Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Customer Service: How to Guarantee Return Business: Lesson #1

I have worked in retail for my entire professional life in one capacity or another. Because of this I would like to think I know what to do and what not to do in situations where I have a disappointed, unhappy, disgruntled (you fill in the adjective;o) customer. Generally, when I am unhappy, I approach the business responsible for my disappointment in a friendly manner. After 20+ years in retail it is this type of customer I personally value and want to make satisfied.

Well... I ordered some German Glass Glitter online recently from a vendor who will remain nameless at this time because I have faith that they will do the right thing and make things right. When I placed my order, I filled out all the pertinent info, paid with my little PayPal account and forgot about it, after all this was the second time I ordered from this particular business and I was satisfied the first go round. Well, we have moved across town since that first order and even though I changed the delivery address to reflect this change(it shows on my original order confirmation that I received upon placing the order) and clearly requested the same matching shipping address on my PayPal receipt of payment, the company delivered it to the old, now vacant (as far as I know), address. That was 4 days ago, even though I have a valid change of address form on file at the post office, I have yet to receive my order. So I log onto the site where I ordered my glitter (okay, so I didn't have my password right and had to wait a few minutes for them send me a new one) But I eventually was able to log on and I pulled up my order. Clearly stating my current address should be the delivery address. I am disappointed. I am currently making ornaments and want to finish them and until I receive that I order, I am on hold. I go to my account info to update my billing address because it shows the old address and that obviously isn't correct. When I get to that page I find that the you have a primary address that "is used as the pre-selected shipping and billing address for orders placed on this store."[ I guess it doesn't matter that during the check out process you put a specific delivery address in instead of using a "pre-selected shipping and billing address" and during the payment process you also use a specific shipping address and the same one you supplied during checkout] So, I delete the old address and select my correct address. I then send an inquiry to the company explaining that they shipped my order to the wrong address, that I had asked that it be sent to my current address on both the website and PayPal invoices and they shipped to an old address.

This is the reply email I get:
"Hi Kelly,

Did you go to the incorrect address and get the order?


For some reason, this irks me.

My reply:
"No, I'm sorry, it's a 45 minute drive from here and a vacant house in a questionable neighborhood (thus the reason we moved shortly after the neighbor's house was shot at). I have a 2 year old child and no car at this time(my husband needs it to commute to his job). There was a change of address order filed at the post office when we left that residence but the tracking info said the package was delivered on April 10 anyway. I have a copy of my order information from your website and my PayPal invoice and the shipping address on both clearly show that it was to be shipped to our new address. What is the reason that the person shipping the package disregarded that[sic] all of that info and chose to send it to the incorrect address without even clarifying if there was a problem? I would think that if you have an option in your ordering process for a delivery address that that would be the address you would ship and thus deliver to."

I would never, ever claim to always be right. But I do feel in this instance they are the ones that dropped the ball. I have run retail stores for many years, both corporations and mom and pop shops. I have had my own Etsy shops for a few years now and whenever there is a question between two potential shipping addresses, I contact the customer (and might I add on Etsy it is even more confusing because it doesn't allow the customer to list both a delivery address and billing address, it simply asks for your address and then PayPal prompts you to select your shipping address. I find this to be a pretty common occurrence and easily remedied by a quick email)

I am waiting for a response to my response, I'm sure that my pissiosity shows but I honestly believe they should have followed the directions for shipment and if at all confused, they should have called or emailed me(it took a day to confirm the order and another to confirm that the package was shipped, surely they have the ability and time to verify anything that may strike them as odd)

[By the way, I actually opened the shipping confirmation email, which normally I do NOT do, and the wrong shipping address is stated there. I did open the previous order processing email and it showed the wrong billing address but since they were paid I didn't pay much attention to that, the delivery address listed was my correct address.]

So kids, if you are running a business, especially one that has you delivering or shipping your wares, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, pay attention to your invoices and do not send short, or rather curt replies making it sound like the customer was at fault and is fully responsible for the error. I supplied the appropriate information in the appropriate fields, I do not know what your company's protocol may be but I do know if I saw more than one address, I would have verified my package's shipping address before shipping it. they didn't even say 'we're sorry', or 'we'll have to see why we did that', etc. This above all is probably why I was irked.

Take responsibility for your or your employee's actions. Your customers will reward you with continued business and quite possibly new clients. A disgruntled one may just blog about it and tell the world where not to shop.

I will keep you posted on the outcome :o)


Athena said...

You're definitely in the right. A "pre-selected" address?? What's the point of asking for an address to ship to if you're not going to use it?

Anyway, I'm 100% with you on the customer service thing. I'm the kind of person who will complain to the company and others if it's not good (but not out of hand). Too many companies don't think about it, or don't care to be good and courteous to their customers. I hope it gets worked out with minimal headache to you.

Anonymous said...

I hate that you had such a bad experience with a business. It's too bad...this is how small businesses don't stay in business.