Stick it to your customers and users

Horrible customer experiences with two companies tonight —

1) Had lunch with the wife at the chain fishmonger yesterday. We got a survey on our receipt to take and get $2 off a future purchase. I have attempted to call the 800-number on the receipt to take the survey numerous times. The number has been disconnected.
–Since they’re promoting this survey as a fabulous way to reach out to customers, it seems they should make sure the toll-free number works.
–Or look into this new thing called the internet where I could take the survey.
–Or if you can’t get it to work right, STOP PRINTING IT ON THE RECEIPT.

2) We’re planning to take a trip to the Redneck Riviera this fall. (Travel tip: Always go to Florida during hurricane season — it’s cheaper and less crowded — just make sure you hold on to your hat tightly)
So tonight, I called Mr. Gaylord who has the choke hold monopoly on beds in the area to reserve a condo.
—I call instead of using their online system because their massive website doesn’t work right and doesn’t allow you to sort properties by what you actually need to. Plus it seems they’ve purposefully made the pricing on the website confusing.
— In addition to the base rate, they’re charging me a “reservation fee” to make the reservation.
–Add this to the $50 damage waiver fee that I can’t get back even if I don’t trash the room.
–You’d like to use your discount promo code we emailed you that said it could be used on any reservation? Sorry, it’s can’t be used in conjunction with these basic accommodations you’ve requested.
–I don’t understand this at all — “Check-in time is after 3:00 p.m…..however not all units will be ready for check-in promptly at 3:00 p.m. We ask for your patience and suggest that you have alternate plans available between 3:00 and case the unit is not yet ready. “
Mmmmm — I think I’ll check out about two hours after their published checkout time and say that the cleaning lady should make alternate plans while I sleep in.
You should really read their terms and conditions to feel the love of how much they want your business.

There are people who are willing to give you money. You should really try to make it easy for them to do so and make them want to have additional experiences with you. Or maybe even tell their friends that they should spend money with you. Hidden fees, disconnected toll-free numbers, and legalese that beats up your customers is not a way to win long-term.

I shouldn’t have to tell you this.