Want a better shopping experience online? Become a better customer! The speed, accuracy, and security of ecommerce websites are improving with each passing year, but they’re not always perfect, and they’re never going to be. What you may not realize is that many of the most common online shopping complaints aren’t the retailer’s fault at all. Yes, sometimes the blame is yours. You can avoid these problems by following these five online shopping tips that will make your shopping experience better and ensure that you get the best customer service every time you click that “add to cart” button.
PS: Although these tips are intended for online shoppers, many of the same rules apply to good old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores as well. Keep them in mind the next time you head out to the mall!
Tip 1: Ask Yourself, “Is the Customer Always Right?”
We’ve been hearing it for over a century and seeing it in countless advertisements: “The customer is always right.” If you’ve ever owned a business or worked in retail, then you’ve likely heard this line more than a few times in your experience. Many of us have even dropped this one a few times ourselves when we’ve been frustrated over a misunderstanding or a bad purchase. It’s the mantra of disgruntled customers everywhere; the ultimate slogan designed to crush any disagreement and to get you what you want, on your terms.
But is it true? Is the customer always right? Deep down we all know the answer is absolutely not. Any transaction is a two-way street, and the customer is just as capable of being mistaken or wrong as the person on the other side of the counter (or the person at the other end of the website). While it is true that every customer should be treated with respect, sometimes what you want simply isn’t possible.
• It is more effective to always keep an open mind than to always be right.
What does this have to do with improving your shopping experience? When you go into a transaction with the mindset that you are always right no matter what, you’re completely shutting yourself off to the other half of the conversation. Remember, a good retailer wants your business and is going to try to find a solution to your problem whether you demand to be right or not. Taking a combative stance the moment something goes wrong with your purchase or order increases the chance you’ll miss out on a perfectly good solution or compromise. Instead of coming to a fair agreement, you’re left with nothing — and chances are the person you talked to is now just as irritated as you.
But what if it turns out that you actually are right and the business you’re working with is at fault? You can still help fix the issue faster and easier by keeping an open mind and practicing common courtesy.
John Depane, a human resources and business consultant, describes this mindset simply, “Always be nice, until it’s time not to be. Instead of viewing the problem as a fight you must win, treat it as a challenge to be solved with a common goal: your satisfaction. A willingness to listen can take you a long way.”
• A confrontational attitude can make it harder to get what you want.
In fact, not listening only makes it more difficult for the retailer to get you what you want. Cathy Ward, owner of ecommerce wedding accessories company, explains, “We’d be out of business if we didn’t strive to make our customers happy, but sometimes when a customer refuses to listen it can be hard to figure out what he or she really needs.” She adds, “Making everyone happy is easier when people take responsibility for their own behavior and actions, on both sides of the equation.”
Bob Bryant, a merchant services specialist, agrees. “Being cool and calm always gets you better treatment and better results than being aggressive or threatening if you’re dissatisfied.”
Tip 2: Don’t Take Your Bad Experiences with You Elsewhere
Even less helpful than assuming that as a customer you are always right is venting your frustration with one business on a completely different one. Yes, all of us have had the misfortune of the occasional bad shopping experience, and sometimes there’s nothing more aggravating than a rude employee or a confused customer service representative. Unlike the old saying, however, one bad apple does not spoil the bunch.