Recently, I made an online purchase with a reletively new company. Upon receiving my merchandise, I found it was not exactly what I wanted, and decided that I wanted to return the product.  I visited their webpage, and after clicking through countless pages, I finally landed on their “Terms and Conditions” page. After verifying that I could indeed return my purchase, without a restocking fee, I clicked on their “Contact Us” page…and this is where my story really begins.

I thought to myself, “Nice, a toll free number, I can get this taken care of right here, right now.” How wrong I was. The number rang and rang, at least 25 times and still no one answered, nor was I asked to leave a voicemail, nothing. I was a bit bit frustrated, but thought, “OK, this isn’t an emergency, I’ll just use their “Contact Us By Email” button.

A huge form opened up, requesting information about me, my family, where I lived, information that had absolutely no bearing on my purchase or problem. And by-the-way, all were starred as “Required Fields,” and in red no less.

Thinking, “Sure, I can do this,” I began the arduous process of entering all of the details of my life. About halfway through, a box popped up in the lower right of my screen, “Chat with one of our live agents now!”

“Perfect,” I thought, “now we’re talking.” Needless to say, after about 20 minutes of waiting, no actual chat agent appeared to chat with me about my problem.

Reluctantly, I returned to complete the seemingly endless form. After submitting my information, a box popped up that read:

“Thanks for contacting us. All emails will be answered in the order in which they are received.”

Nice, I’m not quite sure what that means, 30 minutes, 3 hours, or 3 days?

Obviously, making the sale is tantamount for all businesses. That’s where the money is. However, sometimes things go wrong, and your business will need to deal with satisfying your customers — after the sale. It could be a return, an exchange, defective merchandise, or just customer feedback (negative and/or positive).

There are many ways to ensure that, even when your customer is not completely satisfied with your product or service, their complete customer experience with your company or organization is positive. Delivering great customer service means delivering it on time. Whether it is phone support, live chat, via social media, or email — if you don’t provide timely customer service help, you may end up losing a customer.

Oh, and make it easy!

Remember, your customers may not always be pleased with your product or service, but at least make them satisfied with how you handled their displeasure. They will look upon you as professional and caring, and most likely consider your company again in the future.

Here are four keys to keeping customers happy:

  1. Answer incoming phone calls by the third ring
  2. Reply to inbound emails within 4 hours (sooner if possible)
  3. Avoid offering a live chat option if you can’t have someone available 24/7
  4. Strive to always create memorable customer experiences (gee… that sounds familiar)

Thanks for your time and attention, and have a great week!!!