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Professional Webmaster Business Issues Forum

    
The Importance of Customer Service...
...for those running their own sites
mivox




msg:778853
 9:17 pm on May 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

They say you've only got one chance to make a sale... if there's something wrong with your site, you've lost the sale. I'm here to say there's still hope!

We just launched a major site redesign yesterday, and while I fixed all the visual errors, I neglected to test the shopping cart checkout system. As it turns out, a potential customer tried to make a purchase, and due to an over sight on my part, was unable to check out. He was awfully unhappy with us... but did take the time to email a complaint through our customer service script.

(Our checkout button had actually been left completely off the new site design... OOPS!)

Customer Complaint/My Reply
>>I wanted to place an order, could not find "CHECKOUT" damn poor website, hope
>>this does not reflect your products.

My apologies. There appears to be a glitch in our new site design. it should be fixed within the hour.

Our redesign was launched yesterday evening, and as with any large project, there are sometimes a few 'kinks' that need to be worked out in the new system.


Customer Reply/My Reply 2
>>Your web designer must be related to Bill Gates, (little humor), thanks.

Actually, I am not related to Bill Gates. :) I've been working on the redesign for two weeks, and apparently got to the point where I couldn't see the proverbial forest for the trees... just a simple oversight.

My apologies for your inconvenience. I'm working on it right now.


My Final Message/Customer Reply
Everything is working as it should be with the shopping cart now.

There seems to be a conflict with the new layout and the shopping cart, so I put the 'old' checkout forms back up while I find a solution.

The site is still functioning securely, and your order can be processed as normal.

Thank you again for your patience.

>>Thank you for the update, I shall.

I bit my tongue, put on the proverbial "happy face", and perservered... and the customer did actually return to complete the purchase <insert sigh of relief here>! All within an hour of receiving his original email message. (I think speed of response is a HUGE part of it, IMHO)

 

sugarkane




msg:778854
 11:18 pm on May 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

Perversely enough, a discontented customer is one of the best things that can happen to you. If you rectify the situation quickly, and smother that customer with apologies / compensatory gifts etc, then you've got a customer for life - and you can be sure they'll tell other people about the good treatment they've received...

mivox




msg:778855
 11:25 pm on May 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

smother that customer with apologies / compensatory gifts etc

LOL... probably much easier to pull off with *polite* discontented customers! :)

toolman




msg:778856
 11:25 pm on May 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

This also points out the fact that the speed of business is indeed moving at the speed of light.....customers won't wait and they will actually be more vocal about their disatisfaction than they would face to face.

sugarkane




msg:778857
 11:44 pm on May 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

mivox> *polite* discontented customers! :)

The angrier they are, the better they feel when the problem's sorted ;)

toolman> customers won't wait [...] be more vocal

Gawd, tell me about this. Customers seem to expect a response within minutes - quite difficult when you're dealing with an international market and need to sleep occasionally

mivox




msg:778858
 11:51 pm on May 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

The angrier they are, the better they feel

LOL... probably true. :) Hopefully, this guy will tell all his buddies about us. Right now, I'm just afraid he'll get the product, and be disappointed with it and blame us...

sugarkane




msg:778859
 12:41 am on May 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

> be disappointed with it and blame us...

You can only sell the products you have - if it's a 'one hitter' you just have to go with that. Make sure your returns policy is spelled out.

> Hopefully, this guy will tell all his buddies about us

You can be cetain of that - whether good or bad. The best viral marketing technique I've come across is to treat customers well :)

tedster




msg:778860
 5:22 am on May 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> a discontented customer is one of the best things that can happen to you. <<

I couldn't agree more. I spent 20 years in the bricks world doing retail management before I caught the web bug. The more we instilled in our company the sense of LOVING complaints, and also empowering people to handle them well, the more our businesses thrived.

After all, if something is wrong, the sooner we know the better. We figured that for everyone who takes the time to let us know what was wrong, at least another 20 people had the same problem.

Some of the most loyal customers can be the ones who got great service when they had a problem. It can be a great investment to offer them some significant form of compensation -- like a 50% discount. You bet they'll be doing some great word-of-mouth for you with a deal like that, and chances are you'll still be breaking even. It's FREE advertising.

drbill




msg:778861
 7:17 pm on May 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

I had a customer that emailed me at 3:00am screaming about not being able to get what he needed. He was shocked when he recived an email from me at 3:09am and a call from me at 3:14am (that was only after he asked for a call)

Happy customer.

I was lucky that a server had me up all night and my email is monitored every 5 mins. :) But I wish I could be there 24/7 as then I would have many many more customers that were happy...

Ever have one that just did not want to be happy? What to do when they are unhappy and nothing you can do to make them happy?

I have a policy If I can't fix it within 3 emails or 1 email and a call (yes phone account is huge) then they can go somewhere else. :)

Drastic




msg:778862
 7:57 pm on May 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

>Ever have one that just did not want to be happy? What to do when they are unhappy and nothing you can do to make them happy?

I ran into this a lot in the management of brick-and-mortar biz. The thing is, it doesn't matter *what* you do, some of these people will find something to gripe about. All you can do is offer what you feel is a fair shake and leave it at that. Move on to the next customer, don't tie your time up with one person who will never be satisfied.

Xoc




msg:778863
 7:46 pm on Jun 2, 2001 (gmt 0)

The thing to remember is that:

The customer is not always right. But the customer is always the customer, and should be treated that way.

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