Thu 13 Dec 2007
Every year, we send out pretty nice holiday gift baskets to our larger customers. After years of doing this, I found a company last year, Wine Country Gift Baskets, that I thought did a pretty good job. So, naturally I went back to them this year to fill our order. What I encountered was an extraordinarily a frustrating experience!
Don't Let This Happen to Your Customers
A month ago, they had sent me a catalog which I tossed since I prefer to handle orders online. When I called to place the order last week, they requested my customer number. I didn't know it so they tried to look it up. No dice. They tried to create a new customer account but their system wouldn't issue a customer number. So, I tried creating an account online under their "Create New Account" option. It didn't issue me a customer number but everything seemed to work fine -- until I was asked to login to place the bulk order. You guessed it, "please enter your customer number."
There I was waiting to place a fairly large order of gift baskets, but they had no way of taking a large order because they couldn't issue me a customer number. My next step? Shop somewhere else.
Test Your Process
Customers may try a few times to give you money to buy something you sell, but nobody has the time to keep trying over and over again. It gets pretty frustrating. If you can't accept an order, for whatever reason, you are clearly missing out on sales.
Have a third-party, such as a friend or your accountant, try to buy a product from your online store. Ask them for candid feedback about their experience. Was buying easy? Did customer service help? What were the bottlenecks? What could have been done better.
Once you get real customer feedback, be sure to tweak your processes accordingly. Make it easy for people to pay you!