3.27.2009

Experiencing Barnes and Noble

You know, I've never been one to support or even understand those pay-to-be-a-member ripoff programs that some stores and restaurant chains force on offer their customers.

My train of thought has always been: "if I have the good presence of mind to patron (purchase and eat) at your establishment, out of dozens of possible other locations, that makes me a loyal customer...but you want me to shell out more money for some bonus point program! Bad form!"

Well, that was until a crisp-sunny day last October, when the clouds parted and heavenly voices emerged and shined down upon me at the Naperville Barnes and Noble.

When I showed up at the store's ground-floor help-desk, I was looking for several obscure translation volumes, several bilingual dictionaries (yes the ones that weigh more than my purse), and a moleskine notebook. The staff was not pushy, instead, proved to be exceptionally graceful, quick, and talented in their search and assistance. Not only that, but they were shipping the items they didn't have in stock to my house free of charge (!). I took a step back, gawped, and said: "my God, for a lack of it, I almost forgot what real customer service looks like, and yet here we are!"

Barnes and Noble staff's actions showed me the investment the company makes in (1) their staff, and (2) meeting their customers needs (3) expediently. Needless to say, I signed up for the $25 membership while I was checking out--an earth-shattering move for me, believe me. I somehow knew that I would be in the book-buying business the coming year. Well, let me tell you that the $25 membership fee was paid back to me immediately due to the member discounts for my purchases that fateful day.

So here's the punchline. Where customer service and staff-training investments turns into ROI for companies. Just a few minutes ago, I found myself in an anal-retentive frenzy:
  • The books list for my courses hadn't been uploaded to the university e-bookstore until last evening
  • Apparently there's three books for my upcoming spring term courses
  • I want to act quickly before my classes begin April 6 *eeek*
  • I didn't like the almost $60 dollars w/ S&H the e-bookstore tells me I would owe *boo*
  • so I checked: Barnes and Noble online...my member discount plus an online coupon (found through Google) saved me approx. $20 with free S&H and the items ship within 24 hours
  • I can expect to receive the three books by Monday, or Tuesday at the latest
Kudos Barnes and Noble, keep up the good work. I shall be back very soon.