Coke Isn’t Much of a Reward…

It has been kind of slow for The Gimp lately…or I guess I should say, life has been really hectic and I haven’t had as much time to bitch about life, wheelchair access or shoddy customer service. I’m working a full-time gig, in grad school and doing a field placement for said grad school…it all adds up to anywhere from 60-80 hours a week since late August and lasting through next month.

In other words, I’m too tired to complain.

However, once in awhile a situation becomes so irritating that I find myself having to pull out my trusty writing skills to either vent, whine, complain or hope to resolve the situation. Thanks to Coca-Cola, I have arrived at such a moment.

For well over a year, I have participated in the MyCokeRewards program. For those unfamiliar, it’s a nifty little “rewards” program that offers loyal users of Coke products the opportunity to receive “rewards” for collecting bottle caps/labels and visiting the Coke website to enter codes. The products aren’t particularly fancy, but I’ve enjoyed the program and have reaped a few rewards (mostly movie tickets and smaller items). Generally, it’s a brand loyalty program that has worked well with someone who could easily be considered loyal to the brand anyway.

I prefer Coke to Pepsi, there’s no question. I’ve also, quite honestly, generally regarded Coke as a better community partner and have always enjoyed their products. I’ve never had difficulty with their program until recently.

On January 10, 2011 I had finally compiled enough in the way of rewards to receive what was advertised on MyCokeRewards as a “Red Wireless Mouse.” I ordered the product, read the description of the product before confirming it and was notified on January 11th that the product was being shipped and should arrive within 7-10 days.

A couple of weeks later, slightly late but within a reasonable time, the product arrived. Quite honestly, with my schedule the way it is it would take me another week to even open it. When I did, I was immediately struck by the wording on the package “wireless notebook mouse.” Interesting. While I’m not what I would call a “computer expert,” it struck me as rather odd that I would receive a “notebook mouse” rather than simply a “wireless mouse.” I looked at it carefully, and the mouse definitely looked smaller than a traditional mouse. However, I chose to do some research before contemplating my next action. So, I reviewed a few websites to ensure that I wasn’t going crazy and that, indeed, a “wireless mouse” is different from a “wireless notebook mouse.” I also revisited the MyCokeRewards website to make sure that I hadn’t simply misread the description of the product.

Nope. “Red Wireless Mouse” with no mention whatsoever of it being for a notebook.

So, I finally submitted a customer inquiry on the MyCokeRewards website (which was harder than heck to even find as an option) and waited for a response. And waited. And waited. A couple weeks later (mid-February), I received a formula e-mail that basically read “We realize you wrote to us awhile ago, but our customer care team is experiencing technical issues. We’re working on an upgrade and will get back to you as soon as possible. If you need immediate assistance please call.” As strongly as I felt about this issue, it hardly felt like an “emergency” so I chose to wait until I received a response.

No response. Ever.

So, three weeks or so later I again e-mailed and this time received the message below after waiting 2+weeks:

“Early this year, our customer care team underwent a system conversion that caused technical issues. We realize you wrote to us a while ago and really apologize for the delay in getting back to you. We are working on getting it right and in the meantime, if you need assistance from us, please give us a call toll-free at 866.674.2653.”

This time, I called and spoke with a customer service rep…I believe her name was “loretta,” but can’t be certain as her voice was low.

In both e-mails, I had not requested a restoration of points necessarily. However, I had requested that the product be delivered as promised or that I have the chance to return the product and receive a different product with the points as I do not have a notebook computer and would not have ordered it had the product been accurately described on the site. I also requested that the product description be updated so that others would not make the same mistake.

So, when I spoke with Loretta I fully was open to reaching a point of compromise related to this experience. Admittedly, I was frustrated that it had taken so long. However, to this day the product sits on my kitchen counter unopened and ready to return. I immediately explained to Loretta what had happened in very brief terms…I redeemed a reward described as a red wireless mouse from the site, but had received a red wireless notebook mouse. The rep looked up my account and immediately said “Well, there’s nothing that I can do since you confirmed it. I can’t restore points and there’s nothing I can do about the product.” I again explained “But, the product isn’t as described.” She again said, “you confirmed it.” I responded, admittedly with more agitation, “Actually, I “confirmed” a red wireless mouse not a notebook mouse.” She looked up the product, actually verbalizing the words “red wireless mouse” and I affirmed it saying “See…that’s not what I received. I received a red wireless notebook mouse.”

