02 May Game Design Lesson #13: Store Credit?

I have been looking for a good camera bag for a number of weeks, and finally settled on one I wanted. I had about $200 to spend on it, and wanted it to be able to carry not only a good camera, but any other items I might need for a day trip. I travelled specially to the shop and asked the guy at the desk if they stocked it. He said no, but there was another one that was just as good for the same $200 figure. He assured me that it would fit the laptop that I had (around 12″ in length), so I bought it and took the bag home.

Lo and behold, the laptop did not fit.

Today I went back again, with a bit more research under my belt. I had found the original bag I wanted at another store for less than $200, and it would fit my laptop. I brought the bag in, tags all intact, and asked the guy at the counter if he would give me a refund.

He didn’t use so many words, but instead tried to sell me a different back pack yet again. In fact, he was quite pushy. When I continued to ask for a refund, he continued to say, “Why don’t you want this one? Just get this one.” And, to be honest, was getting pretty unpleasant. Aussies as a rule don’t usually like to make a fuss, and I was starting to feel a bit like was in the wrong for wanting my money back.

In the end he said that he could give me store credit, so I accepted that and left.

With a very bitter taste in my mouth.

Here’s the thing – I had $200 to spend. Now I have to spend nearly double that just to get a bag that does what I want.

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Despite having purchased virtually all of my camera gear from that shop up to now, I have resolved that once I have spent my store credit, I will not give them custom again. I’m done. In fact, I’m pretty mad. I’ll probably calm down in a few days… probably anyway.

This is a valuable lesson.

The next time you think about your refund policy, take a moment to think about what effect you’re having on your customers. Did they enjoy the experience or not? Did they get what they wanted, or not? Personally I would far prefer to give an unsatisfied customer back their money rather than have any customers experience what I did today. It may not seem like a big deal, but loyalty is really what you’re looking for. And you can only really get loyalty by being good to people and treating them in a way that makes them happy with their experience.

Do you have any stories to tell about refunds, good or bad? Let me know in the comments section below!

~Oliver R. Shead


Other Articles:

Maps in RPGs – A Guest Blog Post by Christian Mintert

Game Design Lesson #11: What My Cat Taught Me About Game Design

Game Design Lesson #12: Refunds

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