What Happens When A Website Goes Down During A Transaction?
Recently, while online one evening, I was surfing the net and decided to make a purchase for a family member. I entered the required product information, conducted a search, found the desired item, and then continued to maneuver around the site to enter my name, address, and credit card details. I was a new customer to the site, so none of my data had been saved to its system.
As I was just about to hit “place order,” something surprising happened. The entire site went down and a message popped up on my screen, “The site has gone down for maintenance. Try again later.”
I understand that emergencies happen, so I am happy (truth be told, happy is not the correct description) to give the benefit of the doubt to this site’s company. But if regularly-scheduled maintenance had been planned, don’t you think there should have been a message on the homepage indicating the times that the site would be down and inoperable? If such a message had been visible on the homepage or, even better, along the top of all pages, I would been in a position to either chose to enter my data with lightning speed or chose to return the next day.
I shook my head once the site went down, because I wasn’t sure if my data had, in fact, been entered and the order had been processed. So, the next morning, I called the company – and after going through a series of prompts (too many, if you ask me), I spoke with a live person and provided the order number on my print out (I had printed out the web page where I was when the site went down the previous evening).
The lady could not locate the order number, and she went on to tell me that due to the fact that the site had gone down the previous evening, my order had not been completed. I asked her if the site was back up, and she said yes. I waited a few seconds before saying anything, because I was curious what she might do to leave me with a positive impression of her company. When it was obvious that she was ready to end the call, I told her that I would visit to the site to complete my transaction.
What do you think she said in response? I expected her to say something along the lines of “We’re sorry that the site went down during your transaction. This happens rarely, but we appreciate your return and if there’s anything I can do to faciliate your transaction, please let me know.” Or what about this, “Can I take your order over the phone to make your day go smoother?” But she said NOTHING. She disconnected the call.
It’s a shame that the customer service rep I spoke with had never been trained by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, whose classic advice can lead to memorable, postiive, and repeat customer experiences: “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every aspect of the customer experience better.”
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