When Customer Service Really Isn’t   3 comments

MCR LogoI am a Diet Coke drinker. Addict. Obsessed person. I have a soda in my hands from morning ’til night. Actually, that’s not the whole picture. My Bubba Keg with Diet Coke sits on my nightstand overnight, too, so I can have a wee sip in the dark of the night.

I love Diet Coke.

So, when they began a rewards program for their customers, it was inevitable that I would sign on. My Coke Rewards has been one of my annoying little habits for several years now; I dutifully enter the codes found under caps and inside cardboard containers of all Coke products. That must make me a model customer. A loyal customer.

I really want to like the program … one of the first rewards that we claimed was a discounted hotel package to stay at Yosemite National Park for a family vacation. We stayed at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, and the family had a wonderful time. Courtesy of Diet Coke. It was a perfect, positive brand enhancement.

Picture perfect brand enhancement!

Picture perfect brand enhancement!

All good, right?

I am sad they haven’t offered that or any other comparable award since. I’ve had to make do with gift cards and the occasional kitchen utensil (for guess who).

Two days ago, I got an email telling me that if I entered codes from 12-packs, I would get double points. Winner! I dutifully dug into the drawer, and found some 12-pack codes waiting to be entered. Logged into my account.

And found that I had been robbed.

I had amassed a few thousand points, but they were gone. I went into the account history, and found that someone had gotten a $50 gift card and a $20 video game reward from my account. But it wasn’t me.


I found the way to email the My Coke Rewards customer service folks, and sent them my tale of woe. I quickly got a form email back telling me they’d respond in 48 hours. No problem. Today, I got the response.

Here’s the subject line of the email they sent me addressing my problem:


When I replied to the email, here is the header information from their email that automatically copied into my email:


At this point, I’m not feeling too warm and fuzzy. I’m also not feeling very Korean (or whatever language that is).

I then read the email below … which was in English, luckily:

Dear Henry,

Thank you for contacting MyCokeRewards.com and for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

While we are not aware of any technical issues regarding the e-gift cards, we’d like to share this information with our technical teams. Please reply directly to this message with the following information:

– Does anyone else have access to the account?
– Do you access your account from home, work, library etc..?
– Had you downloaded any new software prior to the unauthorized transactions?
– Have any of your other personal accounts been affected (bank, credit card, etc…)?

Translation: isn’t it really YOUR fault that this happened? They ask me 4 questions, and all 4 assume that I have made a mistake to defeat their perfect security system. After all, as the email states, “we” are not aware of any technical issues. So it must be “you.”

Then they deliver the bitter pill, wrapped in aspartame (as befits a diet drink):

We’ll be happy to refund your points for the purchases in your account.  Please note this is being done as a one-time gesture of goodwill.  Therefore, we ask that you change your MCR password for security purposes.  Once you have done so, let us know and we’ll refund your points as promised.

Two real problems here:

1. They’re willing – happy, even – to refund my points. That’s implies there was a problem with my usage of the points, so they will balance the account by returning the funds used. They don’t say they will replace the points, which is more accurate, and less inflammatory.

2. They want me to change my MCR password. Uh, OK, what’s that? Then it hit me: MCR = My Coke Rewards. I’m just not hip enough to know their jargon. Classic customer service problem … you have to speak in your customer’s language (blew that one again, didn’t they!). By using jargon, they were actually talking down to me instead of communicating clearly what needed to happen.

We recommend that you take necessary steps to ensure continued security of your account.  For example, you may also wish to update the password to the email address linked to your MCR account.  We also suggest that you do not share your user name and/or password with anyone.

They then went on to tell me they recommend I take steps to change the password on my email account … you know, because they hadn’t messed enough things up for me. And, by the way, my email account password is DIFFERENT from the password that My Coke Rewards has … so even if my email was hacked (it wasn’t), the hacker wouldn’t have gained access to my precious points in, uh, MCR.

We look forward to hearing back from you.

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us again.



Now, I don’t know who Luerena is, but she speaks for the entire Coca-Cola corporation when she tells me that “we” are looking forward to hearing from me.

They heard from me.

Was I snarky about the foreign language? You bet.

Was I snarky about their blame on me for no reason? You bet.

Did they replace the points in the account? You bet.

Thank goodness. I can’t imagine switching to Diet Pepsi.

Coca-Cola logo

Posted November 9, 2013 by henrymowry in Living Life

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3 responses to “When Customer Service Really Isn’t

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  1. oh, come on henry….just switch to REGULAR pepsi, and continue that running program you have… Diet Coke will eat your insides. honestly, i enjoyed reading your experience…

  2. Would have loved to have read all of those the e-mails!

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