eCommerce Lifestyle
Don't Pass The Buck

Don’t Pass The Buck…


The key to long term success in business is customer satisfaction.  

In this episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast, Anton shares one simple method for easily keeping customers happy and coming back for more.

The podcast is also available on all major podcast players including, Stitcher and Spotify.

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Hello, everybody. Anton Kraly here. And welcome back to the eCommerce Lifestyle podcast. Our bi-weekly show designed to help e-commerce store owners increase their revenue, automate their operations and become the authority in their niche. Now, last Thursday's episode, I recorded as I was finishing up a few things for the brand new version of the Drop Ship Lifestyle, Drop Ship Blueprint, right before I had to hop on a plane and I didn't have to. Before I chose to hop on a plane and go to Cancun for five days with my family, just to hang out, which was amazing by the way. But I said in that episode, I'll probably be recording some episodes from the beach. Didn't do that at all. The only real work I did besides just checking in on Slack every morning, was hosting a three-hour coaching call for Drop Ship Lifestyle members, but didn't record any podcasts, really just enjoyed the beach, enjoyed a whole bunch of awesome experiences and got to say, Cancun, I have never been to. First time there.

It was absolutely amazing. Some of the most gorgeous beaches I've ever seen. Yes. Even compared to Kho Phi Phi and all around Thailand, and Vietnam, and some of the most amazing beaches I've been there. I would rank Cancun right up there with them. So for anybody listening that is in the States and looking for a quicker trip, I would highly recommend it. It was an awesome time. So yeah, good all around there, but did not make time to record any podcasts. But now that I'm home, I wanted to hop on and just share a couple of experiences I had just with traveling in general and how that can apply to e-commerce and some takeaways. I had four things that I'm constantly going to be looking for in terms of improving our own e-commerce businesses when it comes to keeping customers happy. And this is especially important for everybody out there listening that has a team. Whether that means you have people all over the world, or you have one guy or girl that helps you out with, let's say, customer service stuff.

Now, a few things happened on the trip, when I was coming home on the way back, that really were just frustrating, nothing terrible by any means. But things that I was just like, "Come on guys, get your stuff together." And the first thing was when I was going back through the airport in Cancun to fly back to the Charlotte Area, flew into the Charlotte Airport. And when we were booking our trip, I think it was a couple of weeks before we left. We weren't able to book three seats together, or close to each other on the way home. So the flight there, there were plenty of seats available, no problem. On the way back, we had to book two seats and then another seat somewhere else on the plane. And I was traveling with my wife and our three-year-old son. So we wanted to be together because even the two that were together, there was still a seat breaking them up.

So, okay, it's happened before, not the biggest deal. Typically you could just go on the plane, ask the person if they would switch with you and if the seats are comparable, then people wouldn't have a problem doing that. Really I'll say I don't like doing that, I'd rather not, rather just have it booked as it should be when it's being booked. But again, unfortunately it wasn't an option. And when you're with a three-year-old, sometimes you got to ask people. We only have to do it once before, but I still, yeah, I just don't like having to do it at all.

Anyway. Not the point. The point is that when we were checking in with, who did we fly with? With American Airlines. We were checking in and I just said to the woman at the desk, "This is what happened. We booked our seats. Do you have anything else available? Did anything come up where we can just change our seats now?" She looked and she said, "Unfortunately, I don't have anything right here. But all you have to do is when you get to your gate, ask the person, working the gate if they can page the person that has the middle seat that would be breaking up, in this case my wife and my son. And they'll page them and see if they'd be willing to switch and they can even change tickets before you get on the plane." And I was like, "Oh, that's awesome. I've never heard that before. Thank you so much." And she was like, "Yeah, we do it all the time. No problems." "Okay. Thank you." Feeling good about it. Because again, I don't like asking people just to switch anyway.

So we go through security, we have lunch, whatever, we go up to our gate. And I say to the lady working there, "Yeah, this is what happened. Spoke to the woman at check-in. She said that you would be able to page the person that has this middle seat and see if they can switch the ticket now, so that my wife and my son can sit next to each other." And the woman's like, "No, we don't do that. What are you talking about? We don't do that. You can just ask him on the plane." And I was just like, "Oh, okay, thank you." And I said, "The woman up front said, you could do that." She's like, "No, no, we don't do that."

