My last book purchase from Overstock.com resulted in a communication adventure. The book’s binding was damaged on delivery. Disappointed with the quality of my purchase, I emailed customer service to exchange my book. I requested that they pay for return shipping since the product was defective. I asked them several specific questions.
Their first response was the standard cut and paste answer about deep discounts and instructions on how to get an RMA number. My specific questions were not addressed.
I responded with this:
The book is defective. I’m NOT returning it because I changed my mind, etc. I want to exchange it for a properly manufactured book. The product page for the book said nothing about bad binding or defective workmanship as part of the deal.
So I reiterate my questions:
- How do I return this for an exchange?
- As this is a manufacturing defect, how will Overstock pay for return shipping?
- How will Overstock ensure that I’m not charged the restocking fee?
Overstock’s response here included the standard cut and paste response but also hint of a personal touch stating:
Also, if the book you received is defective, we will not make you pay any shipping fees back to us or a restocking fee.
Although this second customer service representative addressed some of my main concerns, he didn’t go into specifics. (You can read the rest of the story in this posting)
Effective Email Responses
Email is a powerful business tool if used properly. When you answer customer emails remember these key points:
- Read, don’t just check your email
- Before replying to customers, make sure you’ve read and understand their email
- Set the expectation on your website or printed materials next to your email address how long it will take to get a response.
- Respond in a timely fashion in keeping with the expectation you set earlier. This should be at most 1 business day.
- Answer all the questions your have been asked.
- Personalize your standard cut-and-paste response with some acknowledgment that you are talking with a real person.