My Account Was Hacked! A Lesson in Customer Service
If you’ve read my blog before, you know I love Starbucks. When taking a road trip, I use Google maps to find the closest location when I need a little pick-me-up. When flying, I seek them out in airports. And while recently strolling down the street in Lima, Peru, I spied that familiar green logo and my husband immediately knew I’d have to stop in for my favorite latté.
Several years ago I signed up for their loyalty program, tied my Starbucks card into one of my credit cards and now proudly carry my own personal Starbucks Gold Card that is always “filled” with enough financial credit to ensure I can support my addiction.
I was sitting at my desk last week responding to emails when suddenly an automated email from Starbucks popped up thanking me for “reloading” my Gold Card. I thought it a bit odd, as I hadn’t visited a Starbucks in over a week and usually, as soon as I hit my pre-determined minimum, it reloads on the spot.
A minute later I received another automated email telling me they had “reloaded” my card. “Hmmm …” I thought, “There’s a glitch in their email system because I got that email twice.”
A minute after that, I received another email confirming my Starbucks Card Balance Transfer of $XXX from my Gold Card to a different Starbucks card number.
Wait … What?!?
I looked back at the first reload email and compared it to the second reload email and realized there were two different transaction numbers … And now it all made sense.
It seems someone had hacked into my account, transferred $XXX from my credit card to my Gold Card, did it again, and then transferred the entire amount to their own Starbucks card! I was flabbergasted.
I immediately called Starbucks customer service and the guy on the other end of the phone could not have handled the situation any better if he tried.
First he was sympathetic and apologized profusely, as if he himself had done me wrong. (I immediately felt like I had made a new friend at my favorite brand.)
Then he promised to “make it all right.” There was no questioning me (“Did you give someone else access to your account? Does anyone else have your password? Is it possible you granted access to someone and just forgot?” — The usual bland, accusatory tone that I expected).
He encouraged me to immediately change my password to something stronger. Done.
He then reversed all the charges. Yeah!
He refilled my card to the exact amount BEFORE the hack, and promised to send me a new card immediately. Excellent!
All the while working in a competent but friendly manner, telling me he had never heard of this happening to anyone at Starbucks before. (Thank goodness.)
Net-net, we ended the call with me feeling totally vindicated, confident that my account was now secure once again and knowing that I would continue to be brand loyal.
Now, why can’t all customer service reps be this sympathetic when a customer calls? Why do most of them seem to either:
- Speak too fast (so I have to ask them to repeat what they said) or too slow (like I’m an idiot)
- Be totally bored with my problem
- Distrust that I’m telling the truth
- Need me to repeat my name, or email address, or mailing address over and over again
While I know that there are plenty of consumers who are trying to “scam” companies (claiming the merchandise was broken when it arrived when they themselves broke it), the motto “the customer is always right” seems like a long-forgotten cliché for many organizations.
So kudos to Starbucks … And to their customer service rep (I think his name was Bob; I pictured him as sort of a 40-something with a beard — like the friendly neighbor who chases your dog down the street when it escapes your yard). I’ll keep visiting your stores and I’ll keep my loyalty card because those “every 10th drink free” isn’t the only incentive for continuing to do business with them.
A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.