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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Customer dis-service

As everyone predicted, yesterday was the biggest online shopping day so far, as we all rushed to splurge on that perfect gift. I joined that rush. I found the perfect gift, paid my money and got my online receipt. Then today I received an email which said

In the interest of online payment protection, please respond to this email to confirm that you as the Paypal account holder placed the order.
Your order will now be held for 48 hours from the date at the top of this email. Failure to verify this order will result in the order being cancelled and a full refund will be processed.

Call me old fashioned but this seems to be the equivalent of being held at the store exit until I show my passport. I'm a new customer. I stumbled onto their site, bought a rather expensive gift and should be on my way to a wave of monumental customer service, designed to build my loyalty and secure repeat business. Instead, my first 'touch' from this company is one which doubts my humanity.

At this time of year when everyone is a little bit more frazzled than usual, we all have a great opportunity to win new business and pamper our existing customers. Imagine if your website was a physical store. How would your assistants behave?
  1. Can you look and buy products without registering?
  2. Is the Search button obvious to find and easy to use?
  3. Do you ask for the same information twice when you could prepopulate?
  4. Does your content read like an instruction manual or sound like you're having a conversation with your visitor?
  5. Do you say thank you for their custom and then keep them engaged with other links to follow?
Bring back the ho ho ho this season or risk finding yourself on Santa's naughty list.

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