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Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2005 at 2:34 am

Customer Service in a Can

By Persuasion Architects
September 13th, 2005

When canned customer service happens to good people.  Here is a recent exchange one of our friends had with Target customer service.

> Date: Wed Sep 07 18:18:27 UTC 2005
> Subject; Other questions and comments
> To:
> From: Brandon
> —————
> 09/07/05 11:18:13
> Comments: I work in the ecommerce marketing/conversion industry
and I expected that you guys would have a pretty decent checkout.
Boy was I wrong. The issues I had trying to purchase a $100 stereo
were so numerous that I can’t elaborate on all of them because I now
need to find another store that sells it. Who gives an error message
at registration that says "Please try another password for your

account"? Why would I try another, I already tried
one? Shall I type it with one finger, shall I chant while I type,
shall I close my eyes when I hit the submit button? What are you
asking of me? I don’t get it? A longer password? One with numbers?
One without letters? Maybe you don’t like the letter ‘h’? It could
be anything! Once I got past that issue, I entered a  shipping
address, then later changed my mind on where to ship it. You mean
once I enter data, you won’t let me edit it during checkout? Wow,
I’ve wasted enough time. I’m going somewhere else.
> First Name: Brandon
> Email Address:
> Phone:
> Subject; Other questions and comments
> Order #: ya right
> estar: ~Brandon~Other
questions and comments~

And here is the response…

———- Forwarded message ———-

  Guest Services

Date: 7 Sep 2005 20:10:00 -0700
Subject: Your

To: Brandon

Greetings from

I’ve reviewed your account and I’m sorry that your first experience
ordering from our Web site was not a positive one.

We pride ourselves in convenience and efficiency at, but
this time we fell short of our goal.  Please accept my sincere
apology for the events which led up to your most recent e-mail.

I sincerely hope you’ll give us another chance to prove the quality
of our service.  I assure you that we’ll do everything we can to
help make your next experience a better one.

How Did We Do?
Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:

If yes, click here:
If not, click here:

Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept
incoming e-mail.  Please use the appropriate link above if you need
to contact us again about this matter.

Best regards,

Jon B

  Guest Service


How helpful.

I really love the line in this canned email "I sincerely hope you’ll give us another chance to prove the quality of our service. I assure you that we’ll do everything we can to help make your next experience a better one"


Yeah, you did such a great job doing ‘everything’ this time around, I am sure to come around again.  NOT!

I suppose the only thing worse than a canned email response is not sending your customers any response at all. And in light of a response like this, I am not sure how much worse it actually is.

Your thoughts?

Add Your Comments

Comments (5)

  1. I had a recent experience with Marriott in which they had overbooked the hotel where I was speaking and it took a major fight to get my room. After I told everyone in sight about it and wrote about it in my blog, I received an email from the VP of Sales at Marriott. Fine, but insulting. Why? You could tell it was a form letter from the language used, PLUS this person had typed phrases that applied to my situation – I could tell because the phrases were in a different font than the rest of the letter!

  2. Will they change their checkout process or are they so inside the bottle they can’t/won’t see the road blocks they have placed to take your money?

    It is amazing how companies do not put faith in their customer service people to take care of the customer one-on-one. It would have taken mere moments to write a personalized e-mail to you and increase your personal experience. The worst that could have happened is the one person spent an extra minute on you and in turn made you feel better about buying from Target.

    The least Target could do is ask what product(s) you wanted to buy and offer a discount or offer a discount for future purchases… then fix the system they created.

    It’s amazing what is holding corporate America from being great!

  3. Target: You have such beautiful merchandise and at such reasonable prices, so it’s a real pity it’s so difficult to order from you. The frustrations of trying to order online are too numerous to continue trying and the difficulty in finding a phone number for you are equally frustrating. You need to review your set up and the frustration experienced from the customer’s point of view and make it a smoother, faster experience. I don’t expect this will make any difference, but it will be the last time I order anything from Target.

  4. I shared my recent experience in a post at Like you I was very dissapointed.

    Its a shame, they have great stores with great products. Why do they have to go and mess it up when so many of us would love give them our money.

  5. Yea.. I’m ever in that situation, so I’m never use their products and service anymore

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