So it was weird, again, I wasn't expecting it. But the fact that somebody told me that, "We can make this happen and we do this all the time." Then the other person said, "What are you talking about? We don't do that." It was just a really weird experience. And I don't know, I would say a bad feeling as a customer. Where's the disconnect, right? Was the woman up front just trying to be nice or make me feel better? Was the second woman just, I don't know, having a bad day and not wanting to be helpful? Either way it just felt like a disconnect. And it felt like bad service. If you can't do it, just don't even say it upfront. Just say, "What I assumed was going to happen, which is, yeah, go on the plane and ask them and they most likely want to switch. So your wife can sit next to your son."

But anyway, so that was the first thing where I felt like the first person maybe was just passing the responsibility down the road. When all they had to say was, "Oh, sorry, we can't do anything. You can ask them on the plane." And that would have been a hundred percent fine, what I fully expected.

So that was the first thing that I was like, "Okay. Don't like that." The next thing was my wife, my son and I, before we left for this trip, we applied online for Global Entry. For anybody that's not familiar with Global Entry. When you get back to the US, you don't have to wait on the normal immigration lines. It's kind of you're pre-approved, kind of pre-check with the TSA, but you also get to do it through immigration. So just get through super fast. And I've got back in the past where lines have been an hour long plus, especially when I fly back into Kennedy from overseas to JFK in New York.

So we applied for Global Entry and we got an email that said, "Because of COVID, you're now able to do your interview." Because that's part of the process to get approved, right when you get back. So instead of making an appointment on another day, having to go to the airport just for an interview, it said, "When you get back to the airport, we'll do it for you as you're going through immigration." So I was like, "That's amazing. Saves us a trip. We can go right through, get it done. And next time we come back from an international trip, just breeze right through immigration. So, okay, cool." Got the email said that's what we should do. Perfect. So we get back, we land, and with immigration, there's usually people all over at different points, making sure everyone goes to the correct spot or the correct line.

So the first person was there, basically right when we got off the plan. And I said to the woman working there, "We have this Global Entry pending approval. And we wanted to do our interviews now. Is there anywhere special we should go?" And she said, "No, you could just go to the normal line. And they might not do it for you, but they should." And I was like, "Oh, that's strange because I actually see signs everywhere that say, 'Do your Global Entry interview here.' And the emails we received said we could do it when we come in." And she's like, "Yeah, I don't know. You can ask them upfront." Okay, fine. So go up to the next person, which is, I guess, at the front of the normal immigration line that tells you what desk to go to and said the same thing to her.

"We want to do our interviews now because that's what the emails said we should do. And our applications are pending approval." And she said, "Oh yeah, you can go to this desk over here and they can help you." Okay, great. Go to that desk. They checked our passports, whatever, for normal immigration. We're good. And I say, "We'd like to do Global Entry interviews." And the guy says "We're actually understaffed right now. So unfortunately I can't do that." And meanwhile, it was the smallest line I've ever seen. There was probably 20 people on the immigration line when we were there, and at least five different desks with officer's open. But he says because of the limited staffing, they can't do it. So he says, "What you can do is just go through now, and then go to the Global Entry office in the airport and they can do it for you there." "Okay. Fine. No problem. Thank you."

Go through, go to the Global Entry office. There's a woman there by herself, the worker for, I don't know if it's even TSA, I think it's Homeland Security. So say to her, "We have our applications pending. We're looking to come through. And the guy at the desk said you were understaffed. And he said come here. And you would be able to do the interviews for us." And she said, "No, no, no, no, no. We can't do that. If you want to do an interview here at the Global Entry office, you need to book it online." And everything is booked for X amount of time, right? And I'm just like, "Oh is there any way, because again, we got these emails that said we can just do it here. There's signs everywhere that say, do your interview as you're going through immigration, the guy at the desk said, come here." And she says, "No, no, we never do that." "Okay. Thanks."

And again, this was that same type of experience where if somebody just would have said to me like, "Oh, we're not doing that today." Or I don't even know, something in the policy changed, just be upfront, be honest, don't pass the buck. Don't transfer responsibility to the next person, to the next person, to the next person. Only to be at a point where you don't get what you want or what you expected or what somebody told you what would happen. And that is the frustrating part, right? And this is something that, I think, I've understood for a long time in business and life. People don't like being misled. People don't like having anything, but the truth, even if the truth is what they don't want to hear.

