Barnes and Noble, Please Make Me Feel Special

I joined the Barnes and Noble book club a few years ago. It was about $25 for the year and I thought joining would help meet the needs of my family. The price was right, my family used the card enough to consider it a good value and the services I received for the initial year were sufficient.

I found out early last year that they automatically billed me for another year’s service for the book club. Apparently I was not notified except through a credit card charge. I maybe should have been aware of this policy but I thought I would be notified before the transaction went through. From a business perspective, I understand Barnes and Noble doing this – it’s designed to benefit B&N and not the customer. And I know their logic and business model – once a customer joins, they will be less likely to cancel as it will automatically renew year after year (whether you use it or not). My initial approach was just to try it out for one year and then decide if it was useful, I’d renew.  

Barnes & Noble image from Hothardware website

Suggestion: Why not a call the customer (people like me) to verify that I’m happy with the service? Excellent way to do market research on this service and the bookstore overall. Or at least, personalize an email? At least after the 1st year – are there new features now available? Make me feel special by offering me a coupon for a free magazine or 50% off any paperback in the store. If you take me for granted and I don’t feel special, I don’t feel any loyalty to patronize your store. Instead of a win-win, it might become a lose-lose.

I did cancel my membership after some wrangling  although I still visit from time to time. I’m always asked after a purchase if I want to join the book club although I’m quite sure the store clerk does not want to hear me tell my story about being disappointed with Barnes Nobles’ handling of my membership. Even if they did care, they’re most likely powerless to change corporate policy. Why not pretend to make me feel special?

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.

8 Responses

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