Dos and don’ts for customer service ---137

Recently, the Chinese New Year ended and over the course of the week, our customer service team was swamped with emails from customers regarding their orders from the update on when it will be arriving to asking for help on how to properly work the item they recently purchased from us. While doing this, we encountered a mixed variety of customers from those who are more understanding of the current situation to those who were not so understanding. From these experiences we learned a lot with how to deal with certain customers and where we can improve on our customer service. Today, we will be going over one case where a customer was overly aggressive towards our employee and how we were able to deal with that situation and make sure that both the customer and the us as a company came out happy with the situation. 

During the early days of Chinese New Year, we received an email from a customer who wanted to know the status of their order since the tracking number they received had not been updated yet. Our employee checked the tracking number that we had on our system and it showed that the order was still on its way but that due to the winter storm that was raging in the country at the time, it was going to be a bit later than expected, with the recent date being updated only being yesterday. The customer relayed this to the customer and even sent the customer the link to the tracking number so that the customer could also track the order. A few days later and there was no update but then the customer responded and let’s just say that they were not too happy about the delay. The customer wanted a refund since it would not arrive in time for their needs. Of course, we could not do this as the item is still on the way to the customer’s address so our employee responded back saying that we could not cancel the order due to the item still being in transit and that we can not consider the item lost in transit until there has been 7 days without an update. This of course did not sit well with the customer and they began to complain and that they threatened to use legal action against us if we did not refund them their money. Our employee was clearly a bit shaken from this as they didn’t expect this kind of response for something that reached out to the manager, which was me. From here I took over and once again told the customer that because the item was still on the move so we can not issue the refund as well as I informed the customer that due to the current winter storm that was hitting his region, all the carriers that we use reported that there will be delays in delivering packages and that we apologized for the inconvenience that this delay has caused. Another day goes by before the customer responds back. The customer was still adamant on getting a refund because they had paid expedited shipping for the item. I checked and it turns out that the customer did pay for expedited shipping for the item. So, from this I was able to come up with a compromise. I reached out to the customer and offered a solution: We can refund the customer the expedited shipping cost in exchange for the customer to continue to wait for the order. There was no response for a day and then the customer reached out again and stated that they would accept the offer. From there I was able to process the refund of the shipping cost back to the customer and thanked the customer for their understanding, and that was the end of the communication between that customer and our company. 

So, the moral of this story is that when you are dealing with a customer who wants something to be done immediately, you do not give in to what they are asking as in this case, the item was still on its way and thus if we had given in and issued the refund and the customer got the item, it would pretty much mean that the customer got the item for free. Another thing to point out is that it is probably best to remember that not everything is in our control. While we do our best to make sure that we process our customer’s orders as quickly and correctly as possible, there are just some things that are out of our control, like in this case the weather. From this experience, we learned that you must not cave into pressure from a customer if the situation is not your fault and that to always try to see if there is a middle ground in which you can reach with the customer so that you and the customer can come out of the situation satisfied with the results.

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