“Oh well, sorry there’s still nothing I can do about it,” she again said.

For the record, Coke, whoever trained Loretta in basic customer service should be fired.

I made an admittedly agitated crack about switching to Pepsi and hung up. It wasn’t one of my finer moments, but I will admit to having become really frustrated and incredibly appalled by the lack of concern in this person’s voice. Even if she was going to decline every request, she did so in a way that was unconcerned, uncaring and completely lacking in any customer service.

Massive fail, Coke.

The thing is, while I was agitated when I made the Pepsi crack. Guess what? I’m sitting here writing this blog and drinking Diet Pepsi. I don’t bluff. When you alienate me, or any customer, you risk losing the customer. When you make statements that imply you don’t care and can’t solve what was an easily solved problem…guess what? I switch to a different company.

Let’s add it up. I drink a minimum of one two-liter a day. So, Coke, you’ve lost a customer who spends a MINIMUM (and likely much more) of $500 a year on your product over what was likely a less than $10.00 mouse. Because your “customer service rep,” and I use that title very loosely, wasn’t empowered to solve a basic problem you’ve become the subject of a widely read blog bashing your “rewards” program and lost hundreds of dollars in business.

Epic fail.

You see, the big problem was that the customer service rep blatantly lied (and I’ve worked within the computer systems that make these reward programs, so I know these are lies).

1) “We can’t restore your points” – Either she’s blatantly lying or completely unempowered. Your system can accomplish this task and it’s easy. In fact, you did it for me within the last two months when I participated in one of your bonus days and the points didn’t show. I e-mailed you and the points were added “D’oh,” but I thought you couldn’t do that? While I wasn’t asking for restoration of points, it would have been the simple solution. Instead, your customer service rep came off as completely unable to resolve a reasonable concern and, even worse, as lacking any concern about the actual issue.

2) “There’s nothing I can do about the product.” Um, yes there is. You can actually arrange for the correct product OR you can pay to have this product shipped back to you while I pick a new one. Does it cost you a few more bucks? Yep. It does. But, it keeps a long time customer happy. Seems pretty simple to me. Again, if your rep isn’t empowered to do this then why is she even in customer service?

3) “You confirmed it.” I will admit that this line, muttered 3 times, angered me the most…especially when she read the description of the product and realized what I had ordered. In other words, she discovered I was actually right and she was still saying “There’s nothing I can do.” I did not confirm what you ordered…your customer service failed. Pure and simple.

So, Coke, what are you going to do about it now? Are you willing to lose my business forever over this trivial issue that should have been easily fixed (I won’t even talk about your obviously crappy IT department…one month after telling me that your system was being converted it’s still being converted? Um, excuse me…don’t put together a rewards program if you don’t have the ability to maintain it).

The ball’s in your court, Coke. For now, I drink Pepsi and tell everyone about my experience.

 

16 thoughts on “Coke Isn’t Much of a Reward…

  1. Unbelievable (actually not so much nowadays). Let me know if they remedy this situation. Until then, this lifetime Coke drinker is switching to Pepsi as well!

    • Thanks for the support, Robert. Admittedly, this kind of thing seems more common these days. However, I do have faith that they will respond appropriately. I’ll keep you (and everyone else who has responded on Facebook!) informed!

  2. Thank you for your blog, and I am sorry to hear about your situation. I was looking to get this mouse for my son. I have had multiple problems with mycokerewards also; from spending points on a downloadable computer game that they did not say was not compatible for Windows (I had to deduce on my own it was only for Mac), to recieving illegible codes that they would not help me to redeem. Their customer service is horrible, and, unless a free t-shirt or the like is ordered, they are not worth the trouble.

  3. As of 8-24-2011, the “Red Wireless Mouse” still does not mention anything about notebook. Fyi…it also does not support Windows 7 OS for it is not mentioned within description. The “rewards program” requires 1000 points that is the same value as ordering four 12packs of coke. I will pass on the mouse & order the four cases of coke instead. Thanks!

