Learning Strategies, and Brilliance in Business

by Megan M. on January 28, 2008 (Blog) |

Dude, the coolest thing just happened to me.

Last night I tried to order the Classic PhotoReading course from Learning Strategies. I tried to order it three or four times and every time it gave me an AVS error—on two different cards, when I’d been using my cards successfully all over the place this week. The 24-hour sales line couldn’t help me and suggested that I call customer service in the morning, so I left customer service an email (just in case) and planned to call them when they opened at 8.

This morning I called in and they explained that because their security system was so hardcore, even a small inaccuracy in the billing address would cause an AVS problem. I talked to Ryan, who was very helpful and friendly, and ultimately it looked like I needed to call my bank to make sure they didn’t have a slight difference in my billing address—something that might not cause problems with many processing systems, but was probably the issue here. Ryan gave me his direct number, and I set off to call my bank.

I kid you not: For twenty minutes I sat here and pressed buttons and begged the automated system to transfer me to a real person. Most of the options that sounded like what I needed either sent me to a dead-end automation or a very persistent gatekeeper function that wanted a particular telephone-specific number or code from me that I have never had. I looked through all my banking materials and could not discover a way to locate, or obtain, this number that it wanted. I was becoming extremely frustrated and a little bit angry. Why does this have to be so difficult?

I say twenty minutes because about twenty minutes into this horrible process, I got an incoming call. The number looked a bit like the direct line number Ryan had given me, so I took a chance and picked up, ditching the endless, futile phone call with Chase. It was Ryan! He said that they had reset their security system and he thought the card would go through now with no problem. We gave it a shot and it worked brilliantly! I was so relieved that he had called me back, because who knows how long I might have stayed in Chase’s system, cursing the gods of commerce?

You might think that Ryan sounds like an awesome and amiable guy, but you don’t even know the half of it. I was ordering the Classic PhotoReading course for $245, plus 2-day shipping for a total of $266. That was my plan. I had a customer code that entitled me to a little bit of bonus information, but it turned out that the code was long since expired and it wasn’t possible to put it through. But Ryan—I can only assume because of the lengthy back-and-forth, but maybe just because he is a nice guy, or because this is a nice company—offered to give me the “sale price”. He asked if I had considered getting the Deluxe course instead, and I explained that I was buying it in two pieces instead of all at once to be careful with money. He said he had a code, however, that would give me the entire Deluxe course with additional materials, plus overnight shipping, for $253.85—less than I had been planning to pay, for half as many materials, to arrive tomorrow before noon, instead of Wednesday.

Yeah, whoa, that’s what I said! I thanked him and told him to please have a particularly wonderful day. And now I am telling you, because despite my difficult experience with my bank and what could arguably be called a difficult experience with the Learning Strategies payment processing system, I am walking away from this whole situation filled with gratitude and glee, and wanting to tell people about my awesome morning with this company and the dude who picked up the customer service line.

That’s what good business is, folks.

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