So… the internet… it is a bright and beautiful thing, but can also be a dark and scary place… especially when you are shopping online. It might be one thing to buy a product locally, where you can go and speak to a human being if something goes wrong.. but emails, telephone numbers… you are never really sure if you are being treated as a person or a reference number.
I thought I would have a look at customer service from 2 different companies that I have dealt with online, one big, one small.. and what my experience has been.
Now the first is Urban Decay http://www.urbandecay.co.uk/ a large international makeup company renowned for its Naked Pallets. Well I was lucky enough to receive one of their pallets for my birthday this year. I wouldn’t have tried their products without this prompt, as I am nervous about spending so much money and not really being sure if the product will be a good match for me.
This is of course a big issue for us when buying on line, especially if it is for the first time. So when I received my pallet and tried it I was blown away… yes, they really do live up to the hype people. I then decided to give some of their eye liners a go, both stick and gel liner, as this is one product I find difficult to get right. When the gel liner arrived, it looks … well it didn’t quite look right, so I emailed their customer service to check if it was a dud, or if it would be okay. I didn’t really want to use it and find myself having negative experiences if it wasn’t in tip top condition.
I got a swift reply, apologising for the product, and asking if I would send it back to them to check, and replace as needed. This sounded good, I am usually reluctant as the postage can almost cost as much. But it was free, and I put it to one side to do when I next went to the post office. Well, a week later, I realised it had gone missing… couldn’t be found anywhere. I was panicking because I was sure they wouldn’t hold the ticket open forever and I didn’t want them waiting for something that wasn’t on its way. So I emailed and explained the situation. I was assured that they would put a hold until it was found.
Well I won’t say how long it took to find it, I had given up on ever seeing it again when one afternoon it was on the mantelpiece… my BF explained that he had found it and put it there for me. Well.. I emailed Urban Decay and apologised for everything, explaining it had finally been found etc. I received an email back again saying that it isn’t a problem and I could send it to X address. I was more than surprised considering the time that had elapsed.
I am waiting for my replacement – it isn’t like for like, as the product i had initially bought is out of stock so have negotiated a replacement which is on its way. I have to say, the quickness of replies, and the interactions i have had have galvanised me to spend more money on Urban Decay. Which is really one of the primary reasons companies, big and small should be investing in good customer service. To be perfectly honest, I would have been happy without the replacement, I wasn’t expecting it and the level of service I had received in my initial interaction had left me with a positive experience.
Now, onto a small, relatively new company that I have mentioned before, Revenge Wigs. When I first came accross them via Instagram the business was not actually live, so a lot of the emails were updating me on progress, ETA’s, some delays (I say delay, like a day or two). But I won’t go over that, you can see my review in an earlier post.
I have continued to buy from Revenge Wigs, and the level of customer service has not diminished, there is an immediate email to confirm that my order has gone through, and again once posted (next day if done on a working day). The wigs are always labelled and there is always a handwritten note inside. It is little touches like this, that make the whole experience more personal. It feels as if you actually matter to the company and are not just another sale.
As a new start up, I really was hoping that everything I had experienced when I first bought a wig would continue but actually figured it would just be an opening gambit and it would be ‘business as usual’ going forward. But Revenge Wigs are active on both IG and FB so you feel more involved, and even had a new website since launch. (the new website looks amazing, go check it out http://revengewigs.co.uk/)
I did have one stumble in my relationship, which was a wonky wig – not the fault of the business. I fully expected to have to put up and shut up. How would the business be able to confirm there is a problem with the product and not me, or my head.. without one or both of us paying out to return it. It was with a heavy heart that I contacted her. I realised that a lot of wig companies do not accept returns (for valid reasons) and I was so disappointed in the wig. How dare it be wonky. But, within 30 mins, Revenge Wigs responded with a return address and confirmed they would refund me for the wig and postage (which is over and above what I had expected). The wig was refunded, and I responded as any reasonable person would …. by buying another wig 😉
I am sorry if you were expecting a negative post, I wanted to let people know that it isn’t all doom and gloom when buying online, especially with the shopping season upon us. We are all working longer hours and finding time to shop locally isn’t always easy. (conversely I am a big promoter of shopping locally – I am just a realist)
I realise that it is hard for new businesses to compete with larger, and established companies, as Revenge Wigs have found, by relaunching their website. It is all about first impressions and honestly this is no different from window dressing on the high street. If you make your website look good, easy to access, and give people an easy way to contact you.. it will make people more confident in buying from you. And as you can see, it really doesn’t matter what size, or how old the company is…. customer service is important and it is becoming more important now we are doing most of our shopping online. Be confident when shopping online.