Like most people my age, I am trying to stave off the effects of middle age by visiting a gym a few times a week.
Recently after a workout at my local Xsport, I decided to get one of those protein / energy drinks as that is what the physically fit, meat heads in the gym usually drink. When I went to pay, the girl at the counter informed me that the were out of pennies. As a result, she asked if I would be OK with her giving me $5.15 in change versus the $5.17 that I was actually due.
Before I continue with the story, I must say that I usually drop my coins in the “leave a penny” dish or the pickle jar to help the local kids raise money for their school. Partly because I want to do good and partly because I hate change. But not getting my two pennies is not really the issue here. What is the issue is that I was even asked to short-change myself on this transaction in the first place.
First of all, I am a member of this club. The word club itself denotes that to be there, you have to join. You have to pay a membership fee and you are promised to receive privileges that are not available to non-members of the club. And as far as gyms go, the club is higher end too. There are weight machines galore, exercise studios for classes, internet hub, juice bar, tanning beds, saunas, a hot tub, pedicures and manicures and a spa for massages and other member pampering. All these amenities are there to make the members feel special.
So when they asked me if they could keep my money because they ran out of pennies is unacceptable. I think back to how many times I have been asked if I had an extra penny or two so that the cashier can make easier change. Or when my change would have been $0.98, I recall the cashier changed the total so that all I got back was bills – saving me from having a pocket full of change. Both of these instances gave me a good feeling about the store and their brand. They got it.
So when Xsport asked me if they can keep my two cents for no other reason other than they can’t make the right change, there is a problem. Assuming that there was no way to fill the change drawer with pennies, what the cashier should have done is think of the member first. Let me know that they are out of pennies and then edit the bill a few cents to make it work in my favor. Or, better yet, don’t even tell about me the problem of running out of pennies and just tell that you rounded down so you don’t have to bog me down with change. Either way, I would have walked away knowing that this is a place that really does care about developing and maintaining a long term relationship with me (at the tune of $40 a month or $480 a year). Instead they showed me that they don’t think of the members above all else and that they couldn’t think on their feet. (and don’t get me started on why there never seems to be enough towels for members)
Maybe now is the time for me to move on. I have been at “the club” past my required membership and am free to leave without penalty.
Maybe I’ll look for a club that really knows the value of my two cents.
UPDATE TO THIS BLOG POST:
One day after reaching out to XSport about this experience at the club, the customer service team reached back to me to see what they could do about my experience. Their response was professional, sincere and helpful.
And kudos to them for offering a solution that hit on all marks.
In addition to acknowleging, that perhaps, they did the wrong thing, their solution was to offer me a free month of membership. This is was great make-good for a couple reasons:
- It gets me back in the club for at least another month. Another month of creating and maintaining a personal habit of getting into the club, working out and being inside their brand.
- It provides new opportunities for me to purchase those high profit items (like protein drinks and energy bars)
- Makes me feel that I won
This last point, is really what it is all about. No, I am not an egomaniac. But in today’s world, the customer is ALWAYS in control of the brand. Being able to point out to XSport where their brand missed the mark and then for XSport do something about it, makes me feel good knowing they took notice of the brand miss and made it right.
I am not sure if XSport has a sophisticated POS system. If they do, I would hope that when I check in next time using my barcode key fob, they might follow-up with me personally to see if I am satisfied with how their brand is doing.
Nonetheless, kudos again to XSport for doing the right thing. Let’s hope I am not just a “saved customer” statistic to them but that they share this story with their staff so that they can be customer-centric all the time.