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The Office Depot Experience

March 10th, 2007

First, this is a not a paid ad. It is easy to always say things negative, but when something GOOD happens, it is rght to tell that story as well, so here it is.

As those of you who live in Costa Rica certainly know, customer service here is… well… almost non-existent. Coming from the USA, it is one of the culture shock items that can make even a mellow person want to spit nails. Time and time again, I have learned that the seeming philosophy of business here is that they would rather try to get a new customer than retain the old one. Those of you who went to B-school are probably cringing at this statement, but it is true. Many companies here have yet to figure out is is FAR cheaper to keep a customer happy.

So I went to Office Depot on Valentines Day to buy two new phones. I wanted the 5.6 Mhz type that did not crash the wireless in the offices. I bought one for the home and another for the office… the office system had two handsets.

Last week, the second handset stopped taking a charge, and I immediately went into my “Oh geez… now I have to go try to get it replaced (wasn’t going to happen) or wait to have it fixed, praying that I would still be alive when it came back. More bad news… I could not find the receipt… just a copy of my bank statement showing the charge. This was not good.

So off I go the the Office Depot in Uruca expecting the worse, but fully prepared to be my most pleasant self and give it a shot. I was, of course, told no, they could not help me. Like any good consumer, I appealed to a higher authority, in this case, the store manger, Francisco Menjivar. It seems I may have stumbled upon the only enlightened manager in Costa Rica! He promptly resolved this issue, replaced the defective handset, and I was out of there in 2o minutes. I have no idea if his bosses would approve of his actions, but for sure I did!

So why am I writing this? The simple fact is that I will return to that store and I will buy again, and I will do that because of this manager. I doubt his bosses will ever read this, but they should. You done good Don Francisco. You saved a customer, and you can bet I’ll send you others if I can.


3 Responses to “The Office Depot Experience”

  1. Mark Stewart on March 11, 2007 8:36 am

    Hi Tim,

    I’m glad you had a pleasant experience! I have something of a similar tale.

    On our first visit to CR, we stopped at a Supermercado in San Isidro to get supplies for the week. A young employee noticed our confusion at some of the products. He walked with us the entire time and carefully explained in both English and Spanish what the item was, how it was used and even offered suggestions on cheaper alternatives. After paying, he helped us load our car. I tried to give him a tip, since he had put forth extra effort. He flatly refused saying it was his pleasure.

    Needless to say, we shop there every time we go down there!

    Regards,

    Mark

  2. Leigh on October 16, 2007 7:30 pm

    We have purchased land in Costa Rica and plan on building a home in about 3-4 years. My hope is to furnished this home buying furniture, housewares, and etc., from stores in Costa Rica. I would like to know if there are any American stores in Costa Rica and if you know names of most of the clothing and household stores in Costa Rica?

  3. jj on May 25, 2008 3:53 pm

    Office Depot has the WORST call centers in the world. Everytime I have to talk to those Phillipine outsource call center staff I cringe. What a waste of time. My business is slowly transferring to Staples and I’ll be done with Office Depot in a few weeks.

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