  4. Well I don’t understand what the problem is. A notebook mouse will work just fine with a desktop computer as it will with a notebook computer. A notebook mouse is 100% compatible with a desktop computer, and there are no compatibility issues. Why you’re bitching about a free wireless mouse that from the description is not merely a $10 mouse, it is more around $40 for a mouse with over 1200DPI(it has 1600DPI). $10 have only around 400DPI while 1600DPI is very nice, it’s not the best but it’s more DPI than the Logitech mouse I paid $21 for on sale and normally has a price of $35. It has only 1000DPI.

    • The concern is that the item is not accurately described. There IS a difference between a desktop mouse and a notebook mouse. They are compatible mechanically, but they are different. A notebook mouse is smaller, which makes it more difficult for someone with spasticity issues to grasp. Had the item been accurately described, it would not have been ordered. I am more bothered by Coke’s lack of responsiveness than the actual product. There’s a way to handle a customer (and it doesn’t necessarily mean “replacing” the item). They didn’t lose me as a customer because of the item…They lost me as a customer because they treated me poorly when I expressed my concerns about the item (and yes, they did lose me as a customer. I gave up Coke products completely).

      A 1600 DPI mouse is easily obtainable for $10-15 (Buy.com, NewEgg.com and a number of other sites).

  5. I am in the same boat you are. I recently received the “red wireless mouse” and found that it was actually a notebook mouse. If I had known this up front, I never would have redeemed my 1000 points for it!

    To be fair to Coke, I actually installed and attempted to use this mouse for a week. It doesn’t work correctly with my computer. I probably need a driver, but there were no instructions with the mouse to tell me who made it or where to go to download a driver.

    I’ve been debating on attempting to contact Customer Service. It sounds like that action will be a huge waste of time. Like you, I’m totally disappointed with Coke and their rewards.

  6. a small mouse is easier to handle i prefer a small mouse, and jeannie, hook the mouse up and go to start, control panel, and click on click on look for new hardware!

  7. hey try the mouse you will like it, I didnt think I would like it but a friend had one and I thought wow this is nice much better than a large bulky thing…

  8. I was really planning to get this, but now after I’ve read this I don’t know anymore. But a mouse is a mouse and I could dearly use one that isn’t wired. Is the only difference with it the size? Because I have a netbook rather than a full-size laptop and was just wondering if the size of the wireless notebook mouse you received was built for a computer such as a netbook. And other than the size difference is there really any difference in function? Wish to hear from you soon!

    • Hi:

      I think it should be ideal for use with a netbook. (See my other posts for more details of my experiences). Note: Before you order it, try to find out if it will be compatible with your OS.

  9. Hello All,

    I’m back with an update to my original post on 12.01.11.

    First of all, I tried your suggestions for proper installation of the wireless mouse. Even though my computer never could find the proper driver for it, I WAS able to use it, but it didn’t ever work correctly. Basically, I would describe it as being slow or “sluggish”. Even after I tweaked my mouse settings, it still didn’t respond as quickly as my old Logitech mouse did (and still does).

    My original problem with Coke was their misleading description of the product. I wanted a full-sized mouse, not a mini version. As I said earlier, if it had been described correctly, I wouldn’t have ordered it in the first place. I hated this small mouse. Using it made my wrist hurt!

    After I wrote my previous post, I decided to contact Coke and voice my concerns. I sent 2 emails and later made 2 phone calls. I always got the same runaround answers that the others have reported. Basically, I was told that I shouldn’t have ordered it, if I didn’t want it. And worst of all, the customer service reps. were rude! They never did seem to understand that the item’s description was incorrect.

    Finally, after months of aggravation, I was able to sell the mouse for $10.00. It was purchased by a University student who wanted to use it with his laptop. After he received it, he reported back to me that it worked perfectly with his computer.

    So… I guess my story had a happy ending after all. The student was pleased with the small-sized mouse and thought he got it for a good price. I was very happy to get $10.00 cash in exchange for the 1000 points I thought I had wasted with Coke.

    Unlike some of the other posters here, I didn’t quit drinking my Diet Coke (they just taste too good to give them up). And yes, I’m still entering codes; however, I will be much more discerning in my choices the next time I redeem my points for their “gifts”.

    Lesson Learned!!!

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