August 9, 2022
Where most businesses lose me as a customer - the after purchase experience
We are in the midst of yet another heatwave and I decide it’s high time I got some swimming nappies for my kiddo. Don’t get me wrong, I am perfectly happy to have him run around our garden butt naked but I thought that peeing in the water where he dives head first wasn’t sanitary to say the least.
So I do what any other millennial mother does and go online in search of the best reusable nappies. It wasn’t too long before I came across a brand that shall remain nameless (the point of this post isn’t to start a beef with a business). Said brand offers award winning hypoallergenic reusable nappies, that are good for the environment, good for the baby’s skin and come in a range of funky designs. Score!
I order a pair right away.
By the time they arrive the heatwave is long gone so I decide to return them. Ordinarily, I’d keep them for next year but this kid grows like a weed and he’ll outgrow them before he even has the chance to pee in them. So I check to see how to trigger a return.
Well this is where my gripe with the company began. Because triggering a return had me triggered in no time. It turns out that in 2022, the process for returning a product required me to print out a form, complete it, enclose it into the parcel and then return back to sender. And that information wasn’t readily available in the listing or in my order email, but I had to fish for it deep into their FAQ section.
I could have been a return customer for life, this company’s stuff actually looked pretty good quality but it feels like while the purchase journey was as seamless as one would expect, the after purchase journey was harder than that of a hobbit trying to throw a ring in a volcano.
Who in this day and age even owns a printer?! Just charge me an extra few quid and enclose the form in the package as the product arrives. Maybe it’s poor planning. Maybe the return process is so strenuous on purpose so they force you to keep the product. The truth is however that many businesses get this wrong. They woo you in with 1 click check out and when you have to raise a complaint, make a return on ask a customer support question, they service is nowhere to be found. From companies hiding customer support phone numbers, not responding to your emails or making returns darn impossible, I am shocked to find out how many businesses that operate today get this so very wrong.
What happens post-purchase for customers can be incredibly influential in their decisions to give a brand repeat customers (or dedicate a snarky blog post to your brand as it is the case here). Bottom line is getting this wrong is a recipe for disaster. Most businesses will tell you that keeping an existing customers and selling more to them is cheaper than acquiring a new one. Yet many seem to only care for that new purchase and don’t give a toss about what happens after.
So I guess the point I am making is, do better. You’ve got to.