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Ecommerce Alchemy: Turning Disgruntled Customers Into Brand Advocates

Posted By Melissa Burdon On January 29, 2009 @ 6:06 am In Customer Experience,customer service | 14 Comments

boxing.jpg [1]When something goes wrong with a product or service and you’re looking to request an exchange, return or be compensated somehow for the inconvenience, you probably expect a fight when contacting the vendor. This is a result of companies missing the mark on successfully meeting our customer experience [2] basic expectations.

I had to laugh at myself when I found myself in this exact situation. I had my boxing gloves on and I was ready to duke it out, expecting the worst. I purchased a pair of weight lifting gloves at Amazon at the beginning of December. With all the holiday events and some travel, I had forgotten about my purchase and realized that I had not yet received my product in over 4 weeks.

It was quickly pushed to the top of my “to do” list. I started my investigation by finding the tracking section on Amazon [3]. Upon tracking my order, I noticed that the delivery status indicated that it had successfully been delivered. Well, I can assure you that it hadn’t! Thoughts started racing through my mind. Perhaps the package was stolen or not delivered at all. Will I be held responsible for this? I wonder if they had any clauses in their guarantees against lost or stolen items. If they do send me a replacement, I am sure they’ll charge me for shipping.

I puzzle- pieced my way through Amazon to try and find a customer service number to call. Because it was difficult to find the number, I was even more convinced that they’re trying to avoid their customers and feared the outcome of my phone call.

valeowriststraps.png [4]When the customer service rep answered the phone, I almost started the conversation by telling him that Amazon can keep their darn weight lifting gloves and should go take a hike! Let’s just say that I’ve been tainted by a lot of negative experiences with several large companies when similar situations have arisen- Bell Mobility [5] offering the ultimate worst customer experience ever (I’ll keep that for a different story).

Instead of automatically lashing out, I remained calm and stated my case. He pleasantly responded by telling me that not only will a replacement item be shipped out that day, but it would also be sent using expedited two day shipping.

The same thing happened to Bryan Eisenberg recently when purchased a new SD card for his camera from an independent reseller on Amazon. It took him weeks to realize that he never got it, and when he reported the missing item, he was not only sent a replacement item, but then they sent him a free reader with his replacement order [6]. Not that he needed it, but the gesture was wonderful!

You don’t have to be Amazon to have this corporate philosophy. This is something that every company can benefit from doing.

That could have been the last purchase I ever made from Amazon, had they treated me poorly. I will never hesitate to buy from Amazon and when I need something, I’m likely to purchase with them again because I know that I can trust them and will always have a good customer experience, even in the worst situations.

Amazon successfully took a negative situation and turned it into a positive, using it to their advantage. They are putting customers first [7]. When customers are calling in with complaints, how are you dealing with them? Are you going the extra mile to please them or are you doing the bare minimum? They are your customers to lose. In this economy, it is probably cheaper to keep a converted customer that try to convert someone who never bought from you before.

Article printed from Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow: http://www.grokdotcom.com

URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2009/01/29/when-a-customer-expects-a-fight-its-your-chance-to-gain-their-loyalty/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.grokdotcom.com/wp-content/uploads/Melissa/boxing.jpg

[2] customer experience: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/12/07/online-retailers-fail-customer-experience-101/

[3] Amazon: http://www.amazon.com

[4] Image: http://www.grokdotcom.com/wp-content/uploads/Melissa/valeowriststraps.png

[5] Bell Mobility: http://www.bell.ca/shopping/PrsShpWls_Landing.page?language=en&region=ON

[6] free reader with his replacement order: http://www.amazon.com/BlueProton-Single-Memory-Reader-Writer/dp/B000TNAR88/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1233009128&sr=1-4

[7] putting customers first: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/01/06/should-you-cancel-all-your-advertising/

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