Why Easy Is Essential

ease of useThe above statement is applicable to various industries.  Ease of use is vital a positive customer experience.  Let me share with you an example of a company that has it all wrong.

An image design company recently participated in one of those ‘daily deals’ programs, such as LivingSocial and Groupon.  This is the story of a customer who decided to buy a couple vouchers to have a photo burned onto a piece of metal in hopes of gifting the pieces at Christmas.  Several weeks later, the customer has no image but many hassles.

modifications by Shane Goad, original image found at http://morguefile.com/archive/display/48417
modifications by Shane Goad, original image found at http://morguefile.com/archive/display/48417

The customer submitted the same image for use in both orders.  Two weeks after receiving an order confirmation stating production should take about 3 weeks, the company sent another email regarding the halted status of the order.  Apparently, a blown-up version of the image was deemed too blurry and the company’s creative manager sought advice of whether to proceed or not.  This is where the customer service becomes ‘blurry’.  The customer responds with a complimentary email regarding the quality warning and requested a cancellation of the order.  The creative manager comes back stating a cancellation wasn’t in her department, the customer should reach out to someone else at the company, and offered to place a ‘hold’ on the order.

Really?  All the back and forth and directive to contact someone else to help resolve the problem.  The item has already been paid for and yet the customer is receiving nothing but hassle.  An added note: the emails back and forth with the creative manager took place over several days, not a couple days or better yet a few hours.

Solution: enable customer-facing employees to fully assist customers.  In this case, have one contact listed on the website who can cancel or modify an order.  Here, the company offered a blind contact email address that was directed to the creative department.  Regardless of industry, it’s safe to say many customer contact issues are tied to billing.  So, why blindly direct a disgruntled customer (likely disgruntled, otherwise why would contact be made) to someone who is of no help?  The hotel industry is an example of an industry that typically gets it right.  Front-line employees are empowered to resolve complaints by offering upgrades, refunds, etc.  The last thing you should be offering a customer is further hassle.

The Take-Away: Customer loyalty is built in many ways.  Adding unneccessary hassle rarely leads to a ‘win’ in the eyes of a customer.

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