I see Anne at her desk typing furiously, while shaking her head. Curious to know why I asked her, "What's up?"
Anne stopped typing and smiled as she turned to me,
"I was just speaking with the Sales Prevention Department at Home Delivery Meals."
"I wanted to send my niece something as a thank you for her help last weekend. I know she buys from Home Delivery Meals, so an e-gift card seemed like a practical choice.
"I popped into their website and discovered that Home Delivery Meals has gift cards at four specific prices, none of which correspond to the amount I want.
"I put one gift card into my virtual shopping cart; when I went to add a second card to increase the amount, the system wouldn't allow it.
"So, I pick up the phone and call Home Delivery Meals. I don't wait long before Chrissy comes on the line with a cheerful greeting.
"I explain what I want to do and what I have experienced so far, and I ask whether there is something that I am doing wrong.
"The first issue is how can I send the amount I want to?" Chrissy asks if I mind holding while she talks with someone else.
"It was probably 2 minutes before Chrissy came back on the line to tell me, "NO, you cannot specify a different amount; the only amounts available are the ones on the website."
"OK, then I would have to buy multiple cards to make up the amount I want. Next, I ask Chrissy whether I can purchase multiple gift cards in one transaction?"
Again, Chrissy puts me on hold while she asks someone else. When she returns, she says, "NO, you cannot purchase multiple gift cards in one transaction; each card would have to be purchased in a separate transaction."
While she is on the phone with me, I proceeded to create the transaction to purchase one gift card.
"When I get to the checkout step, I ask Chrissy why a delivery address and date are required for an electronic gift card and, "Is there a way to bypass this as I don't want to enter the recipient's info?"
Chrissy puts me on hold for the third time. When she comes back, she says, "NO, there is no way to bypass the system; you must provide this information."
"Now, that's three times I have been told "NO." And that is my limit. I thank Chrissy and disengage."
"You see what I mean about Sales Prevention? No sale for Home Delivery Meals today! And I will never order anything from them in the future."
I listened to this whole story without interrupting, but I wanted to ask a question. I take a deep breath and begin by summarizing what I heard.
"It sounds like their system is not set up for gift card sales; it lacks flexibility:
1. You cannot choose your own amount for the gift card.
2. You cannot purchase multiple gift cards in one transaction.
3. You have to specify an order delivery date which may not suit the recipient.
4. You have to provide the delivery address of the recipient who may decide to order from a friend's house, her cottage, or her office."
"My question is this, Anne,
"Will you tell the CEO at Home Delivery Meals about the problem? So, they can fix it?"
Anne smiled as she replied.
"Yes, Edna, I will email the CEO; no one will fix a problem they were not aware of."
"I will send the CEO a copy of this blog post. From there, it is up to Home Delivery Meals to modify their system to be more sales friendly."
I asked, "Is there anything that would get you to reconsider buying from Home Delivery Meals?"
Anne thought for a moment and replied, "Yes. If the CEO replies to my email with a phone call, thanks me for taking the time to alert them to the problem and demonstrates that the issue truly is fixed."
Do you have a Sales Prevention Department in your business? Would anyone tell you if you did?