Tuesday, May 25

Losing Bounce: OfficeMax Customer Service

Last year, a customer service issue left me with the resolve to always visit Office Depot before OfficeMax. The issue was a small thing.

When we were loading my car with new office chairs, I noticed they were brown and not black. They were out of black, said the employee who spent 30 minutes looking for the chairs in the back room. No problem, just take them back, I said.

"It's the same model," he blinked. "I'll have to wheel them all the way back into the store."


I led the way.

Yesterday, our phone system had a meltdown. So I drove over to Office Depot. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough handsets for the system that met our needs. No problem. I didn't have time to check other stores; OfficeMax is one block away. Beside, nowadays they have rubberband balls as the symbol of customer service.

OfficeMax had the same stocking issue. And since the employee didn't offer to check other stores, I found another system that was obviously in stock and still met our needs. All in all, a better customer experience. Except, that is, for one small thing.

After the transaction was complete and the phones were carefully double bagged, the employee asked me to wait. He walked over to another register, came back, mentioned a 14-day return policy, and then stamped my receipt in red ink. For any reason, he added, pointing down to the stamp.

"15% Restocking Fee On Any OPEN Technology."

It's another small thing, but I still have to wonder. Are these the last words you want to leave with a customer?

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