I recently told you about my email communication fiasco with Overstock.com. Of course the story didn’t end there. I thought there was some hope so I responded one more time but was treated to the same word-for-word response I got in the beginning.
My last response to Overstock stated:
Seems we aren’t communicating very well. The second
customer support rep I heard from stated this:
“if the book you received is defective, we will
not make you pay any shipping fees back to us or a
Nevertheless, the last message from you has the
standard RMA procedures that include me paying return
shipping and the restocking fees.
With such conflicting messages, how can I be sure of
how my RMA will be processed? If Overstock is indeed
going to pay for return shipping, how will it be done?
Then when my book is returned, how do I know the
person handling it won’t just follow standard
procedure and hit me with the restocking fee?
This is seriously undermining my confidence in
purchasing from Overstock in the future.
You’d think I’d get some kind of actual response to my questions this time. However, my final email from Overstock was from a customer service representative that had responded earlier simply stating, in the same words, the standard RMA process he used before.
In my emails back and forth with Overstock I had communicated with a handful of different people. None of them could answer my questions or address the issue to my satisfaction. Each response seemed to come from a place where people don’t read emails before they respond.
Frustrated and rather upset, I gave up and kept the book.
You can spare your customers these pains when communicating with them if you follow these rules of thumb:
- Assign each customer issue to a specific customer service representative who handles it from the start to finish.
- Keep a record of all communication with customers so that others in your organization can come in midstream and respond appropriately.
- Provide your employees with guidelines for handling each customer email. For example, read the entire email thread before responding!
- Rate your customer service representatives on customer satisfaction and not the number of emails they can process in an hour.
Email is a conversation that you have with customers. You can’t ignore what they say or jump to conclusions by only listening to a few seconds of their dialog.
Structure your customer service email processing so that customer issues don’t slip through the cracks and issues are resolved.