But not the kind of experience I've come to expect from Starbucks. I'm seriously beginning to wonder if they're losing their way.
I recently signed up for their newest "Gold" program. The 10% off wasn't a huge deal, but I liked the idea of being recognized as a loyal sbuxer & the free wifi seemed like it would be a nice touch when traveling.
I'll admit I neglected to read the fine print in the multi-page brochure and assumed the program was similar to the Starbucks Card I already have and the $25 would be loaded on my slick new "you're special and we appreciate you" card.
Imagine my surprise at the drive-thru early this morning to learn it wasn't.
- That I had to haul my still-in-sweats-sans-makeup self into the store to get the [now clarified] "membership fee" refunded
- Which was apparently "impossible" because I hadn't kept my receipt after ordering a couple of lattes the week before
- Therefore I needed to call the 800 number to get help versus from the onsite store manager that sold it to me
But it gets better
- The 800 operator told me their research team would look for the receipt after gathering a bunch more info, including the actual day I made the purchase, email it to me so I can bring it back to the store and start over again to request a refund. "Refunds could not be processed through corporate and could only be handled at the store level."
- To top it off, instead of an apology by either rep for the inconvenience, unmet expectations and overall hassle, I was pointed to the middle of section II, page 6 fine print that *clearly* states I needed to have a receipt and that *no one else* has asked for a refund before...
When designing a program to serve our best customers, [and this applies to all organizations] it's ESSENTIAL to think through the entire experience. If the program isn't meeting expectations, we've already failed and need to be in service recovery mode.
Make it painless to opt-out, apologize for the inconvenience, reward them for hanging in there. Don't point fingers [or worse, to an 800 number] layer additional red tape and otherwise throw gasoline on a fire.