4 Ways to Prevent the Loss of E-commerce Customers

Every once in a while, I like to write about my experiences as a consumer in an effort to inform retailers of what not to do. This article will focus on an experience I recently had with a large chain company’s website.

I will admit that I probably shouldn’t have ordered from the brand based on a previous experience I’d had. But then I had a decent experience the next time and thought I’d give the company the benefit of the doubt and try it out again.

And that brings us to the first area where this brand failed…consistency.

For example, previous orders have been hit and miss—some packed well, others not so much. I opted to order from the brand again based on the last order I received, which was packed with care. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with the shattered eyeshadow palette I recieved last week. In fact, it wasn’t just shattered, it was pulverised and when I opened it, the powder—which was black, by the way—went everywhere.

I can imagine companies thinking, “Well, it came from another facility, so the pickers and packers are different.” While that logic may make sense to the retailer, I assure you—the customer doesn’t care where the packaging takes place. The manner of fulfillment still reflects poorly on the brand. It even docked the company’s trust level a couple of notches in my eyes.

“Businesses are facing a crisis of customer trust — and this is a big problem — as trust is a key factor driving customer engagement and loyalty.”

~ Salesforce

In frustration, I went to the brand’s website to find out how to go about getting a refund. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go straight to my order number, which I’d previously been able to pull up, because I didn’t have an account—I’d never needed one before. In fact, that was part of the website’s original appeal. It was just another inconsistency that drove up my irritation.

“It’s essential for companies to provide a positive experience for their customers through a sophisticated, user-friendly website in order to be successful and relevant in today’s modern world. A user-friendly website ensures that each user’s experience is easy, effortless, and pleasant.”

~ Infinity Marketing

But my disappointment wasn’t over. After wading through several website pages of so-called help guides that were of little help at all, I finally decided to contact customer support—an encounter rife with still more frustration. While the customer support agent was nice enough, he wasn’t a native English speaker and misunderstood me at almost every turn when I tried to explain to him which products needed to be refunded. In the end, he refunded the wrong product and I was out almost $10 dollars as a result.

“One of the biggest complaints of outsourced call centers is understanding foreign accents.”

~ The Balance

After the experience I’d just had, I wasn’t about to go back and try it all over again for ten bucks. But I also won’t be giving this particular retailer another chance to let me down.  Three strikes and you’re out!

Interestingly, the company has asked me for feedback on my experiences with them on these occasions, and I have explained to them what they need to do better. Frankly, though, I think my feedback fell on deaf ears (and I can’t be the only one who feels that way) as the brand continues to make the same mistakes over and over.

“If you want to stay on top of things you should put your customers in a center of your business and treat their feedback as the most valuable source for information in your company. They are the ones who use your products and services, so they know best what could be improved to make them even more happy. Never ignore their voice. If you fail to meet their expectations they will find other company which will do it better than you.”

~ Medium

I’m a pretty easy going gal and I understand that mistakes happen. But how many blunders can one brand make on one measly order before a customer starts running the other way? I can tell you that I’m the exception. According to Help Scout, more than half of all customers will never do business again after one negative experience.

Final Thoughts…

While e-commerce offer convenience, online businesses can’t rely on that merit alone if they hope to be successful. Research shows that U.S. companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service. Do you really want to be one of them?

Believe me, the four areas discussed above are real pain points and in today’s e-commerce landscape, brands can’t afford to be lazy about them. Retailers that position their companies as a solution to their customers’ pain points will stand out from the sea of other online businesses and earn loyal customers in the process.

Find out how retailers like you are saving time and making money with the Rain POS system. POS, E-commerce, and Marketing all in one.

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.