The Rewards Program That Isn’t That Rewarding

, , , , | Right | April 25, 2019

(Our department store has a rewards program. Customers have praised the rewards program for the discounts it offers, but the only problem is that the customer is the only one who has access to their rewards account, meaning we cashiers can’t look it up on our registers. We can only connect their account to their purchase so that they can get the points for it. They either have to download the store’s app on their phone, look it up online, or print out and show us their coupons on their email to use their rewards. It just takes a matter of preparation in advance. Unfortunately, our store’s competitor has a very similar rewards program that CAN be accessed through their registers, as well as being able to use the coupons from that account. Customers occasionally confuse us for our competitor and ask us, “Do I have any rewards?” despite us not being able to check. Sometimes the customer is cordial about it and will accept a coupon I may have at the register, or annoyed because they “hadn’t planned on stopping in” and hence didn’t think to see if they had any coupons. Regardless, I try to take it in stride and offer as much help as I can so that they can get their discounts now, or tell them how they can save more the next time they come in. An older gentleman approaches my register with some expensive shoes.)

Customer: “Can I give you my rewards number?”

Me: “Absolutely! What’s your phone number?”

Customer: *tells me number* “I should have some rewards there. I want to use them for this.”

Me: “Oh, well, unfortunately, I can’t see what you’ve earned in your rewards account. You can either look it up on your app, the website, or your email.”

Customer: *stares at me* “That’s not right. I did it last time, and you guys were able to do it!”

Me: *confused, before I realize something* “Oh! Do you by any chance mean you did this at [Competitor]?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “Unfortunately, we can’t do the same thing they can. Our register just can’t see your rewards account. But I can definitely put the points you earned in this purchase into the account!”

Customer: “But I want my coupon. What can we do so that I can use my coupon right now?”

Me: “Well, you can look it up on the website! May I see your phone?”

(Presumptuous me assumes he has a smartphone connected to our store’s WiFi. Imagine the dumb look on my face when he hands me an old-school flip phone. He stares at me as I laugh nervously and apologize, handing it back.)

Me: “Another option is that you can look it up on your email! Do you have a computer at home with email access?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Cool! So, when you get home, print out the coupon and show it to customer service, as they’ll happily take the discount off today’s purchase. Or, you can always leave your shoes here on hold and buy them with the coupon when you come back.”

Customer: “So, I need my email?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “Give me something to write with.”

Me: “Okay, sure!”

(I hand him a piece of paper and a pen and I watch, clueless, as he writes something down. He turns the paper to me and stares.)

Me: “Is this your email?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Can I ask what you want me to do with it?”

Customer: *looks at me like I’m stupid* “I want you to look up my account and use my coupon.”

Me: “Sir, I can’t look it up on my register. It—“ *turns the register to show him* “It doesn’t give me the option.”

Customer: *stares*

Me: “And it’s not a computer, so I can’t look up your email.”

Customer: “But you said I needed my email address to get my coupons!”

Me: “Yes. For you to use at home. On your computer.”

Customer: “So, you can’t get my coupons for me?”

Me: *genuinely apologetic* “No.”

Customer: *scoffs* “Whatever.”

(He purchases his shoes and leaves in a frustrated huff.)

Me: *to myself* “My lips were moving, but all he heard was, ‘blah blah blah.’”

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