Thursday, July 26, 2012

Customer Service - Convenient for business or customer?

DustyCorners at posted an article about an experience she recently had with an online business and decided that it was worth posting about!! I agreed, so I copied this over to the OLA Team Blog to share. This brings up the question - How do you want your customers to see YOU?

"It can't be said enough, that customer service will make you or break you
It seems the generation after the baby boomers have a different perspective on what customer service really means. Is it more convenient for the business or the customer?

My recent experience with an established business has prompted this post today.

Scenario: Going through my late mother's porcelain dolls to sort out what may have some value from the everyday low end dolls.

I found an all porcelain (no cloth body) doll that needed finished and dressed. The back of the head was marked Germany and the body was marked Byron with other information. I recognized this to be more on the expensive side of dollmaking so off I went on the internet to find what current going prices may be. (what would I do without internet LOL)

I found a company that sold various supplies of doll making, they even have a catalog to order. Smile. Well, I don't need a catalog, just want to find a price on this particular doll body and head.
Ok, found them!

5-Pc. Side Slant
Straight Arms & Legs
B-157 12" (30.5cm)
Join with 1 yd. x
3/16" (9 ga) elastic.
Shoes 2-3/4"L (70mm)
B-614* 10-1/2" (26.5cm)
Join with 1 yd. x
3/16" (9 ga) elastic.
Shoes 2-1/4"L (57mm)

Wow, they even tell me what size shoes this doll will wear! Price, where is the price? "See pricing & ordering information below." (with a link)
I find this: "To order an item, add the quantity you wish in the blank space provided. Then click on the Order button to add it to your shopping basket. Remember: You can combine certain items for quantity pricing. You can also create a Bookmark or Favorites entry on your web browser to save links to this or other pages for future ordering." What? Where? Oh, I see a FAQ section, maybe they have the answer in there..........

FAQ section I find this: I see the item I want but no item number or price. How do I find it?

You haven't scrolled down far enough on the screen. The photo and description appear at the top of the screen. The item number and price appear below this.
(Click here to return to top of page.)

After about 5 minutes of trying to figure this out...............
I almost give up. Then I see they have a facebook page!!!! So I go there, but nothing noted I can use so I just send them a message and got a reply today.

Me: "Hello, I am having trouble using your website. I see the Byron doll parts I want, and cannot find the price.

Your FAQ states to scroll the page, and I have, all the way to the bottom and checked the sides. No prices.

I tried another browser and that is not the problem.

How do I find a price and shipping cost of the Byron Doll Style 36 B-157, 5pc side slant on your website?

Thanks so much! Dusty"
Their answer: "Hi Dusty, The item numbers we use are all 8 digit numbers. So the first step is to find our number for that mold. If you can call me at the office on Thurs aft or Friday I will be happy to work with you on that. I can consult our catalogs there to come up with the right number! Thanks, Laurie - my ext is 212 and call us at 330-***-****"
Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes 

Needless to say, but I am not spending any more time with this company.

First of all, they should have clearly stated which items are Not available on their catalog. Second, I gave her all the info of Their Product in my question, so why didn't she just look it up and let me know!!!!!!!!!!

Am I expecting too much from a customer's side of a business? All I wanted was a price of a product I found in a current catalog.

This company has been around for over 50 years, so my non-purchase won't hurt them at all. But what about the small business? Many small companies today need every sale possible. Could you afford to lose even one customer because of the customer service offered (or lack of) ??"

Dusty's post really points out a not so surprising attitude nowdays. Is your business big enough to "pooh-pooh" ANY customer, big or small? Perhaps this customer may not buy today but what about future buys? Is your website clear to the customer? Can they locate the necessary tools to make a decision quickly and easily (after all, a lot of sales are impulse shopping!! If they can't find it, they can't buy!!)?

So, for anyone in eCommerce, take a look from a customers perspective . . . . you might learn a thing or two about your own business!!

Thank you DustyCorners for posting this and bringing it to our attention!! Now, if you want some great deals, especially in the month of JULY (Christmas in July sales), hop on over to DustyCorners and poke around!! She has some fabulous finds!!