Customer service: Keep it simple, please

Share this article:
I did something last night that I have never done before: I bought a swimsuit online.

I'd been contemplating getting a new suit for a while, but the situation became urgent when I agreed to go to the beach with my boyfriend's extended family for Labor Day weekend. I realized that if I was going to avoid mortifying Grandma (a Catholic Sister, seriously), I might want to look into a modest one-piece suit.

I went online, thinking it would be the easiest and fastest way, and I was surprised to find, on a pretty well-known catalog site, a few trouble-spots that were really a turn-off. These details may seem minor, but when you're working with people like me, who generally abhor Internet shopping, it really helps to keep these basics in mind:

1.) I want to buy a product, not a person. A majority of the swimwear sites I looked at featured buxom models gallivanting in the suits -- which is fine. What's not fine is that they didn't feature in-depth shots of the suits on their own (front, back, close-up). It's nice to see that the products are wearable, and that people seem to have an awesome time with them, but I really need to see the nitty-gritty too, like: Is it cut in a way that will fit me (not of the buxom model variety)? and Does it have weird details that are covered up by a model's arm?

2.) I need to know my information is safe. Most sites are great at this, asking for that special code on the back of your credit card, displaying messages about security, etc. But, again, on this big catalog site, there was nothing. I simply keyed in my billing address and my credit card info, and the transaction was done before I knew what hit me. A little scary.

3.) Be as clear as possible when communicating to shoppers. I received an e-mail confirmation with an "Order Number," and was told I could track my purchase on the site. I clicked the link, and it asked for my "Customer Number" -- which is not the same as my order number, and which I can't seem to find anywhere. This problem is almost certainly a case of user error, but, all the same, I feel like it could have been avoided if some extra steps had been taken by the vendor.

So I'm stuck, waiting on a suit that I am not able to track, that may not come on time and may not look at all like I thought, and I'm worrying that my credit card information is going to end up in the wrong hands.

To DMNews readers who shop online, I'm curious: Is this something that happens often? How can online retailers improve the experience?
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of Direct Marketing News to post a comment.
close

Next Article in Direct Line Blog

Sign up to our newsletters

Latest Jobs:


Company of the week

Data Services, Inc. meets the needs of today's data-driven marketer by providing front-end database management and data analytics platforms alongside our expertise in global contact data quality, database building and ongoing maintenance that comes with our 45+ years in business.


Find out more here »

More in Direct Line Blog

Finally, A Data Program for the People

Finally, A Data Program for the People

A British website seeks voters' help in striking clichés from the stump speeches of political candidates.

Four Brand Emails That Offer Tricks and Treats

Four Brand Emails That Offer Tricks and Treats

Happy Halloween from my inbox to yours.

Creative Marketing Is Good; Useful, Relevant Messages Are Better

Creative Marketing Is Good; Useful, Relevant Messages Are ...

The next wave of the digital evolution is pushing marketers toward hyper-relevance; but not everyone is catching on.