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Good customer services matters. A lot. And here's why.
I'm not a huge fan of 'outing' brands across such a well-read blog as Econsultancy’s.
However, I’ve been so utterly disheartened by my experience with Mango in recent weeks that I felt compelled to publicise it in the hope it might spring them into action (and educate other retailers on the mistakes to avoid).
It all started in the build up to Christmas. I'm usually a pretty decent present buyer for my good wife but this year I was all out of inspiration. Feeling my plight, she very kindly pointed me towards a dress that she had spotted on the Mango website. Result... or so I thought.
So what went wrong and what can others learn from Mango’s shortcomings?
It started in-store
As I was in London for a meeting, I thought I'd drop into the Oxford Street store. Unable to find the dress of choice, I asked one of the shop assistants if she could help. I described the dress I was looking for but she said they didn’t stock it.
Slightly surprised, I stood looking at her for a second or two (making us both feel a little uncomfortable), a clear prompt that I was after a bit more help than she was willing to offer. Disappointingly, nothing came.
What was I expecting I hear you ask? Well, she could have started by offering to check stock in other stores. The failure to do so was even more surprising when I spotted the ‘search in store’ function on the website later on.
She could have simply recommended that I order online.
Sadly, she did none of the above. Slightly despondent, I left.
The first fail.
Where’s the guest checkout?
Back at home, I found the dress on the website so I ordered it online. I’m sure a usability expert could pick holes in the website but in the main, the experience was pretty seamless.
However, there was no clear guest checkout.
In essence, it does exist. You have the option to create a password (and therefore an account) after the ‘log-in’ page.
However, this option is not made clear from the outset, which means I am assuming I have to create an account. As has been well documented, forced registration is a major cause of basket abandonment.
The second fail.
Delivery was late and communication non-existent
Shortly after ordering, an email arrived confirming my purchase and delivery date, Wednesday December 18. Perfect. I finish for the Christmas break on the Thursday, it will be delivered to work before then.
The Wednesday came and went. The Thursday came and went. No delivery and more frustratingly no communication from Mango on the progress of my order.
On the Friday, the package finally arrived. Now you might say, "well it's only a couple of days and it is Christmas so there are bound to be delays".
For me, that's no excuse. If a retailer says it's going to arrive on a certain day, it better do so. And if it doesn't, I expect to be kept informed. I wasn’t.
The third fail.
Returning the item came at my expense
On Christmas Day, Mrs P was delighted with her new dress but unfortunately it was a size too big. Back in the bag it went ready to return for a smaller size a few days later.
When I came to return it, I was surprised to see that there wasn’t a free returns sticker. Really? I turned to the website for clarification. Indeed, no free returns. Advice is even offered to send it back via recorded delivery... at my expense.
Again, numerous studies point to the fact that failure to offer free returns is another major barrier to conversion.
This doesn't mean that all retailers offer it, many don't. However, it is a growing expectation of consumers, driven by the increasing number of retailers that do.
The fourth fail.
Communication still non-existent
After returning the item via recorded delivery, as they suggested, two weeks passed. I'd heard nothing from Mango.
Slightly concerned, I went to the website and used the 'order' function to tap in my order number and see if that revealed anything. It didn't, other than confirming my original order had been despatched.
OK, time to get in touch. I was directed to the contact form, which I duly completed.
I submitted the form on January 15. I heard nothing in reply. Not even acknowledgement of my enquiry.
The fifth fail.
Err, why have we been given a refund?
A full six days later, I finally received an email from Mango.
The email stated that my card would be credited with a full refund.
Hold on. We didn't want a full refund. We wanted to exchange for a different size, as the note accompanying the dress clearly stated.
Now we are starting to get just a little bit angry.
However, we persisted. My wife was pretty adamant she wanted the dress so back to the website we went. The dress however, was nowhere to be found.
We are therefore assuming that the dress has sold out. However, we have received no formal notification of this or dare I say it, an apology.
Rather hilariously, on January 30, a full two weeks after I submitted my original query via the online form, I receive this:
Still no explanation of why we have received a refund rather than the exchange we wanted.
The sixth fail.
Lessons to be learned
Here is the perfect illustration of a retailer failing to meet my expectations.
I have quickly grown to expect store staff to check stock for me. I expect free returns. I expect regular communication. I expect to be formally told why I have been given a refund rather than the product I wanted.
And I expect these things because the best retailers do all of this and more. Indeed, the winners and losers at Christmas were defined by an understanding of their customers’ needs and expectations, allowing them to meet, and in many cases, exceed them.
Whether it was product selection, well-timed promotions, delivery options or click and collect, the likes of John Lewis, Argos or Dixons outpaced the competition due to one thing and one thing alone- understanding what their customers expected of them.
Unfortunately for Mango, the experience it delivers is not aligned to the one I expect. Will I ever shop again at Mango? Doubtful. Will I wince if my good wife picks next year's Christmas dress from Mango? Definitely. Will my wife shop again with Mango? Possibly, but she won’t go out of her way.
How to lose friends and alienate people encapsulated in one poor experience.