- A tail of what not to do when it comes to customer service - A tail of what not to do when it comes to customer service


Product Code: CT111

Product Features
Product Features
Back at the start of 2013, I made a decision to switch from PVC tape over to gummed tape (see the details here) and this has been great decision. I decided that it was finally time to switch from plain brown tape over to custom printed gummed tape just like the "big boys" do. So my search started on the web and after collecting data on about eight different custom tape sites (cost per ft, shipping costs, setup costs, tape quality, etc), I determined that I would go ahead with had the best website (that isn't saying much because some of the websites were really, really bad) with the most product and pricing information and so we placed an order for about 27k feet of custom printed tape to test the waters. Ironically the site was a Volusion site also. We placed the order April 25th and as requested, emailed the artwork into them. Being custom, you don't expect it next week but usually there is a confirmation and proof from of the vendor (I'm sure a number of you out there do this same thing) before they begin production on a custom item. So on May 5th, I submitted a CRM ticket to ask the status of the order and they indicated that they had not received my artwork so I re-sent it again - in two formats with a 3D rendering of the final tape.

I figure we are good to go here now. So on the 16th of May I followed up this time with a CRM ticket, again attaching the art work, recapping the communications we've had and asking for an update. Fast forward to May 22nd and I figure, this is one of these off-line companies that hasn't figured out e-commerce and that it just might work better to contact them via the phone. So I did and I talked with who I believe was Tom in "customer support" department - there was some confusion about me, the company and the order (I provided my order ID thinking that would be the most efficient method to find my order). After a few minutes he finds the order and yells over to another person asking if someone knows about my order. While he's having that person hunt down my order information, I offer up some suggestions on the customer service from a customer’s perspective. He then responds, so do you want me to process your order or not? I say – no, on second thought I will take a refund.

I think there are two lessons in this – one is that if a customer is “brave” enough to provide honest, constructive feedback – take it. Too often customers see a problem (invalid/missing website information, competitors that you might not have known about, a better way to do something, etc) that they don’t tell you about. I think about this every time I look at the abandoned carts and wonder – why?

Second is – that you really don’t have to be “that” much better than your completion to beat them out of sales. When you go to a e-commerce website that has buttons for all the options you want on a product you want to purchase but then has a “call to order” instead of a “place in cart” button, it doesn’t really take that much more beat that competitor out of the sale. Going above and beyond only assures your market superiority – just like life in general, some e-commerce sites don’t make the additional effort to go that little bit extra.