A not so successful interaction with Staples online. In spite of the number of issues I had with this interaction, how often would this scenario be repeated on such a simple customer request?
Live Chat on Staples.com
Pradnya B. has joined the session!
Pradnya: I hope you’re doing well. My name is Pradnya. How may I assist you today?
Client (Me): Hi Pradnya, I’m looking for a male monitor cable. That I can connect from one end (my laptop) to two of my monitors.
Pradnya: I don’t find any at first glance.
Client: I say to myself, I wonder if she’s new?
Pradnya: She asks for a few minutes of my time to research this further?
Client: I oblige.
Pradnya: I’m sending you a link to review.
Client: After clicking on the link, I see a 10 Gold Plated Super VGA Male to Male Cable.
Client: I again emphasize that I need two male connectors on one end for two separate monitors.
Pradnya: Could I have a few minutes of your time to research this further?
Client: Before she does additional research, I reiterate my request.
Pradnya: I am sorry to inform you that the product you are searching is currently not available online. I request you to please visit nearest Staples store and check.
Client: I ask her about the nearest store (even though I think I know).
Pradnya: She asks for my zip code. Could she have done that once she couldn’t find anything online?
Client: I ask for a product number or code. She didn’t respond to that question.
Pradnya: She provides the address without the telephone number.
Client: I request the telephone number to get store hours and inquire about the item.
Pradnya: Slight delay before she provides the number.
Client: I ask her if this store has that product available in the store (to avoid a trip otherwise).
Pradnya: She doesn’t know.
Pradnya: Is there anything else that I can assist you with?
Client: Technically, she hasn’t assisted me at all, so why would I think this next go-round would be any different.
Client: After the chat, I’m engaged in browsing and begin to see ads for Staples – over and over again. Last night, on Monday, I drove by another Staples store at 7:15 pm and all the lights were off. I thought the store had closed by no, the weekday hours were 7 pm. I wondered when the change. I continue to browse throughout the afternoon and evening and continue to see ads for Staples. As I see these ads, I think of two things, the weekday hours at my local Staples and the unsuccessful chat I had with Pradnya earlier in the day.
A few comments:
1. If someone is willing to assist (chat with me) while I’m online shopping, I’m hopeful they’re quite familiar with the product inventory.
2. Being thorough and helpful is quite important. I don’t just mean, “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” If the provider is sending me to the brick and mortar store, have all the information there for me. This includes the location, telephone number, store hours and product availability and maybe even a link to the nearest store.
3. I realize that online chatting by retail providers is a cost savings although they need to make it worthwhile. When I explicitly requested a male to male cable with a dual connector, she provided me a link with a male to male connector. Again, I had to repeat my description before she did additional searching. If she’s not quite sure of my request, she needs to first understand me before searching her database.
4. If Staples is going to target me with ads after that interaction, to improve my responsiveness to their ads, ensure I have a positive opinion of my latest interaction with them.