Etailers need to take more of a interest in customers or risk loosing them carried out research into a number of online retail organisations which led me to thinking more about customer service and transparency. (click here to read)

I much prefer to shop online than to drag myself into town and struggle with finding parking so do most of my shopping online. The majority of the time all goes perfectly well and my goods are delivered on time to my door and I am a happy customer. However once in awhile things go wrong and the item I want fails to turn up when expected.

In the last 6 months I have had two such incidents. The first one was where I had purchased a copy of Xplane from the company in the states and after waiting the 6 weeks for delivery and emailing them three times I eventually found a telephone number which took ringing them on three or four separate occasions before anyone answered just to get a very rude gentlemen with a deep southern drawl to moan at me for not leaving voice mail and I have to put my request in an email again. This of course I did just to get a reply saying he sent it and its not his problem.

I contacted the card company who I used to pay for it with who said they would investigate but would take some weeks to do so. I suspect that they got pretty much the same reaction I did from the american chap as they refunded the transaction to my card for me.

The second one was just this week, having ordered my sons Christmas present form GAK and selecting the delivery date 4 or 5 days ahead and then waiting in all day (I was in anyway) no delivery came. The following day I tried to call them but just sat in a queue for their delivery department for some considerable time. Eventually I found a order tracking link on their site, it was very well hidden and very tiny. I entered my order number and yes it was scheduled for delivery in March 2011.

I was absolutely fuming, I had received no communication from them to say that “whilst your item is shown in stock on the web site we don’t actually have any and were not going to deliver it on your selected day” no nothing not a thing. So instead of having another look to see what else I could get him I just canceled the order and I am going else where even if it costs me more. I simply don’t care I will not buy from a anyone who treats me, a customer, like that.

How it should be done

I own and run two companies and our customers, and their customers, are the most important people on the planet and the ones we want to be happy. Not only do I but the other directors make themselves available to email and telephone calls anytime day or night. It is not unusual to receive a phone call from one of our customers customers (no that’s not a typo we do take calls from the end users of our Money Spider Media clients) in the evening who are having trouble redeeming one of their vouchers and yes we get it sorted for them. Do they shop with us again? Do they tell their friends? Yes they most certainly do

Yes online shopping is still growing and growing at a rapid pace and more and more retailers are getting their online shops sorted. This means that customers are getting much more choice and are becoming more selective in their online shopping. Etailers need to consider that its not always about price as online customers become smarter and more experienced they will start to prefer shopping with companies they can trust to give them good customer service and protect them from fraud. I for one look a little closer now at who I shop with and how easy it is going to be to contact them if anything goes wrong.

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