if I was to name the most annoying or frustrating part about having an online website/store it would actually be pretty easy because here’s the deal… I love almost everything about about running our business! Which makes the most annoying thing a fairly obvious choice for me, and that would be—
Incorrect or Incomplete Address Information!
Now at first glance you might think that a problem of this sort would only be a rare or at worst an occasional problem, but I’m here to tell you that this is an issue that happens on a regular basis for us! As a matter of fact, issues revolving around various types of incomplete addresses are becoming more and MORE frequent of late. Last week for example, SEVEN orders were flagged for different variations of at least one (sometimes more) of the following issues!
- no last name
- no first name
- no name at all
- no number (be it a house, route or POBox)
- no street address at all
- no city
- no state
- no postal code
- the wrong postal code
Sometimes we can tell right away that there’s something missing because after all, a hole is easy to spot, but other times we don’t know there’s an issue until we try to put postage on a package and the mailing software flags the address as incorrect. I have to admit that it’s amazing to me that SO many people make SO many mistakes on their own address information. And here’s the deal… when the address provided is incorrect we have to stop what we’re doing and try to contact that individual. But that should be easy, right? All we have to do is write to them via the email address they’ve provided, or call them on the phone number THEY provided.
The thing that makes this situation SO frustrating is that over 75% of the time that we try to contact individuals via email they just… never… answer us! WHY???? Does this mean our customers don’t check their email, or that they’re deliberately giving us a bogus email to avoid spam? Who knows? Unbelievably, the email bounces back to us over 25% of the time… sometimes because the customers inbox is full and sometimes because the email address was either spelled wrong or was bogus to begin with and sometimes folks just never answer us… who knows why! (And yes, this has gotten so annoying that I DO keep records!)
So you might be thinking that surely we get better results by phone, right? The answer would be yes, but just barely because very rarely does anyone answer the phone, and when we leave a message it can sometimes take 2-4 days to get an answer, if at ALL! (And by the way… 25% of the time the phone number is either wrong, or voice mail box is full!) Grrrrr! Just last week one customer gave us a wrong zip code (ALL FIVE DIGITS were wrong as well as the phone number was wrong. The man who answered the phone swore he’d never heard of this customer!)
And here’s the deal… the address thing isn’t the only mistake going on because there’s a whole lot of item/order duplication happening too! Gosh, just last week a customer sent me 4 orders in quick succession… all of them were exactly the same! WHAT? Now considering that customers always get an email confirmation for EVERY order they place, wouldn’t you think this customer would have noticed there was a problem when she received FOUR confirmation emails in her Inboxr4? Evidently not, but no surprise there! At least this particular customer answered her phone call on the first try!
Moral of the story: Always double-check your order and read thru the address information you supply when you order things on the Internet.
First off, not everyone will take the time to check on things like this before shipping orders off into the wild blue yonder. But secondly and perhaps more importantly, look at it this way… I can spend my time tracking down the information that I need to process our online orders, or I can spend it creating fun stuff for YOU to make! I don’t know about you… but I know which I would rather be doing!
And now…. it’s YOUR turn!
I’d love to know if you have any ideas as to why the instances of misinformation on our online orders seems to be increasing at an alarming rate in the last year or so. If i could figure out why its happening, maybe we could take steps to alleviate some of it? And remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.
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