Last week I headed to Office Depot to buy a wireless card for my computer. Glancing at the shelf, I saw a model I liked. The big yellow price card on that shelf listed a sale price with which I was happy.
I grabbed the box and proceeded to the checkout. The total price showed the regular price and not the discounted sales amount. I protested that the card should be on sale according to price sticker on shelf.
Another employee appeared after the cashier called for a price check. I walked him to the row and showed him the sales price right below my desired network card.
The employee says: “Oh, this sale ended last week.” He then took the sales card down and said, “It looks they they forgot to take these down when they put up the new ones,” pointing to several other yellow tags.
Lesson 1: It is OK to admit you or your company made a mistake.
He offered a weak: “Are you just looking for any networking card?”
Lesson 2: Recover from mistakes by offering the customers options. You can always ask the customer what she wants or have a set backup plan for such occasions. If you don’t act, the customer will have to do it for you. This could mean they leave without a purchase, or ask for something you can’t give.
I responded: “Will you honor the posted price?”
Lesson 3: Why did I have to ask? Be proactive in making amends with customers.
Employee: “Just a minute.”
He returned to say that yes, indeed they would honor the price. He then walked back with me to the cashier and assisted in the transaction. He apologized for the inconvenience as he left me to pay for my purchase.
Lesson 4: Don’t lose a customer over a few dollars. The future value of a repeat customer is worth more than the difference in a posted versus actual price.
The end result was that I was happy and saved a few dollars even though the process could have gone a bit smoother. Nevertheless, Office Depot did perform better this time than on my previous encounters with their bad products and call center problems.