So, you may have read my recent post regarding Costco’s response to the Peanut Butter recall on some of their products. In that post I mention how Costco was performing yet another customer service by culling their membership database to find members that had purchased one, or more, of the recalled products and then calling them to let them know about the recall. Personally, I think this is great and just demonstrates one more reason why Costco has such high customer satisfaction. I mean, isn’t it great that someone is using this technology for good?
I had thought that this was a new thing that Costco was trying out, but according to this news story, they have been making these robo-calls regarding safety alerts for 18 months now. Basically, they go through their database of member purchases to see who bought the recalled item, then create a phone list that they send to their outside vendor that will perform the actual calls. They’ve already made 1.5 million calls regarding the peanut butter recalls and expect to make more. And if all that technology is just too much for you, they are also sending out old fashioned snail mail letters (which is more than most companies would even do).
So, mostly the comments and other blog posts that I’ve read regarding these robo-calls has been really favorable. I mean, most people want to know if they are going to eat something or have their child using something that is potentially really harmful or fatal. However, this blog post, which I read today, made me realize that not everyone sees the greatness in what Costco is doing. Some are maybe a little too afraid of it because that means Costco knows what they bought. I’ll be honest, I thought he was over the top paranoid, myself. Because the fact of the matter is, Costco is going to keep track of what you buy whether you know it or not because it is necessary for them to be more efficient and better at providing customer’s with the goods that they want. Costco is going to use it to determine things like what they should stock in their stores or even what should be different across the various locales; they’re going to use that information to help you make easier returns (this is why you don’t need a receipt all the time, I believe); and they are going to use it to better ensure their customers’ health and safety. Not to mention, it’s what all of those grocery store loyalty programs have been doing for years, except Costco won’t be selling your information to advertisers that will target you because of your purchases. And when’s the last time the grocery store has called to tell you about a recall on a purchase?
So, I’m just wondering if more people feel like this is a service that Costco is performing and should be commended for, or as the guy in the blog writes, should Costco ‘mind their own business’ and let you eat salmonella and jelly sandwiches?