Response times

I have just responded to an order I received half an hour ago. (Sinner that I am, I answered another e-mail first.)

In that half-hour, I received three follow-up e-mails from the purchaser – and a telephone call asking where her e-book was. In one of the e-mails she accused me of ‘lousy customer service’.

I did point out that the website specifies a maximum response time of 48-72 hours. The day before yesterday I undertook a seven hour journey, during which nobody was processing orders at all – and for the occasional eight hours or so, I do like to sleep.

I realise that other web publishers do things differently, but we are unable to offer downloadable files; it’s simply not a system that would be cost-effective for us at the moment, given the small volume of our sales.

Orders are processed at the earliest possible moment. For some recent customers this has been 24 hours or more, and they have not complained. We make it clear that we are unable to respond instantaneously, and had hoped that customers would understand why this must be the case.

I was also obliged to advise this particular customer that while I was talking to her on the telephone I could not also be processing her order. We are not Waterstones or Barnes and Noble and we never will be, but we are doing our best with the resources available to us.

This needs to be made clearer on the website, I feel.

2 thoughts on “Response times”

  1. It sounds to me like you were giving excellent customer service – don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s a sad fact of life that no matter how hard you work or how quickly you get things done, someone will think it ought to be done quicker and better. And I think your response time is stated perfectly well on your website (although I actually read it as “standard response time” so if I ordered something and received it in under 48 hours I’d be absolutely over the moon and telling everyone how amazing you were for exceeding my expectations!)

    In my day job I pick & pack products for a few different online shops – all totally different kind of products and probably different customer demographics – but I can tell you for sure that all of them suffer from customers who don’t read the website information or Ts&Cs. One thing’s for sure – I’m glad I don’t work the customer service side of any of the businesses!

    Anyway, this was intended as an encouraging comment to say “You’re not the only one”. Keep up the good work 🙂

    1. this was intended as an encouraging comment to say “You’re not the only one”

      Thank you, that’s very reassuring; I will confess that for a couple of hours yesterday I was in a very lonely place about the whole thing – and, frankly, feel a lot better for having moaned about it!!!

      Then in the evening I calculated the response times for the week and was rather pleased to have met my own expectations again, so I am now officially letting myself off the hook!

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