When someone bogart’s your bowl

I’m sure me talking about my remodeling project is already getting old, but it’s all I’m thinking about lately. I walk through my life doing things and thinking “How can I turn this into a blog post,” and I rehearse it (makes me feel a little crazy you know). But to fill space and time, it’s the best way to go, as long as it’s metaphorical.

For the past week we’ve been struggling with the company where I ordered our toilet. I placed the order a week ago Sunday and the tank arrived the following Tuesday. That night, I sent an email to support, “Where’s my bowl?” to sum up. No response. The following day, Julie called on the order, spoke to a customer service rep after 20-plus minutes of being on hold and disconnected several times (intentional, maybe?). The rep said that the bowl would be shipped in the next few days. Well, a few days went by, we heard nothing. Sunday rolls around and the project’s been started and there’s no toilet bowl. I write another email to customer service, this time using their online form. At least this time I received an automated response. But no human contact again. Julie calls again Monday and after another 20 minutes on hold finds out that we did indeed get the correct tank, and the shipment of the replacement was canceled, so she reordered for us. On Tuesday, Julie gets an email letting her know that the bowl had been shipped and we got the tracking number. I tracked the shipment — it appears that the day that we got the tank, the bowl was also with it, but just somehow wound up in Minneapolis, and had to come back. The shipping company messed up. The company we ordered from dropped the ball by having no idea that two shipments were made, which should have been clearly on the order, and we should have been told that there were two tracking numbers. It would have been very easy to solve the problem had this been the case. My emails should have been at the very least answered, even if it was just an acknowledgment of the problem. It was a bad situation that could have been made easier if only everyone knew what was going on. I’d have been OK with being able to track my shipment, knowing that it went off course, but not knowing anything, that was problematic.

In any service industry, whether it’s websites or retail, communication between company and client is a huge part of keeping a good relationship. When we build ecommerce sites, it’s important to make sure that the end user is well informed during all phases of a purchase. It makes them feel in control and empowered. When we interact with our own clients, the more responsive we are, the happier our clients are, even if we’re informing them that something bad happened. We strive for good communication at DDA, and though we aren’t 100% perfect, we do a pretty good job. If at all possible, we try to avoid the problem, and if that is not possible (as things happen) we are responsive and quick with a solution because we know that our clients’ businesses depend on us being dependable.

The other important piece of the puzzle is having a good infrastructure within your company. Keeping order information and client information accessible and well-noted is a key part in being able to serve your clients with ease. DDA has done quite a bit of custom programming within the CRM world, and we’re working on combining several other smaller projects into one large, very useful tool, where all relevant information for our client base is at the click of a mouse. I like to think that DDA’s programming team is like the glue that holds things together. Without us, the pretty design wouldn’t do anything special. With us, there’s a world of possibilities in the storage and retrieval of information game.