An online vendor I deal with has done a tremendous job of marketing their services to the community they serve. In fact, they created the on-line community!
Forward thinking organizations likes theirs are trendsetters and market leaders. They did everything right to ensure that when it came time for me to pull out my credit card, I thought of them first, but that is where the problems began.
It wasn’t enough to provide them with the typical credentials most on line retailers require to process credit cards. They also wanted additional information off of my card that nobody ever asks for. Fine. I provide information off the front of the card, off the back of the card, but now I have to go looking for the fine print. No matter, transaction complete…or so I thought.
The next step is order confirmation that involves responding to an email message. I get that. What happens next is ridiculous. I won’t bore you with the details but a problem with their system spawns 3 more email requests from them and eventually a fax.
By this time I am beginning to think they aren’t whom they say they are and are trying to rip ME off. NOBODY goes to this length to confirm a sale. It took less work to buy my last new car!
If you are adopting technology to improve your service delivery, or even to cut costs and make it more efficient, do so in a way that places as little burden on your customers as possible. You do that by beginning with the process that you are trying to automate. Don’t make things up as you go and whatever you do, if you have an underlying problem with your system or processes, make it your responsibility to work through that, not your customer’s.
In my case I found the manufacturer, and then looked to see this supplier carried their product or one similar because they had gained my loyalty. The next time I may not bother going to the trouble of trying to give them my business, and instead deal directly with the manufacturer, which is where all of this began.