A friend of mine – karen – is one of the most book-oriented people I know. She has a massive book collection, is thoroughly well-read, and is also a big advocate of comic books and graphic novels. As such, she has long been going to KinoKuniya and advocating that others do the same.
It’s her passion for the store that was largely responsible for my signing up for one of their loyalty cards: you pay $15 for the year, and get 10% off purchases. It’s not hard to do the maths – this means that it’s people who are looking to spend over $150 in a calendar year with the store. As such, you would think that it would be in the store’s best interest to keep these customers happy.
I was surprised, then, to read a few tweets from her that said she’d had a problem with them. It seems that she had gone to the store, made a purchase, and then showed her card a little late in the payment process. As a result, she was told that she would have to pay full price.
Understandably annoyed about this, she turned to twitter.
# Dear @KinokuniyaAust, even tho I spent c$70 in yr store 2day, yr cashier refused to let me use my loyalty card because I showed it late.
# Then I asked if she would reverse the transaction. She refused & said it was against @KinokuniyaAust store policy.
# Which begs the qu, if it’s @KinokuniyaAust store policy, why did she not ask for my loyalty card at the beginning of the transaction?
# My @KinokuniyaAust 10% off loyalty card costs about $15/year, which means I must spend c$150/year (before discount) to make it worthwhile.
# Now, @KinokuniyaAust I love yr store. It’s my fav bkstore in the whole of Syd. I went to you to by 4xPhonogram Vol 2 because I love yr store
# I could have gone to Book Depository who would have charged me $14.86×4=$59.44 incl shipping, which is $13 cheaper than @KinokuniyaAust.
# Book Depository is also $5.80 cheaper than the @KinokuniyaAust loyalty discount & they would have saved me a 1hr trip into the city.
# So I ask you @KinokuniyaAust, where is the love for your customers? I show you loyalty & what do you give me? Why should I shop w you again?
To their credit, they responded relatively quickly, but crucially, they sought to explain why their policy was correct, not try and solve the problem.
# @kbeilz we can’t reverse transactions on our registers because the bank server crashes each time meaning we can’t sell anything for 10 mins
# @kbeilz terms and conditions r printed on the card – sorry if we couldn’t be of more assistance this time
# @kbeilz we could ask every customer if they have a Kinokuniya card at the begining but people have complained that we are like macdonalds
Surely this whole problem could go away if there was an offer of store credit, even for the original, missed discount? After all, we’re only talking about $7! Instead, they’ve made the decision to explain why they were right.
The responses go on, arguing the policy, and even making what would seem to be vaild customer service suggestions. Is it really worth defending a bank that won’t allow transactions to be reversed? Are there other ways to remind the loyalty card customers that they need to present your card? Is it worth keeping your loyalty program quiet for the sake of unverifiable customer complaints being made?
# My @KinokuniyaAust card says “Card must be shown”. Well, my card was SHOWN.
# In addition, my @KinokuniyaAust card does NOT say that if the card is not shown BEFORE the end of transaction, it can’t be reversed.
# If yr bank is impeding the quality of yr customer service, it’s clearly time to change, @KinokuniyaAust.
# And if you don’t ask if ppl have a @KinokuniyaAust loyalty card, how are you going to build a loyal customer base?!
# As it is, @KinokuniyaAust, your responses have been far from satisfactory. I’m sorry but you’ve lost my loyalty. I won’t buy from you again.
By adhering to their existing policies, instead of taking care of a customer who has already spent their own money on a loyalty program, they lose a customer, and have the entire exchange in public.
I think this situation could still be remedied: if the store reaches out using these channels, this could be turned around into a positive story. From what I’ve seen so far, this seems unlikely.
A store that prefers to publicly defend its anti-customer policies instead of seek to use social media tools to create positive experiences for customers is wasting its time having a twitter presence, in my opinion.
There may yet be a happy ending to the story.
# Apology included acknowledgement of poor customer service + goodwill offer of @KinokuniyaAust gift vouchers & refund of loyalty discount.
Looks like they’ve taken some positive steps toward repairing the relationship. The next step, of course, would be to make the apology as public as the initial response, but time will tell how they proceed.