07 July 2016

The smallest of customer support mistakes can cause brand damage


I’m a big fan of and believer in great customer support; it should be one of your company’s highest priorities. So when I experience bad service as a customer myself, it affects me deeply.

Recently, I ordered a small item from an online electronics retailer. The first time the company tried to deliver it to me, the delivery service failed to find my correct business address. (These things happen. Shipping to a business address can be tricky. I tried not to hold it against the retailer.) Fair enough, my item got sent back; we’d try again.  

The second try was also unsuccessful. This time, however, the online store sent me a closing email from customer support asking me about my customer-service experience after the first failed attempt. I thought to myself, What? Can’t they see that they haven’t yet delivered the item? The support email even included the tracking number! Shouldn’t they have checked it themselves to confirm delivery before closing my inquiry?

Believe it or not, this went on twice more. The last email I received then told me that I should allow 10 business days for delivery. That was 15 business days ago …

I think it’s safe to say I’ll never order another item from this retailer.

At some time or another, we’ve all probably had an online customer-service story like the one above. What’s particularly frustrating is that companies can easily – and must! – avoid mistakes like these, especially when their business model is online shopping and delivery.  

As online retailers, you can’t blame the delivery companies for your messes; you must take responsibility and make every effort to resolve the issue for your customer. At the very least, send a personal email apology. Even better? Find another delivery company ASAP and mail it out express!  

Companies make mistakes – I get that. But it’s how they handle those mistakes that matters. After another bad customer-service experience lately (another online retailer), I posted an annoyed, angry complaint on the company’s Facebook page. But by responding to me promptly, apologising, and clearly outlining the problem to me, the retailer diffused my frustration and changed my customer-service experience. I felt like I mattered to them – that they valued me as a customer. Consequently, I have continued to buy from them.  

Your customers are your income – your bread and butter. If they’re unhappy, they’ll leave. Simple as that. Don’t let little mistakes turn into big problems. Take care of your customers no matter what.

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