Service Failure Recovery

Great to see ADL finally taking off after about a year of planning. I hope everyone works to make this the great resource it most certainly can be. And hats off to June for taking on the challenge of herding cats!

In Issue 1, Tim Silk wrote:

“My Question: I would like to know of any companies that currently use their website for dealing with service failures and what the response has been from customers. Any measures of volume and frequency of service failure in comparison to customer retention or repeat customers would also be helpful.”

One example I recently found that relates to customer service online is the way Barnes and Noble in the US handle returns on items. When I received a book I ordered recently, the invoice included a peel-off sticker with a bar-code that could be attached to the box for return. This identifies the package for B&N to allow them to track the return and provides the consumer with the return address and a feeling that it is “okay” to return something.

I think a few other firms are even including return courier waybills that the consumer can use for no charge returns.

I bring this example up primarily because it is pre-emptive in that it assumes that problems arise, rather than treating them as an afterthought.

Anyone else have a particularly good example of e-commerce return strategies? Any horror stories?