Customer service is important

I can’t believe that Companies have still to figure out that Customer Service is the key to getting Customers to first of all buy products from yourself, and secondly to come back again to buy more. One of the big factors of this is communication and keeping the Customer informed.

Yet time and time again Companies I deal with fail miserably and often make me never want to use them again. Such an example is, believe it or not, the RSPB Shop, and more and more Amazon.

Let me explain.


With the RSPB it’s very simple, and I’ll bullet point it to make it even moreso.

  • 20th November – Ordered Christmas present online giving email address and Credit Card details
  • 12th December – Receive a postal letter dated 7th December informing me that they were unable to gain authorisation on my Credit Card for the order placed by telephone

Anyone else out there catching that? I made an order on the Internet and they contact me by postal mail some 22 days later. Not only that, they took 17 days to even write the letter. The letter that states that my order was made on the telephone.

So I called them today slightly furious, and I received the explanation about Servers being down and…they went on. Frankly it’s not my concern what your problem was, you took 22 days to tell me by postal letter, even when you have my email address and telephone number, then you don’t even explain yourselves in the letter!

The killer of this was that on the phone the person answering told me “Hold on a moment while I go and search out your file”, yes, you got that right, file, as in manual! I couldn’t help but laugh.

Finally it appears that they have all my Credit Card details correct, they re-enter them, and the transaction goes through perfectly. So when I ask if it will arrive in time for Christmas I’m told I have to call back tomorrow and receive my Customer Number, then they will be able to tell me if they can deliver it.

Astounding. That’s the worst Customer Service I have experienced in my life.

Amazon aren’t managing much better, and it’s something I’ve been noticing more and more. You’ll order an item, it’ll sit on the order list for sometime, and then you receive an email saying that they can’t source the product, yet the details of the item on Amazon still say something like 2-3 days, or 1-2 weeks for delivery. This has now happened to me four times, two of these were Birthday presents for my Father.

The latest incident with Amazon was my Christmas order. It consisted of about seven items, and everything seemed fine when I first ordered them, yet a few days later you could see the delivery times had changed for some of the items. Although none of the individual items showed their latest delivery any later than the 22nd of December, the entire orders latest delivery was well past Christmas day. Instant panic!

I sat and played around with the order, trying to find out which item was causing the problem, and eventually I simply chose to ship them as and when available, suddenly the delivery dates were all before 22nd. Miraculously the last parcel arrived on Friday past, the 9th of December. So why was it telling me that the overall delivery window could be after Christmas, and why were individual items showing their latest delivery as far ahead as 22nd?

None of it makes any sense, unless all the dispatch dates on items don’t bear any relation to actual delivery times, and the ploy of the lateness of the overall delivery is merely to get Customers to break the order up, ship individually and get additional postal charges…I don’t know.

Yet again though, it’s lack of accurate information to the Customer and blatant disregard for a level of Customer Service. With accurate, up to date communication a Customer can be kept happy and informed through issues like these and still remain happy, although in the case of Amazon not when it’s a continuing repeat performance.

2 comments on “Customer service is important”

  1. Patrick Hadfield Reply

    The RSPB can’t possibly be your worse ever customer service experience – I have colleagues telling me of much poorer service trying to open a bank account and get a mortgage…

    As for Amazon, I have had bad experiences in the past, but this Christmas they seem to have been pretty good. I think they may be trying to under-promise and over-deliver. What gets me is that they seem unable to send books, CDs and a calendar in the same package – quite bizarre (and it must cost them). I still have a lot of quibbles with the site, though – and why do they persist in telling me how much (or little!) I could make by selling the articles I have just bought?

  2. Richard Reply

    The other thing that gets me about Amazon is the increasingly confusing ordering system. When I search for an item I don’t expect to get three to four identical items sometimes with different prices, and when I look at an item I don’t expect to see differing costs displayed to me – one for marketplace sellers, one for second hand, one for external sites, one for Amazon…it’s all too confusing and even misleading.

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