WELL, I’m officially the worst blogger in the vast history of blogging. My heart is certainly in it, don’t doubt that, but the clock on the wall insists on reminding me that I have no time. So family and work have taken priority, as they should, but as soon as a window opens, I’m threatening to return to my blogging ways.
But for the moment, I need to break my silence with an important post on an important subject. Customer service.
So many of us shop online these days, resting our expanding arses on the couch as we coast around the shops, some UK-based, some American, some literally living in cyberspace – this damn web place has no borders. But the flipside is that while we’re reaping the lazy benefits of the virtual world, we’re also ignoring the plight of real-world shops and businesses who have to fight to survive in this very crowded marketplace.
So sometimes we need a little reminding as to why supporting local is so important.
Well, here’s my story. For my birthday recently, my wonderful, amazing, way-too-good-to-me husband gifted me with some beauuuuutiful Chupi jewellery. It was perfect and I loved it….except for the small matter of the necklace, which I knew was also available in a larger size and more my style. He equipped me all with the confirmation emails from Chupi and I set about making the exchange, sending a message explaining that I was happy to pay the price difference and asking how best to go about it.
In under an hour, I received a lovely reply. It said, “We are so glad you like our jewellery. We can indeed exchange this for you, if you return the midi-size necklace to us, we will get the larger necklace send right out to you. Usually there is a difference in price but, with it being 50 days to Xmas (it’s never too early) we are in a festive mood today so there will be no extra charge. If you could just put a little note in with the returned necklace with your name and the address you want the new necklace sent to, it will make it easier for us to look after you.” It was signed, “Warm regards, Graham.”
The next day I received another mail from Graham, letting me know that he had received my return and had posted out the new item. It arrived in the post the following day.
And there it was. A hugely positive online shopping experience; enjoyable even. Why? Well, I had a personal correspondence with a real, live person, with a name (not just nameless, faceless firstname.lastname@example.org); I was kept updated on the progress of the situation every step of the way; and I really, really appreciated the little gesture of not charging me the additional fee. Even though my dealings were done via email and the internet, I felt like I had popped into the shop around the corner and enjoyed some friendly banter – which, in a way, I had. Plus, it did genuinely feel good to support an Irish business.
So, this Christmas, consider taking the time to visit your local shops and businesses, rather than just logging on and sending your support elsewhere in the world. You might just be very pleasantly surprised at the quality of products and customer service – and you’ll be doing your bit to save (or even make) a few jobs.
Oh and, if you’re reading this, thanks Graham – my necklace is perfect!