by Tom Ruwitch
A few days ago, I ordered groceries for home delivery from Shipt.com. Then all hell broke loose.
I usually love this service. Click a few links on my computer. Wait a couple of hours. And receive a carload of groceries at my front door.
But a few days ago, Shipt went haywire.
I placed my order and received the standard text: “Hi. This is your Shipt shopper. I’m about to begin…”
And then radio silence. Not a word for three hours.
So, I texted her to check in.
“I was not able to check out,” she said. “The app has crashed. I’m on the phone with them right now.”
A few minutes later, I checked in again.
“I gave up,” she said. “I left the store. They never picked up my call.”
So, I logged on to Shipt.com, pulled up my order and clicked “Cancel.”
No dice. Shipt wouldn’t let me cancel an order within the “delivery window”!
I sent an email to customer service: “Cancel my order, please.”
I clicked the chat window on the website and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited.
I moved on to Shipt’s social media accounts — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. I saw a lovely video about how to decorate holiday cookies. But not a word about the technical issues or what we could do about it.
At 8 a.m. the next morning, I checked my email. No response from Shipt. I tried the chat again. I checked social media. Same results. Nothing.
After lots of digging, I found a customer support telephone number and called. I waited on hold for 46 minutes before Bethany picked up.
“Oh yes, Mr. Ruwitch. I’m sorry. We DID have some issues with the shoppers’ app yesterday.”
She said she could cancel the order or resubmit it for delivery that morning. Progress!
I thanked Bethany for her help and asked her to do something: “Can you send a note up the chain to tell them how frustrating this was for me? I’m sure many customers felt this way.” Then I told her everything I just told you.
“This would have been far less frustrating if the company had posted updates on social media, emailed me or simply acknowledged the issue and offered some instruction about how to resolve it,” I said.
She agreed. She noted that some customers had been waiting in the online chat queue for 16+ hours!
So…, what does this have to do with you and your small business?
This is a story about empathy — or lack thereof.
No one at Shipt put themselves in the customer’s shoes and asked, “What are they thinking? What do they want? What do they need?”
This is not rocket science. If you ask that question, the answers come easily.
When all hell breaks loose with your systems, be transparent. Offer regular updates (“We’re working on this and expect the system to be operating in…”).
Provide assurances (“Your credit card will not be charged unless/until you receive your order…”).
And here’s the thing about empathy and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes…
You build stronger connections with customers and prospects — not just when your business has a crisis, but also when you’re selling.
Stronger connections sell. Stronger connections maximize the lifetime value of customer relationships.
Tom Ruwitch is the Founder and Chief Story Officer at Story Power Marketing. He’s offering a free, 12-minute micro-training called “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Buy -- Without Pitching and Prodding.” Instant access at: StoryPowerMarketing.com/3keys