Awful customer service in Vietnam – Part 1
Vietnamese E-commerce brands from are developing at a fast pace, they are stepping up their game regarding product quality, communication, logistic efficiency…But one aspect of the mix is dangerously lagging, CUSTOMER SERVICE, especially delivery service.
How can it still be so awfully bad with so many companies?
E-commerce in Vietnam is booming, more and more Vietnamese customers shop products, services or food online; home delivery has become common place.
Too many brands forget that the delivery process is an important part of the shopping experience. Make it awful and you will seriously damage your brand.
Every time customers interact with a brand they form associations
Here are few do´s and don’ts. Source: My personal e-commerce shopper experience in Vietnam.
Rule 1: Keep your delivery promises
If I ask you to confirm twice that my product will be delivered before 11.30 AM. It is not because I want to be annoying. I need the delivery before the deadline because I might be leaving my office or home.
Does the merchant seriously believe that he can lie to his customer and get away with it with no consequence? Does he really believe that I will reorder from him? What does he think I´m going to tell my friends about his customer service?
Rule 2: Think twice when you hire a deliveryman.
It happened yesterday, we ordered (delicious) Vietnamese food home. We leave in an apartment building. Mr. deliveryman called us from downstairs, this is exactly what he said.
“I’m downstairs come down, NOW” – before hanging up the phone.
What a jerk! Am I ever going to reorder from that restaurant? No way.
This is a management problem. Your deliveryman is part of your brand, you must train him to most basic customer service rules.
Rule 3: Take responsibility for your delivery mistakes.
When you let down a customer with his delivery, whatever might be the reason, don´t make some fake excuses. Admit your mistake, apologize, and show him that you are doing your best to solve the problem.
You promised him something, you betrayed his trust, it is your fault. Most customers know how to forgive merchants and brands that are honest and don´t start arguing with them or come up with miserable excuses to justify their brand promise failure.
Everyone in your company has an impact on your brand from your accountant to your sales staff to your motorbike parking guard.
Thankfully I also have positive examples
It is a famous Indian restaurant located in D1 – Ho Chi Minh City.
They screwed up a delivery, after 2 hours still no sign of our dinner. We gave 1 call to ask what was going on.
They took responsibility for their mistake and apologized. 25 minutes later the order was finally at our door. At that exact moment I was mad, telling myself that would never order from them again.
But then I was told that the whole order was for free (It was a big one). They accepted their mistake and compensated me.
By providing good service, they turned a potential ex-customer to a loyal one, because I know that they care about me and if they make a mistake, I have somebody to talk to.
To keep your customers happy and protect your brand image you must compensate them or at least say you are sorry! It is not a big deal.
Managers and business owners might think that things have always been like that in Vietnam, that consumers don´t care that much about customer service. Maybe. But there is an emerging middle class in Vietnam.
This middle class is more affluent and more demanding in terms of provided services. The competition in every sector is heating up, nowadays customers have plenty of choices to go with if he is not satisfied with your services.
In Vietnam, there used to be the sellers’ market. People queued to have the rare goods they desperately wanted.
Some sellers still think that is the case but fortunately it is not anymore. The customer is the king and can choose who to buy from.
A successful brand is made of many factors, customer service is one of them.
If you manage an excellent restaurant or a web shop with great products, why should you kill your brand reputation by not investing at least a little bit in service improvement? Bad service might not backfire immediately, but it surely will in the future.
It is never too late to act on it and step up your game!
Some good reasons to provide outstanding customer service:
- It is a terrific way to improve your brand´s value proposition compared to competitors, especially in industries with little or no product differentiation (think about web shops selling mobile phones, they all have the same SKUs).
- You create brand loyalty, a customer that feels special will come back.
- You get free referrals; satisfied customers talk about their wonderful experiences to their friends and relatives.
- You avoid your brand being destroyed on social medias. Believe me, Facebook or Twitter can be a weapon of mass destruction (remember United airlines´ recent PR disaster).
So many companies have succeeded thanks to exceptional customer service. It requires efforts but it is worth it, especially in highly competitive industries. It is your opportunity to beat the competition in Vietnam.