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Why is customer service so bad for online customers?

Why is it so difficult to get good customer service when you shop online? I have had some bad experiences in the last few weeks that have left me feeling that I don’t want to use those companies again.

In fact, I am still angry. Okay let me backtrack. David Bowie’s people released BLA6 on Friday 19 March. We knew that it would be released at 4pm in the afternoon. All day I was nervous. At 4pm Dig music website crashed. I tried and tried to get a copy and after about an hour my PayPal payment went through. I got a confirmation from PayPal but no confirmation from Dig. I left it until Tuesday to email them thinking they would have a lot of unhappy customers. I got a response if you can call it that. It didn’t confirm or deny that I had secured a copy. So, I still don’t have confirmation. They apologised, said it was being taken up with management and they would get back to me. Here is 10%. I don’t want 10% - I want my order. It is due for release this week but I have heard nothing since the 10% offer. I do not intend to buy any further products from them until this is sorted. Sadly, this is not my first bad experience with online shopping.

Wallis have been a nightmare. I like Wallis for work clothes and over the last year have bought a lot from them online. My first mistake was ordering two orders before they had sent them out. Hermes made a right hash of it telling me my order had been delivered at 8pm when they may have been referring to my order that arrived before 3pm that day. But this left me thinking it was the second order and someone had stolen it. It caused undue stress. Hermes were not clear as had sent out two text saying it had been delivered. You can see where the confusion lay. I even emailed Wallis who said it had been delivered as even they were getting confused at which order had been delivered. Eventually I got both delivered, and sent back some items. Hermes (can you see a pattern yet) gave me a piece of paper with a code on it. I did not hear back from Hermes or Wallis. I emailed Wallis who told me it could take up to two weeks to receive it. I sent another email after two weeks saying I shouldn’t have to wait so long for a refund. It’s a frustrating experience - especially when they don’t read your emails. I told them it was sent back with Hermes and they kept telling me to get proof from the post office. Wallis customer service need to learn not to cut and paste their responses. Eventually I did get a refund but the whole experience has put me off buying from them again.

It doesn’t help when there are no customer service phones available. I think one phone call explaining clearly what had gone wrong would have made such a difference to my customer experience. But I am unsure if the phones are not working because of Covid or because Wallis have been taken over by young online company, Boohoo. Boohoo need to realise that the Wallis demographic is not under 25. If they don’t sort it out, they will be losing lots of customers. I am sure both Wallis and Dig Music would not want that to happen.

So how can online make the experience better? Well firstly make returning items an easier process. My experience with Wallis was a nightmare and I shouldn’t have to wait so long for a refund. Its much harder to buy clothes online, pick the right style and try to work out how it does up. (some companies don’t provide that information so you are left guessing if it is a zip, button or pull on). Because of it being much harder to work out sizes, there will be returns. Another recent experience that has stopped me buying online is from TKMaxx as they do not do free returns. I still have goods to return here that I am waiting for their stores to reopen so I can return it for free. In the meantime, I am out of pocket with goods I do not want. Why is buying online so easy and returning it so difficult?

So, there are three recent experiences that have certainly made me think twice over buying online. Those companies should really rethink the whole shopping experience if they want to keep those customers.

I miss shopping. Browsing in big department stores. Trying things on that I may not have bought if I hadn’t tried it first. Sadly, Covid has not only killed over 120,000 people in the UK, its also killed the high street. John Lewis has closed many of its stores, Debenhams is completely closed, only offering an online experience and House of Fraser seems to still be selling the same goods from two years ago online. I understand that when we get back to old normal, shopping would have changed forever, but I am sitting here mourning the end of ‘real shopping’. A day out with your friends, trying things on, having lunch together, or browsing record shops for a special gem, but being out in the community and enjoying the whole experience. Online just doesn’t measure up.


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