Too often customers are looking for assistance in finding the right product for their needs and head right into road blocks. This is especially true in eCommerce. Product specialist are very hard to find when shopping online and you have specific questions about a product you expect to get the answers you need to make an educated purchase. Recently, I was shopping on Amazon for a specific tool. I found it and several other viable options as well. I wasn’t sure about the two that I had narrowed down. I still had questions even after thoroughly reading the descriptions on each. So reluctantly I called Amazon’s customer service to get additional information. I was greeted with a happy and eager representative ready to provide me will all the information I need. After explaining to her what information I was looking for, I found her reading the online descriptions back to me. I explained that I had already read all the information online about the two products I was inquiring about. I was meet with a long pause and now fumbling customer service person who was guessing, and providing her own opinions on what she thought the answers were to my questions. I was confused as to why I was getting vague answers and personal insist to very specific questions. After a while on the phone I kindly said thank you for your help and abandoned Amazon.
My search continued to a specific tool website that had both tools that I was comparing. Again, I called the customer service department and reach a gentleman who had full knowledge of both tools and guided me to the best purchase for my application. The online store was a small Mom and Pop website that sold just tools. They didn’t sell trampolines, hammocks, or bird feeders. They sold tools! I knew I was getting the right information from their customer service and felt confident when placing my online order. Although I could have easily have placed the order with Amazon or Walmart who offered the item for less I was happy to give the Mom and Pop website my business because they were there for me to make the right purchase.
This hasn’t been my first experience with big eCommerce sites who have minimal knowledge on the products they sell. Product knowledge is essential for making an educated buying decision and should be a part of any brick and mortar or eCommerce store. Much of what customer service was back in the day has slowly faded into the sunset with eCommerce. The feeling you would get when you walked into your favorite store and someone greeted you and asked how could they help you today has disappeared. I get the obvious difference between walking into a store and shopping online but at least when I have a question about a certain product don’t refer me to the catalog.