Keeping Communication Consistent: Case Study

 

When you have multiple communications channels within your company, whether it’s employee to customer communications or even internal communications, are you sure that the messages are being delivered consistently? Ensuring that policies are running smoothly and customers are getting accurate, consistent information across the board is key to customer satisfaction. Confused customers don’t stay customers very long, so you often times have one chance to make it right.

 

A friend recently shared an experience that drove home this very point. She was placing an online order for a gift for an out-of-state family member. This was her first visit to the online store and loved their products. She placed the order well in advance of the family member’s birthday, and quickly received an email confirmation that the order had been placed.

 

She became concerned when the delivery date was fast approaching and she didn’t receive further communication from the company, as she is used to with other online merchants. She pulled out the confirmation email, which had a tracking number. After reviewing the information, she learned that her order had been canceled “due to inventory.” She didn’t get an email notification about this, and had she waited, this could have turned out badly.

 

Because the family member was out of state, she had very little time to find another gift and had to pay quite a bit extra for rush delivery. In the end, the family member got the new gift item and all was well on that front.

 

Still upset with the experience, she sent an email to the company asking why she had not been notified of the inventory issue or the fact that her order had been canceled. After waiting several days, she got this response:

 

Thank you for contacting us.
 
Sorry that your order was cancelled. It was not an inventory issue, however. It was a discrepancy between your credit card and the information you provided. We are working toward informing people of these problems, but for now, it is considered a security issue and no email goes out. Sorry for the problems.

 

We value our customers’ feedback and appreciate the time you took to let us know that your most recent experience with us was not what you expected. I sincerely apologize that we have failed to meet your expectations.

 

She was clearly upset and expressed that she is doubtful that she would make a purchase from this company in the future based on this experience; however, that was ignored and there was no attempt to “make it right” by the company. Additionally, the fact that she was told at first it was an inventory issue, now to be told that it had to do with credit card information affected her overall trust in the company.

 

If there are known issues, such as the one above, it’s a good idea to have a Plan B in place to handle this. The company could send an email stating that there is an issue with the order, and to please contact customer service to have it resolved. At the very least, send an email that the order has been cancelled so the customer has an opportunity to fix the issue and have the purchase completed.

 

This is a good example of customers potentially falling through the cracks and loss of customers. Make sure your communications are in line with each other across all channels, and have backup plans for any known issues to make a customer’s experience as seamless and simple as possible.

 

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