It all started with one little tweet.
Price Chopper sent me a tweet inviting me to a baking class.
Daniel B got the pot a stirring with his tweety thread which was filled with some entertaining theories as to why I don’t shop at one of our local grocery chains.
My reply and their following response was here. Basically, a thanks but no thanks since I don’t shop at Price Chopper stores (I don’t know what it is, but I hate not responding to direct invitations). Their response was along the lines of “Bummer, sorry about that! How can we do better?”
I feel like I owe you all more of an explanation on why I don’t shop at Price Chopper, since there was so much interest in the subject. It’s actually pretty simple.
I don’t shop at Price Chopper any more because of multiple poor experiences in-store, followed up by rude customer service responses. I know that sometimes retail folk can have their off days, and that’s when having a solid customer service team can really help repair a situation.
Unfortunately, every time I’d called/emailed/passenger pigeoned Price Chopper, the response from their customer service reps were always the same. Essentially a “Well, you did XYZ. It’s your fault it happened and we fully support the decisions/actions made by the store members.” kind of response. Somehow, it seems that taking customer complaints personally isn’t something new with Price Chopper.
I’d probably still be a Chopper Shopper if their initial customer service responses had been something along the lines of “We’re sorry about XYZ, please know that we value your business and will try to make your next experience better.” Maybe even a coupon if you really wanted to get crazy with things.
Cheap, cheap words to make a customer feel valued. Who cares if you don’t actually care with what the customer said? As long as you see in their records that they don’t call up eight times a week screaming that they were possessed by a succubus you put in your products, maybe your first steps should be a little bit of chillin on the hubris and trying to ameliorate any problems.
The first tweet response from Price Chopper I thought was quite nice. It was a tone I’d been hoping for as a response from previous calls to customer service.
Then I noticed another tweet that said they’d have someone else contact me to follow up. Did I want a follow up from customer service I’d previously been unhappy with? No, but I figured I could just ignore the email any way. I mean, I ignore all of the promos I get from Albany PR for Price Chopper.
It turns out, I almost tossed it in my junk mail, but I opened an email from incredibly generically-named sender Consumer Response, and titled CASE ID:263767. I was expecting the usual flattering prose from a lady or gent in Africa in need of transferring millions of dollars to the US with a princely reward, all for the simple request of my bank account number. Or maybe I’d won the Irish Lottery I never knew I entered. These folks are getting creative, I thought.
Instead I was surprised (and yet somehow, not surprised at all) to see a generically worded and addressed:
Dear Price Chopper Customer,
We are sorry that you have experienced a problem with customer service at Price Chopper. As we do not have record of you contacting us previously, please provide us with details regarding your concern, your name, and contact information, and we will certainly look into it.
You can reach our customer service team at 1-800-666-7667 (option 3), 8:30 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Friday, and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday and Sunday, or on our website at …
Wow. Really personal, hunh? Especially since I’m not a Price Chopper shopper. To be honest, this made me less likely to want to shop at Price Chopper again. Not only did they send me an email I never wanted in the first place, but it was an email with a chore. It was also a different tone than their lighter tweeting, way more Corporate Machine.
So here’s the thing – I appreciate that there is some kind of effort being made, but I’d have much preferred interacting with better-trained customer service reps right from the get-go.