A kind friend recently gave me a $100 gift card from a major credit card company. The company obviously knows how to create an endearing and delightful customer experience that encourages life-long loyal users so I’m excited to spread the love and share the joy with all of my friends. Here is what I learned.
- Ensure the safety of the gift card. Brands should force the gift receiver to visit the brand’s website and register the card before it can be used. Ignore the fact that the purchase contract was between the credit card company and the purchaser. Insist that the gift receiver, an unaware third party, share their first name, last name, birth date, and email address so that their personal and private information may be added to a marketing database.
- Make the shopping experience the focus. In my case, I spent a good half hour choosing and trying on jeans, and after realizing that none of them fit well anyways, I took the best of the worst to the cash register and pulled out that $100 gift card. My new jeans actually cost $103 so I slapped 3 loonies on the counter and grinned. Woo hoo! $3 jeans! I watched as the cashier carefully wrapped and packed the jeans like they were the were most precious jeans on the planet. The cashier took the gift card, swiped it 7 times, and then asked, “Would you like to pay some other way” because the gift card didn’t work.
- Create opportunities for engagement. I had to void the purchase, return home, and call my friendly neighbourhood credit card representative to inquire about the problem. After enjoying some lovely tunes for 20 minutes, I was able to speak to someone and tell them my gift card didn’t work. He asked my name but was not satisfied that I wouldn’t tell him because I didn’t want it added to their marketing database. He insisted on a name for his records so I told him John Smith. Unfortunately, he informed me that John Smith wasn’t the name the gift card was registered with. So I told him my name was Private Private. Finally, he was willing to speak with me because that was the name I had registered the card with. Thank goodness I remembered because I register all kinds of things with all kinds of fake names, fake birthdays, and fake email addresses. Finally, he was allowed to tell me the problem with my non-working card. The problem was that I should have paid the $3 cash first and then the card would have worked. Of course, why didn’t I know that? All gift cards work exactly like that!
- Create new joyous shopping experiences. This time, I wasn’t naive. I didn’t spend half an hour tediously picking out an item. I needed new runners. I picked out new runners. $105. But I was wise. I brought the runners to the cash register, slapped a $5 bill on the counter, and helpfully informed the cashier to use the cash before the gift card. But she ignored me. She swiped the gift card first. Which worked. The first time.
So now I have a new pair of shoes and I still need new jeans. But let me tell you. If I ever want to give someone the fun of a gift card, it is absolutely not going to be that brand. Unless I need a gift for someone I don’t like. In that case, I will give the gift of annoyance. Hey….. Wait….