Online shopping whilst working remote is a godsend. You find brands you love and stick with them. Recently, I had 2 experiences that were mind boggling in their differences.
I found a sunglass company on Instagram – I’d followed them and their brand ambassadors for months. I loved that I could customise the lenses, the arms, and even the colour of the Polaroid. I’m obsessed with Polaroid lenses and high quality UVA/UVB protection as I spend a lot of time outdoors. This company has a 1 yr manufacturers defect warranty on the product I was looking to purchase – so I was sold.
They weren’t cheap, but they weren’t expensive. I ordered online – had them shipped and they arrived.
I touted them on my Instagram page – so in love with my sunglasses I told everyone about how awesome they were – how the quality was amazing etc until I noticed that the polaroid started to come off of the lenses. Disheartened, I emailed the proprietor to let them know and ask how I could go about exchanging the glasses.
Now here, is where the wheels completely fell off.
I won’t go into complete details as it would bore you off the page – just know that it took over 20 emails back and forth, a shipping process that I had to pay for (and then be reimbursed by another process of Paypal), and a delayed delivery. The entire process took over 5 weeks.
I was so disappointed, I won’t even wear the returned version for fear of the crappy energy of the process will sit on the bridge of my nose.
Now for the other side of the tale:
My beautiful niece lives in the UK she’s 3 and well, when we Skype I rarely know what to talk about with her. I want to be a part of her life but never know where to start when it’s on the other side of the screen. For her birthday, I purchased a subscription service to a wonderful company called Little Passports. They deliver a different kit each month that showcases different things about the world and their cultures/regions. It’s awesome. I loved the concept and couldn’t wait to have a chat with her when she received her first month. It arrived – we Skyped – she talked me through all of her new toys and what she learnt and she even pointed out on the map where my husband and I currently were – SUCCESS! Loved it. However, month 2 didn’t arrive.
I was devastated when I called to chat to her and she hadn’t received her next month. I messaged the company on Facebook – assuming I’d have to provide a few details for an update. Within seconds they replied with my order, confirmed the address and without question just sent out another.
I will order from them again, and again and again and I will tell anyone who listens about the service received. In fact, I was meant to stop the service after 3 months, but have decided to continue because it was just so good.
Now I don’t know the exact costs, but as a business owner, I do know the manual reply of 20 emails, management of pay pal costs and shipping returns would cost a hell of a lot more than just sending a new pair of sunglasses.
Out of all this, here are my 3 tips on keeping the customer:
1. Don’t make me prove it
If you’re offering a manufacturers warranty or a guarantee don’t’ make me prove it to you. The guilt you’re instilling for me telling you your product is not up to scratch is horrible and not worth it. For years, Oakley have offered a no questions asked lens return and it creates die hard fans that will buy nothing else. Make it easy for me to love you.
2. Take the work out of it for me
No one likes going to the post office. It’s beyond painful. The simple fact that I have to package up an item, take it in person to the post office pay for the postage and send it (and then wait for you to reimburse me) is excruciating. Little Passports didn’t even ask for order numbers or details, they took my name off of the message, checked the account and discussed it right there online without one email being written. Take the work out of it for me from the beginning.
3. Talk to me like a person – not an order
The first company asked for order numbers, invoice copies and submission forms. Little Passports spoke to me in my name, who the order was for and the recipients age. It was personal, a person talking to a person. Not an informal order number in the background.
Customer experience has to align with your brand and it was so unfortunate to have first company be brilliantly prolific in their branding but shocking in their customer experience.
On the other hand, we can learn so much from Little Passports and their process. The simplicity of it created trust, excitement and loyalty and I’m sure we all want that for our own brands.