Old fashioned service still counts for a lot

You can have the flashiest, coolest website with the latest and greatest products and services but if your customer service is rubbish then why bother?

Why do people make it so hard for you to buy from them?

This is a topic that has exercised my mind before. See my blog entry. But it’s one that just won’t go away. Recently I surfed the net looking for a product and trying to find the best deal. Finally I found it but I needed to know if the supplier stocked refills for the item in question. I couldn’t find them on the site. No phone number! I had to look them up in the White Pages and when I rang I just got an answering machine. I left a message and no one replied.

Then I filled out the email form on the site. It took more than 24 hours before I got a reply. They said they did have refills and if I went to the site later in the day I could find it there and order both and get free shipping. So I went back to the site later in the day… that night… and first thing in the morning… Nothing. I emailed them again, and again. I left two more phone messages and eventually received another email saying that it would happen soon. A few hours later it did but now the price on the original item had been been increased by $10! So I wrote and asked why. No reply…

I decided I really needed this product so I gritted my teeth and went to fill out the account form. Date of Birth! Please! Why do you need my date of birth? I checked the privacy policy which in my opinion was more like an invasion of privacy policy and decided to look elsewhere.

So what is good service?

I found another site, slightly dearer that had both the item and the refills on the site. It had several phone numbers so I called to see how much delivery was. I explained my previous problem and the guy said “I’ll give you free delivery if you buy both. Go back to the site in half an hour and I’ll have set it up for you”. I did and he had! So here’s my list for good customer service:

  • Reply to queries quickly
  • Do what you say you’ll do
  • Do it when you said you would do it
  • Make it easy for people to contact you
  • Don’t be sneaky (as in this case by hiking up the price without saying anything)
  • Don’t make your forms more daunting than they need to be. Do you really need someone’s Date of Birth?

That’s my whinge for today and congratulations to the supplier I bought from who wants to remain nameless – great service and modest too!

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