Monday, November 07, 2005

Ecommerce Customer Service

I posted a week ago about my favorite soap. After placing my order I still don't have it. Nor did I ever receive any updates about when it would be available.

I just called the gift shop at the Ahwahnee hotel, reached the 'internet" customer service and discovered that my order went through their site but somehow was forgotten. The woman I spoke to obviously could care less about helping me, told me the site advised delivery in 3-4 weeks which is incorrect- it doesn't say that. And what kind of business considers 3-4 week delivery as acceptable? What a joke.

Well, they found my "missing" order and told me it will ship today (we shall see). No apology, no "thank you for your patience", no "thank you for your order", just a feeling I was responsible for interrupting her day.

All in all, while the product happens to be excellent, my purchase experience sucked.

My challenge is accepting this atrocious level of customer service, and a less than perfect web purchase experience. Put me in charge of that (likely tiny) operation and heads would roll ASAP.

Many people think they pop up a Yahoo! store, get a PayPal account and bam, they have a fine internet business. Ugh. Look, I have news for you that you can take to the bank:

Customer service rules all. A quick, easy purchase with email follow-up at every stage is critical. Fast delivery is crucial. Automatically providing a tracking number should be expected. Greet phone calls with a smile in your voice.

If you are putting up a web store just because somebody told you that you need to have an internet site is a disservice to your Customers, and your business, because if you provide a crappy experience, good Customer comments turn to bad comments.

Back in the late 90's when the web was in its infancy, people didn't know better. Well, they do now, and there are no excuses for anything less than an AWESOME, FUN, INCREDIBLE ecommerce transaction!

Rant over.

I wish I could figure out who makes that soap. I would love to offer it to you on my site.

Pete