I found an online shoe company that specialized in comfortable shoes for airline personnel - since they are on their feet while they do their jobs. This company had a nice-looking boot that I was interested in purchasing, however, the online reviews indicated that a larger size might be necessary. I called the toll-free number provided on the website. The woman who answered said she had no knowledge about the shoes because she worked in the travel agency associated with the shoe company. Wait a minute, I called the number that the website provided if there were questions about the shoes. While I was scratching my head, the lady gave me an email address for further inquiries. Even more odd, the email address had nothing to do with the shoe company, i.e., the part of the email address after the @ was for a travel agency. How many touchpoints was I, the customer, supposed to have before I found the correct person who had knowledge about the shoes that the company sold?
On the opposite side of the customer experience spectrum, I was again online looking through an eCommerce site where I am a repeat customer. While I have purchased several items from this site in the past, I did not purchase anything on this particular visit. I left the site and didn't think about any of the items I had seen until I received an email from the company about an hour later.
The subject line read: "Oops, forget something?" And the email read as follows:
We noticed something caught your eye. There's still time to add it to your cart.
What a difference! The first company did not care about me as a customer, while the second company clearly valued me, had noticed I had visited its website, and wanted my business.
Here are some key take-aways from my two experiences: How does your brand show that you value your customers? Do you communicate with your customers regularly so that they feel valued? And above all, are your employees educated on company details outside of their area of expertise so that they are able to answer basic customer questions? If not, it's definitely time for some re-training.