Christmas Shopping and poor customer service

Christmas has been a nightmare this year, presents not arriving and all sorts. Having ordered from the Internet many times before and probably made about 95% of all my Christmas purchases online I was surprised this year by the failure rate and the inadequacy of the support behind the Internet shops, with their help Christmas presents for both my Father and my Girlfriend have not arrived and their Christmas has been severely dented as a result.

To show exactly what I mean I’ve reviewed a number of companies who couldn’t cope, firstly there’s Amazon. This one was a big surprise and the level of support was dreadful. There was no resolution offered, just pages of company standard policy and the reply address was a dead address, if your complaint is not resolved by an email containing no resolution options, you have to return to the online support form, the worst invention known to man since Mustard Gas.

Ann Summers were just plain ignorant, and provided no level of customer service at all. From the way you were banded around it was obvious that there was no real idea of how to run an Internet shop and that it was treated as a section away from the standard customer service.

American Express gave inconsistent messages and treated me as an instant bad debtor even with an impeccable credit history and receiving full payments.

Internet shopping is about speed and convenience, yet the purchasing, delivery and customer support side is most definitely not. An email needs to provide a faster response than a telephone call, not a longer period, anything that takes more than a day to reply to an email is too long.

If there is to be an online support process using email, then for gods sake keep a history of the problem and the discussion, don’t as Webfusion have done keep chopping the responses from the customer off and handing the problem to the next online operator, or as Amazon do, simply allow you one response from their support area before the information is lost.

Customer service is the key to a successful business, and if you are going to put that business online then make sure your service model is operable in that environment. Don’t just think you can bolt on a call center on the back and hope that it all works out. Keep the customer informed and involved.

Quite frankly I am appalled that companies can even think to treat customers in this manner, and it’s about time that we stood up and complained. That’s one of the things that sparked this site off in the first place, and I can’t believe the service is getting worse.

Come on companies, sort yourselves out before people start realizing they have a choice and go somewhere else. Customers, get wise, check out the Sales of Goods Act (Revised) in the UK and understand that goods must be fit for purpose and sold as described.

Find out what your rights are as regards a correct level of service, and if someone doesn’t give you that service legitimately then complain. Call your Credit Card company and get them to hold back payment until the goods arrive, or search the Internet and find out how to write a letter or an email correctly to complain. Find the Directors home addresses from the Public Library and write to them, just don’t accept it and let these companies walk all over you.

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