I buy a lot of stuff over the web. Mostly from places I know and trust and have formed a relationship with over the years. The obvious suspects like Amazon as well as less well known properties like Brando. One thing that keeps me coming back to them is the reliable and secure purchasing process.
Recently I’ve had a couple of experiences as I’ve branched out into a different market segment (thanks to my recent Mustang purchase) that reminded me just how important that process is.
I’m not going to name and shame the losers – they have lost on both the transaction as well as future business. But it does make me wonder if they’re making so much money they don’t need the business – in what case good luck to them.
So, I wanted to buy an upgrade component for the Mustang. It could just have easily been a part for a PC or a power tool – the process should be the same! I shopped around and found what I wanted on a couple of sites with similar prices. As I’m new to the whole auto DIY world I emailed both for some information. One replied promptly with some information. The other didn’t respond. Foolishly as it turns out I tried to purchase from the one who hadn’t responded as they were cheaper. All went well until I hit the “checkout” button where it processed my credit card details and then threw a meaningless error back at me.
The order hadn’t been processed, there was no confirmation email but… they’re put an authorization for the amount on my account. So I emailed them and asked them to confirm the order hadn’t gone through and waited. Nothing from them, but the authorization came off my account a couple of days later so the money wasn’t tied up. I really should have learned my lesson at this point but I tried again. Different – but still meaningless – error, authorization flagged on my account and no chance of getting the part for the weekend (sure, I could have spent the money elsewhere but I wanted the authorization backed out to be sure before I did that). So I emailed them again.
Still no response, but the other vendor I’d contacted sent a follow-up email. Nicely worded, hoped I’d found what I was looking for. They assumed as I’d not ordered from them I’d found it cheaper, but wanted to point out they do offer to match any advertised price (incl shipping). If I had got it from elsewhere did I have any questions about installation or usage they could help with.
I got the hint this time. When I followed their process through to the checkout it turned out they were cheaper. And shipping was free. And they offered my a bunch of choices for payment. Process worked a treat and 20 minutes later I had both the confirmation email from them and a correctly processes transaction showing at the bank.
It’s good to have a little reminder every now and then that great customer service counts for a lot. By making sure that folks had a reliable experience on the site, when making contact, and when making a purchase they have gained loyalty, trust and recommendations. The other supplier…. I went through my wishlist and replaced every link to them with links to American Muscle or Performance Center.
Never thought I’d write a blog post talking about anything but the technology that powers their business but hats off to these guys – they’ve both done a great job reminding me that it doesn’t matter what you’re selling over the web… customer service is that same as if the buyer walked into your store, and it should be just as smooth.
Update: The original supplier. The one who’s checkout process failed and didn’t respond to emails… well, the first (of what may end up as four if all the orders process) package has just arrived. I’ve contacted them to see if they’d like me to return it, pay for it or pass it on to another Mustang owner :)