It Pays To Answer Customer Emails

Online shopping isn’t all about click through, promotions and abandonment. It’s about the interaction between user, customer and business.

I’ve been looking to get a new jacket for winter. Commuting, and specifically walking between stations and waiting for connections, can be a chilly affair when the temperatures drop. I’ve done plenty of research offline and online. I’m a ‘brand advocate’ of
The North Face (TNF) and spent time looking at both their US and Canadian sites to find the latest gear. I ordered catalogues from Cotswold and Snow & Rock and I spent time in stores like Blacks, Venture Sport and Field & Trek. Eventually I settled on the Plasma jacket, it wasn’t showing on the TNF site for Europe (it was still showing summer gear in October…) but thanks to Froogle.co.uk, I saw it was appearing on several online stores but I was nervous that I would be getting end-of-line 2005/6 stock as we’re in a transitional season.

I had good service last year from Snow & Rock and I liked their extensive and well-produced catalogue but they didn’t have the item showing in stock. Cotswold I wanted to give a chance to as I visited
their store in Betws-y-Coed last year and was impressed. Finally, Venture Sport were the only company showing the jacket as available in the colour I wanted – and they’re local with a branch in Norwich and helpful staff…

Cue a salvo of identical emails to their various customer service addresses. All sent at the same time, last Wednesday. I received just one response, from Venture Sport two days later telling me the key information: The item is the latest version and the current stock wait time (7-14 days). It was friendly, succinct and useful. If I’m being picky I’d have liked a tighter delivery/stock estimate but other than that, spot on.

As a result I’ve just spent nearly £200 with them on the jacket and as of today (6 days later) I’ve still had no response from any of the others. The shopping experience wasn’t without its faults - I did get instant confirmation emails but there were three of them (two merchant receipts and one with registration details) but I was so pleased to finally be getting on with the order that I didn’t really mind too much. I was even able to add some additional delivery comments to ensure it reaches me through the complicated post system at The Company. When it does arrive I plan on spending even more money with them on a few additional clothing items … their prompt, friendly and efficient service has paid off. All because they responded to an email.