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Customer relations: shout out to those who do it well

From aggravated to appreciated with fast open communication

I purchased a gift from my architecture student oldest son this last Christmas (to help Santa out) – a build it yourself anglepoise lamp kit, from KiwiCo.

This company have been great on social media, with really compelling stories of their interesting, beautifully crafted, build-it-yourself gifts, told with video.

When I went to site to purchase, what surprised me was that their sales was set up as a subscription model – unusual products and unusual sales process! Something I hadn’t noticed on social.

Not wanting to sign up for monthly mail outs, I emailed to ask how a single item could be purchased. They responded quickly, explaining how to purchase a single month’s subscription, essentially buying an individual item, not a sub. I followed the guide and the soon to be architect was overjoyed on christmas morning. Win!

I was surprised, then, to receive an email last week advising ‘next month’s item’ had been shipped. My email back to them saying I’d taken careful steps to purchase only a single month launched a response outlining a completely different process that I should have followed to ensure a single purchase, not a subscription. Aggrieved, i wrote back telling them this was new info, not the process i’d been advised prior to purchase and their user experience was pants.

The challenge of selling:
I really feel for people in retail. I run a small online store myself and things don’t always go to plan. KiwiCo, on this occasion, were immensely gracious in their response to my last missive. They apologised and advised they’d refunded any costs associated with this mix up and were happy for us to keep the parcel when it arrived.

I was really impressed with their courteous and thoughtful response. It smoothed over a prickly situation quickly and efficiently. I also appreciated that this was no small cost for a startup business. Patience and customer satisfaction have immense return in the long run, and to choose this approach over losing the cost of the sale and the year’s sub is a generous move.

It’s hard to keep this front of mind all the time – it costs little to be kind and patient, but it’s a valuable play if we want the world to function well for all of us. It’s not just a program for ecommerce or retail. We can all have moments of being truly awful to each other. Modern life is stressful, but we’re all on the same path and we don’t know how tight each other’s shoes might be. I try my best to be patient and really don’t always succeed, but keep practicing so the light shines a bit brighter.

A great ecommerce response

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