For the want of 5p

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Today I went into the Body Shop in Chichester for some shaving cream. It was to cost £8.00 – not a small amount for a pot of creamy paste, but I’d enjoyed The last one I used and liked it. Last time it cost £5.99. The assistant instantly offered me a ‘free’ £4 ‘gift’ if I spent another £8. I didn’t want the gift or the extra expenditure. At the till I dipped into my pocket and found I had £7.95.

The assistant held her hand open and waited. I didn’t have the additional 5p and eventually found another way to pay. The assistant pointed out that they would ‘give’ me another £10 off if I spent a further £25 in the next two weeks. But I had needed 5 pence worth of grace 30 seconds ago and it wasn’t forthcoming. I left the shop, walked down the street and decided I didn’t want the thought of using a cream provided by a company that needed that 5p so badly so I returned to the shop and got my money back. The Body Shop? I won’t be shopping there for a while.

Compare that with next shop I went into: Rohan, also in Chichester. The manager phoned one branch after another to try and get me a raincoat the colour I wanted in my size – sadly to no avail – AND offered me a further 10% off if he could get one! It took him 20 minutes. Sadly the blue raincoat I’d waited to get in the sale is no more. I’ll have to wait for the next production run – or something. Needless to say, I buy Rohan products because they are committed to me, not mean.

Five pence. The credit card transaction costs more than that!

I’m sending an email to customer services of both Rohan and the Body Shop to see what they have to say about today, and I’ll let you know what happens. In today’s competitive world no one can afford to lose a customer for the cost of 5p.
Or maybe they can? I wonder if L’Oreal would regard me as ‘worth it’?

Update:22.7.11. Two things happened today. Brian at the Chichester Rohan shop phoned me. They have found a blue raincoat in my size and will be delighted to give me a further 15% (not 10%) off. It is the last one for sale in the country. Well done Brian. And Rohan head office replied to my invitation to view the site. They had, and wanted me to say which store so they could personally credit the staff with my appreciation. I told them and have updated this site. They also apologised for not being able to get me what I wanted on this occasion. (Now they have of course.)

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3 Comments

  1. How sad that a company committed to just practices throughout the world can behave so unjustly; losing customer loyalty let alone the cash. How pleasing a company all about function not fashion can fashion its way to delivering top quality service. As an avid user of both companies, I’ll lean just that little bit more to Rohan. I love their Mac!! Long may Rohan ‘rain’ (sic) on the high street!

  2. They weren’t acting unjustly, Stephen. They were legalistically inflexible, leaving no room for humanity. I felt I’d hit my head on a rock when what I wanted was a person. The 5p mattered more than my sense of wellbeing. The whole few minutes communicated the message ‘There is no give and take with us when it comes to money. Only take.’ Rohan, on the other hand, had a playful, relaxed attitude. It is fun to go in and shop there. BTW, I bought a shaving product in Boots, who gave me an immediate 12p ‘back’ on my Advantage card!

  3. I recently had the pleasure of buying an item at the same branch of Rohan and was delighted with the service. I was left with the impression that nothing mattered more to that business than to see me leaving the shop with a big smile on my face.

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