For most businesses, their strategic goals involve growth of their customer base. The quickest and surest method to losing customers is providing a bad customer experience. Here’s a case study from a recent online shopping situation.
The Bad Customer Experience (CX)
Customer orders two items from a store that has both in person shops and a robust online presence. The store is known for keeping low inventory on items to change with styles as well as to heighten the exclusivity of the pieces. However, no such warning appeared when Customer ordered the two dresses (other retailers have a notification that this is limited stock or low in quantity–basically, a signal that this will probably go out of stock soon, so buy now).
Customer receives order notification, listing two dresses and no other notes about the order.
Customer receives shipping notification with link to view the status. No other notes regarding the order. Customer starts shopping for shoes to go with the dresses. Jewelry. Thinking about which purse to use with them, and how it will fare for the activity to which she wants to wear the outfit, etc.
Customer opens front door to porch, finding the order there. It’s like Christmas morning, Customer is brimming with excitement.
Customer gets in the door and rips open the bag to find…one dress. Customer shakes the bag, wondering where the other half of the order is.
Customer finds packing slip, which states that the other dress is out of stock and the method of payment will be refunded within 10 days.
Customer is irate. Goes online to leave disgruntled feedback. Upon leaving feedback, Customer is invited to… CONTINUE SHOPPING.
How to Improve this Customer Experience (CX)
Delivering bad news isn’t fun for anyone, and no retailer wants to admit a mistake. But when it comes at the cost of keeping or losing a customer? Hopefully, they’d rather be helpful and upfront than oblivious.
Here are a few ways in which this particular retailer could avoid the wrath of unhappy customers, and most of them simply boil down to communication.
- Employ a inventory tracking system on the website. Let customers know that there’s a chance this item will be out of stock soon.
- Tell the customer what to expect in the order notification or the shipping notification. Or a completely new “Item is Out of Stock” notification. This saves the time spent on shopping for accessories, and sets expectations regarding their order.
- Apologize. Customers want to feel valued and special. They don’t want anonymous invoices that read like a robot.
- Refund sooner. Ten days might a long time to a customer. If you knew that this item was not going to get to them, the refund process should have started much earlier, no?
- Revise the feedback form. Rather than employing a blanket response, use the rating system to provide customized calls to action that match the emotional state of the user. Someone who is leaving a 1 star for their experience probably isn’t too eager to ‘Contine Shopping’ with your organization.
Take time to smooth out the customer experience (CX) for all customers–not just the happy ones–and it’s possible to build brand advocacy even with a bad first impression.