Holiday shoppers seem to come in many forms - there are the Black Friday shoppers (way to scary for me), the early shoppers (one Facebook friend had all of her presents purchased and wrapped before Halloween), the "hit every store in a 100 mile radius shoppers" and the online shoppers. I fall into the last category. I love the Internet.
Although I love online shopping, I've gotten a bit more cautious with it over the years. I only stick with retailers I love and those that have proven reliable in the past. I do not want to repeat the disastrous "gift that never came" extravaganza of 2008. Here's the story - I bought a gift (for my in-laws, no less) from what I thought was a reputable retailer. They told me the gift was shipping from the United Kingdom and would take 6 weeks to deliver. No biggie - I ordered early. But the gift never came. And when I called and emailed the merchant about it, they didn't seem to care. Yes, I got my money back. Yes, I found another present. But I have yet to forgive that merchant and forget the "incident".
I am the perfect example of a BenchmarkPortal / Purdue University study that found the following:
| Customer Situation || Re-Purchase Probability |
|Product with NO problems||78%|
|Product with problems and an ineffective customer care center||32%|
|Product with problems and an effective customer care center||89%|
If the reps I spoke with at the retailer had shown some empathy and offered to expedite shipment of the product I ordered, I would have become their biggest fan, and told everyone I could find about the awesome retailer that saved my holiday. I would have fallen into the 89% repurchase probability section. Instead I'm in the 32% (lower in fact - I'm at 0%).
The bottom line is that when you have a customer service or product issue and handle it well, your customers are acutally MORE likely to buy from you again in the future! But if you don't handle the issue well, you may lose that customer forever.