The Soapbox Archives:
For instance, "What is the address where I can send this computer?" means give me your street address to which I can ship this computer. The misconclusion is that they wanted the IP address of the computer.
So...I wrote to Home Depot:
"...got a forwarding address confirmation [from the Post Office] with a welcome package of discounts from various stores, including a coupon from a certain Blue store. I was surprised that Home Depot wasn't one of those offering a special welcoming discount since there are many more Orange stores around here than Blue ones. I'd hate to have to drive all the way to Framingham to use that coupons [when there's a Home Depot about a half mile away]."
The response from Customer Care was:
"I am sorry to say that we no longer offer New Mover Coupons through the post office. To obtain a New Moverís Coupon, you will have to complete one of the two steps.
One way is to reserve a rental truck on the Penske website (www.penske.com ). Another way is by signing up for Allconnect; a free service that will connect utilities such as phone, cable, internet, etc. (in certain markets)
We also accept competitor coupons such as Lowes, Best Buy, Menards, Sears, etc. I am very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns. "
And the fun began because I wanted to respond to that:
"Please forward this to someone who makes the decisions on this topic.
1. RE: Penske truck rentals. I don't know of a Penske location; I've never driven by one and they don't advertise in the places where I might see their ads so it would never occur to me to rent from them. U-Haul, on the other hand, is all over the place and that's where we got our truck. Penske shouldn't be the only truck rental place with whom you (Home Depot, that is) make partnerships.
2. RE: Using Allconnect. I've never heard of Allconnect; they're probably not "in my market".
I shouldn't have to work to get discounts at the Home Depot. I shouldn't have to work to *learn* about discounts at the Home Depot.
3. When someone moves, they *have* to forward their mail so they have to deal with the post office. The Post Office would know who's moving and be the ideal venue to send deals to new movers.
4. Honoring competitor's coupons is a lazy way to promote yourself; you're just reacting to others' innovations so you won't be left out. I would expect a company like Home Depot to be more aggressive in reaching out to new customers who would need the products sold at Home Depot.
Note: I've been to Menards (in Indiana); they're an awesome store. I'd go there exclusively if they were local. Lowes in Framingham, MA, has been a nice experience 100% of the time I've been there. If I go to Best Buy for certain things, I will buy the rest of what I need there if they have it. My experience at Home Depot? Less than 100% satisfactory.
My point? I don't think of going to some place just because they will accept their competitors' coupons; if I see a discount coupon with a store's name, I'll think of going to *that* store. That's why you advertise: you're trying to get customers into your store first and keep them there. I shouldn't have to go and ask for a coupon that might apply to me."
Back in my days at Digital Equipment, I worked as a software engineer working on applications used internally to design future generations of computers. Our customers knew us and knew where to find us; they could always call us and it wasn't unusual to find one of our users standing in our cubicle.
The organization already had a separate group to support the users directly onsite but decided to try sending out the engineers to stand in the role of onsite support to see what the customers went through while using our software. I got posted to a CAD design group in Shrewsbury where I had to deal with someone we called "The Barracuda" because she liked to "attack" (she was quite pleased when she found out about her nickname).
It gave us engineers a greater appreciation for what the users go through when using our software and helped me prepare for the next couple of jobs.
I was quite surprised to arrive at the hotel to find out there was no reservation. I called up the Members Services number on their frequent stay's card to end up with someone who pretty much said that I was charged for the no-show and that I would have to make a new reservation and pay for it again. I would have to call Member's Services to get them to refund my money...and they were closed for the night. What they had was a very angry customer standing at the front desk of the hotel and wanting a room, not a refund.
The desk person, however, was looking for a creative way to resolve the problem. There was a higher priced room available and I just had to pay the difference (of $7); I took it. Their upgraded "suites are the same rooms with a wall divider separating the bed from the sofa area but is a nice touch for a small amount of money. I got my bed and the hotel ended up selling me a more expensive room and I didn't have to pay for a second room and then go through the trouble of getting a refund for the first room.
They should make those hotel reservation people spend six months in front of customers and maybe learn to look for ways to keep the customers' money and keep them happy at the same time; those two goals are not mutually exclusive.