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3 September, 2005

No more e-mail

A certain retailer, which I won't promote by naming, has ~200 high street stores worldwide (most in the UK), a web store and a phone-based direct ordering service.  The latter two have just withdrawn all e-mail contact addresses:

We've come to realise that e-mail is a very poor way to deliver customer service.  Every question we receive could easily be answered more quickly, comprehensively and unambiguously over the phone.

2005, and no e-mail? Deliberately? That's a major backward step. What about those of us who don't want to use the phone? I prefer to write an e-mail and send it, then get on with other things, checking back later for the response. Why should I have to wait in a queue to speak to a 'customer advisor'? Is this about my convenience, or theirs?

I have actually used their phone service a few times, so realise the unstated part: this provides an opportunity for hard-sell. Whatever one's enquiry, or however specific one's planned order, a customer advisor will attempt to expand it. One has to be very firm to avoid spending more than one had intended, and end the conversation feeling oddly uncomfortable about having disappointed the (always pleasant) advisor. That isn't a satisfactory customer experience, and I simply wouldn't choose to use the service again.

They still offer a postal address, though. I think I have some stamps around here somewhere....

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