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The Customer Is Always Right
Posted 04 February 2007 - 02:10 PM
Twice now I've had a customer e-mail me that I've shipped their order to the wrong address. In both cases I shipped to the exact address they provided w/ their order. Luckily in both cases, the package was received by a neighbor so there wasn't an issue w/ them getting what they ordered.
With the first I simply accepted blame, even though I had not been in error, and had a happy and forgiving customer ... but it's always bugged me. I've spent a lot of time making sure my website and cart do not "blame" the customer w/ error messages, and would typically not choose to point out an error on their part otherwise unless needed to process the order. I do intend to write back thanking them for letting me know and apologizing for the inconvenience. However, I'd like to point out that I shipped to the address I was given. Just can't seem to put it sensitively enough to hit send, but it bugs me to accept fault when there was none.
I'm totally comfortable w/ giving the customer the benefit of the doubt w/ most customer service issues, I know it nurtures loyalty. Also, my cart isn't the most friendly in the world (yet) and I could see how a customer might not realize they made an error as the order confirmation is clumsier than I'd prefer (they should have received an e-mail that would confirm where the error occurred ... if their spam filter let it thru). Perhaps this alone is reason enough for me to simply accept responsibility and resolve to prevent this kind of error by addressing the issues w/ my cart. It's not really an issue unless I make it one, however I imagine it'll happen many times in the future regardless of what I do, and I can't always be at fault.
Customers aren't always right ... where do you (esp. retailers) draw the line on when to point that out?
Posted 04 February 2007 - 04:48 PM
Do you save customer data such as the shipping address to a user account for repeat purchases?
If so, you've got an easy out. Sort of a thank you for letting us know thing. In it include a blurb along the lines of:
The shipping information saved to your xyz.com account is as follows:
City, State Zip
Could you please let us know what corrections need to be made so that we can update your account and assure your future purchases will be shipped correctly?
FWIW you may have had the right address all along, which is something they may ask if what you send them is correct. In that case it's probably the shipping service (UPS, etc) leaving the package at a neighbor's because a signature is required.
Posted 04 February 2007 - 05:32 PM
The address that received the package was the address they provided as a shipping address, and they say now that it is the wrong address (delivered to ###9, when it should have been ###2, the order trail shows they told me ###9). A simple typo on their part. They noted for me to correct my records for future orders, which is a good thing (sounds like they plan to order again), however my system will handle the new order as a unique order, so as far as records go, it's really not going to make a difference at this point. My new system will be much better at CRM.
It's no biggie really, but when the order trail (including their confirmation e-mail) so clearly shows that the mistake was on input by the customer, it's kinda disingenuous for me to apologize for the mistake, ya know? On the other hand, it doesn't do much for customer relations to point out their errors. If it was even slightly iffy as to whether the error occurred on my end I'd give them the benefit of the doubt, but it isn't iffy at all, they screwed up and are assuming the fault lies w/ me.
It's not like I'm really worried that an error like this will tarnish my site's reputation, I make mistakes all the time and own up to them as quickly as they are discovered. I just hate to set a precedent as being sloppy on my end when I wasn't. I just can say thanks, I've corrected my records, and leave it at that ... probably will ... I certainly don't want to make a big deal of it.
Posted 04 February 2007 - 05:58 PM
Will telling them the error was theirs get you any more business from them? Will it make them more careful in the future when entering their address?
Nah. But it might make them upset with you if they don't believe you that it was their own error.
Really not worth it, IMO.
If it makes you feel better, do what Randy said and send them the "System address" that they input for corrections without beating them over the head that they were the ones that made the error. Some people will see that and be embarrassed, others will wonder why your system changed the address they entered.
Posted 04 February 2007 - 06:40 PM
It's not so much an ego thing as it is frustrating, I did exactly as they asked me to do.
Just the quantity of words it took me to make the situation clear in these posts tells me that I'd likely be opening up a can of worms to even broach the subject.
Posted 05 February 2007 - 07:51 AM
A simple Thank you for letting us know so they know you got the email and letting it drop is by far the best option.
Posted 05 February 2007 - 05:18 PM
The Japanese have a much better saying:
The Customer is a God.
It is so much better because the value judgement of "right" doesn't enter the equation. Really, who cares who is "right"? What matters is that there is a positive outcome.
Posted 05 February 2007 - 06:40 PM
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