A word from Kate

I broke the internet?…

The ongoing lovefest with the Kardashians and crew continues – a summer of Glasto, Cait and oil slicked derriere’s. The truth is though, as many UK multi channel businesses fail to prepare – you might experience a bit of Internet breakage yourself… or a website, at least…or in my case, my tablet out of sheer frustration!

I was born for Internet shopping, despite having a quite ‘hippy-heart’ – the ease, slickness and speed allow me to “multitask” in an airport lounge, back of a cab, or calm myself when I wake from slumber to remember I need an astronaut replica outfit, aged 6, for Friday. 

I am a champion for a real life, retail experience, and save myself for the good stuff out of work. The places where it’s a joy to shop. But, day to day, awkward to find, and high demand times – eg Christmas – I’m a big online fan. When it’s done right… So, as I speed from seminar to my next client, the only way for me to benefit from sale shopping is via my mobile, online.

With a big shopping list, I visit 5 National retailers and try to order. A couple of sites are ‘ok’ – they have annoying glitches – eg allowing you to browse, select and ‘add to basket’ before telling me it’s out of stock.  A further site seems to have some menu ‘ mash-up’ problem where it’s search facility becomes random – I presume due to sale traffic. The final two websites are so bad, I feel I have gone back in time.

They throw me out of the site, freeze and empty my basket – is it Black Friday all over again? Hours later, then days later, I manage to place some orders – which I will live to regret. Over the following weeks we experience orders that never arrive, items cancelled – but no funds returned, a bit of fraud from one of the courier companies who took a shine to our items, and nearly a month later – still awaiting goods and refunds.

Of course, I have experience in the retail world and can stand up for my rights – but what about those who can’t. Investigating how many customers have taken to social media and forums about similar experiences with the same retailers – I find the complaints are in abundance.

Every year, the cost to the UK businesses due to poor customer service, grows. Is it really acceptable to survive as a business on a ‘take now’ culture? The wise brands ?know it’s not. Take a look at the new Harvey Nichols Rewards programme. It’s smart, intelligent and it shows appreciation at every spend level. Allowing the customer to sit in the driving seat, they can customise their own rewards, get daily benefits like free coffees and smoothies, and link in their instagram.

It’s the companies that celebrate and love their customers that will survive and thrive. So instead of breaking the Internet this summer, let’s go back to those hippy days and make it a ‘summer of love’.

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