Twitter, facebook, digg it and delicious to name but a few Web 2.0 concepts. but have we really got the basics right. Could these social media sites be the real epiphany of the web, but for different reasons!
Web 2.0 is certainly seen as an opportunity for retailers to make more from the social media land grab. But, in reality, it is becoming a thicket from which only the strongest will survive.
I wanted to share a particularly annoying experience I had with an online retailer and show how the situation could have been rectified quite quickly and painlessly for the retailer. The consequences of it could (and I am not vindictive enough to do it) have had negative consequences for the brand. The danger of Web 2.0, is that it is beoming easier for consumers to exploit social media to the detriment of a supplier.
So, my “bad” experience started with the purchase of an electrical device from a well known high street store. Firstly, they hood winked me in to saying the product was in stock – it wasnt, taking my money, then sending me an email telling me it was out of stock and i would have to wait. What could they have done to lessen the sharp intake of breath?
1) Be upfront with the customer – tell them its not here, tell them when it will be and let the customer either shop around or wait
2) Don’t tell me I will have to wait with no end date – in this case i knew these particular devices were like hens teeth, so i would have been prepared to wait, but again tell me the facts
3) When I phoned (yes phoned – because I couldn’t cancel on line) I was treated with a tone of “well these are hard to get hold of”. The correct way would have been, apologise, give me a voucher for a further purchase and keep me engaged.
So, to summarise, CTR stands for Channel, Tell and Recover:
1) Channel continuity – if a person buys online, they want to continue transacting online.
2) Tell the customer there is a problem – make it really clear, yes it may drive down your conversion, but that is better than cancellation and bad WOM marketing that destroys your brand even further
3) Recover the customer from the bad experience by acting like you care – Oakley sun glasses have done this fantastically well by sending me 2 pairs of glasses when my first pair broke as a way of saying sorry!! Now that’s customer service.
The problem for retailers is that the social media sites we are all talking about right now, can undo so much of the good work you put in as digital marketers. One bad experience can take a brand down very quickly as more people with similar experiences join in the conversation. Landrover, Virgin media and British Gas, to name but a few have become victims of a negative social media experience.
I guess the real beauty of Web 2.0 is that it is the start of a true meritocracy, those companies that listen and react will survive, those that don’t heed the views of their customers will fail.
I am going to continue in the vein of Better Basics next week, with a look at shopping cart design and how we can convert more people through that “last click”.
Notes to editors;
Chris Carter is an industry expert in e-marketing and available for consultancy, radio and TV interviews on the power of the web. Chris has worked as a senior ecommerce professional in Barclays, Royal Mail and Investec.
Chris can be contacted on 07801 418298 and on firstname.lastname@example.org