Online sales vs Online support

Some people ask why it’s so easy to buy something online and why it’s so hard to perform any other operations with your money or goods. For example, cancel your purchase. Or change the dates of the purchased ticket.

Some people even think that business are doing it on purpose: making the process of taking your money as convenient as possible and the opposite process – as hard as possible. I don’t beleive it. I don’t think any business is planning any actions to decrease their quality in any aspect (may be except Apple). It’s to risky. Any decision about communication with clients is made with best intentions. The result may look horrible, but the manager, who actually made the decision, at that moment thought it was in the best interest of clients.

So why then some operations on a e-commerce website looks easy, and other – don’t. The main reason, that they’re performed by different departments. The underlying difference is enormous.

  • If you click on “Buy” or “Purchase” or “Subscribe”, you’re handled┬áby a sales department. Sales departments are the best parts of the company. They have budgets, they have perks, they get the best people. Everybody loves them and listens to their ideas.
  • If you click on “Contact”, “Service” or “Questions”, you’re handled by a support department. They’re normally the ugly ducks of every business. Hairy underpaid telephone-bots. They only eat money and they’re the first to go when CEO wants to make the business more effective. Often they’re even outsourced.

Even on the same website different pages of the site could be managed by different departments. With enormous difference in quality.

Of course sometimes some people also pay attention to the support departments. Just today I had a wonderful experience with the online travel agency http://www.schipholtickets.nl/ I needed to change a date for the tickets and called their paid support line (40 cent per minute). Girl of the phone after a couple of minutes realized that my request could take time and asked if she can call me back (for free!). Was this loosing money? Hell, no! I ended up paying 600 more euro to them. Brilliant!

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