can easily go to walmart or amazon if they can’t help you.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I am not sure I completely agree with that, James.

      As with the commercial aviation industry in the United States, the office supply industry has consolidated with only two major players remaining: Office Depot and Staples — although I am not fully aware of the current state of the industry.

      Despite the consolidation in the lodging industry, there are still plenty of choices other than Hyatt — including Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental Hotels Group, Wyndham, Best Western and AccorHotels, to name several major companies.

      I do agree that what you portray certainly seems to be the perceived attitude from certain companies in the travel industry — although I personally believe that customers should be respected regardless of the success of companies…

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