[This is a post I made recently in the Full Tilt customer service thread on 2+2, and what I spent my time on today rather than writing the usual blog post. If you agree with some or all of the sentiment, can you go "+1" my post in the Doug Thread? Thanks.]
It has come to my attention that at least two regulars have received merchandise from the store that was refurbished. How does that happen?!? That is not how you treat your top customers. I think you need to take a step back and take a look at your store and points system overall:
* The merchandise in your store is very meh. Granted, it's getting better, but considering many items seem to be drop shipped via a third party (and you don't warehouse the items), you can probably negotiate a wider selection of merchandise.
* All merchandise take a rakeback hit. Charging people money for a token of your appreciation is just bad form. Readjust the points if you have to - you seem to readjust periodically anyway.
* It takes between 3-6 weeks for merchandise to arrive. I assumed part of it is because you wanted players to "clear" the points they already accumulated and spent, but considering my volume, many items I order still take a long time. So now I am of the opinion that mostly it's because the Store is slow.
* And now... merchandise may or may not be new. When two high volume regulars say they got bad merchandise within a few days, it makes me wonder if this is a change in policy. I recently ordered something small for a charity event and now I'm wondering if that item was refurbished and I'm going to look like a douchebag for donating a refurbished item to charity. I really hope this was your supplier trying to rip you off (as bad as that sounds), rather than a conscious decision by management to save a few bucks.
What are you doing?!? You are a multi-BILLION dollar company. You are not Joe's House of Discount Poker located in some mom's basement. You are currently the NUMBER TWO online poker site in the WORLD.
Am I wrong in assuming that at some point, you would like to be the #1 poker site in the world? How do you expect that to happen? Not sure if you are aware, but at PokerStars (the #1 poker site), you can exchange your points for CASH or ANYTHING CASH CAN BUY (exclusions for hookers, blow, etc. ). So let's see... I can play at FT and get a small selection of refurbished merchandise which will cost me money and will take over a month to arrive, OR I can get TWICE AS MUCH CASH or ANYTHING CASH CAN BUY. Wow. That's a tough decision for both current and new high volume players.
The only logical explanations I can think of are: (i) incompetence - no explanation needed, (ii) nepotism - like if Lederer had a high school dropout nephew was in charge of the Store and he had a coke problem and he needed to skim off the top, or (iii) this is all intentional, and is part of a bizarre conspiracy to get us to use the points on tournament entries rather than merchandise.
The Store is suppose to be a player REWARDS program - a way for you to tell your high volume patrons, "Thank you for your continued support." It's not that different from a live casino where they have a dedicated marketing department that makes sure its customers are happy and keep coming back. But the Bellagio would never say, "yes - I can get you in for dinner, but not at some of the better restaurants. Oh - and you have to eat the other patrons' leftovers," or "I can get you seats to see 'O' - how does next September sound?" or "we would love to arrange for limousine transportation - but you have to pay for the gas." For a rewards program, you're not making players feel like they are being rewarded.
Finally, this post is not to hate on FT. On the contrary, I really enjoy playing on your site and would like to see you become a world-class organization. After watching you for two years, I don't think you're headed in the right direction.
P.S. Don't doomswitch me!
P.P.S. Yes - I know this was tl;dr.
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