And sometimes the truth is what they expect to hear, but tell them that, rather than going to, "Oh, all you have to do is do this, and your problem will be resolved." Right? "Just go to this next person, just do this next thing. And the problem will be resolved." Because if it won't be, and you're just leading somebody down this rabbit hole of thing, after thing, after thing, only to find out that what they originally were told is going to happen is not going to happen. That is where the frustration leads to. And that is what gives people truly bad experiences, where they simply don't want to do business with you anymore.

And I'll give you some examples of e-commerce and how I'm looking at this in our businesses, to make sure we don't let things like this happen. But this is something that people might have experienced, maybe. I was going to say back in the day, but probably recently as well. Where maybe you call a customer service line for a company, product, service, whatever. And they say, "Oh, let me transfer you to this person." Or press one, then press two, then press three. And you're going through these loops only to have a phone, just keep ringing and ringing and ringing, or to have it just disconnect on you. And then you're following this process that you think you should be following because somebody told you to, and it just ends with nothing. And that is extremely frustrating. It feels like again, people are being deceived and that your time is being wasted and nobody wants their time to be wasted, no matter how much time they have in the world.

I pride myself and I make one of my goals to have as much free time as possible in life. That's why I have eCommerce Lifestyle, Drop Ship Lifestyle. The goal is to have that time, but don't waste it. I don't like that at all. So how can we relate this to e-commerce and what are things that I'm looking at in our businesses to have this never happen to customers of ours. And what are the things that possibly you can look at. And I'll just give you a starting point, where I've been thinking about this, and you can expand on your own ideas here. But one example, is in our businesses with live chat on our sites, on our stores. We might get a live chat from somebody that says, "Hi, I placed an order, order number, whatever 123, and the product arrived and it's damaged. And I would like to return it." And our normal process might be, "Okay, I'm sorry to hear that. Please email [email protected], and we will be able to help you with that.

Now, if that happens, and somebody emails [email protected] Our team will check that, we will follow up. So we're not going to basically leave them stranded, but how can we make that even better, so there is no disconnect. And the person doesn't feel like, "Oh, I just made a live chat because this, and now I have to do this extra thing." So one thing that we're going to start working in, is when that happens, we're going to make sure that in Slack, which is basically our internal live chat system with our team. If somebody on live chat has to instruct somebody to issue a return or to start a return by emailing [email protected], then the live chat operator will ping the person on Slack. Meaning just message them, saying, "Person so-and-so is issuing the return ticket. When you follow up, please let them know that we acknowledge that we spoke to them on live chat."

So for example, let's say, I don't know, Mary is on one of my stores. Mary sends a live chat. "Hi, I'd like to return product one because it was, whatever it was damaged." Say, "Okay, I'm so sorry to hear that, Mary. Can you please send me your full name and email? Okay. We have that information. Great. Listen to start the return process, what you have to do is email [email protected] We're going to start that process for you. And I'm also going to be sure to send a message to our returns operations team so that they can look out for your email." So just adding that extra step, because this is how, again, I just try to connect these things in my mind when I have either good experiences or bad and how to incorporate them.

Let's just say the check-in example. When I was in Cancun, if the person from American Airlines, when they said, "Oh, the person at the desk can ping the person that has the middle seat." And if they said, "You know what, let me actually just get them on the Intercom right now." Whatever they use to communicate and let them know so that they're already aware of it. I would have personally felt much better about it. Then when I got to the desk and the person said, "What are you talking about? We don't do that." It wouldn't be this disconnect, right? It would just be handled in advance. So it's more about being proactive here. So in that live chat example, once we have their name and their email, if they want to issue a return, then we can tell them, "Okay, you do have to email in, because that's the process, but we can let them know. We're letting our returns team know to look out for their email."

And we are in Slack, our internal communications channel, letting them know, our returns team that, "Hey, Mary, with her email, whatever, [email protected] is going to be sending an email that says, she's looking to return an item." Right? So we're being proactive instead of letting things possibly slip through the cracks. Another example that I thought of for how we can incorporate this is when people call in, let's say they call a number on one of our stores and they say, "Hi, I placed an order, whatever. I don't know, a few days ago. And I'm wondering if you can let me know what the tracking status is." Now, what we have built into our stores is a section where people can type in their order number and it will show their tracking status.

So typically what we might say is, "If you go to, you can go there, you could type in your order number and it'll show you exactly where it is." And yeah, that's great because then they can track it in real time. They can track it over time to know where it is at different stages of delivery. But instead of just saying that instead of leaving them with, "Okay, let me go do that now." We can also quickly go ourselves to our, ask the person, what's your order number. We could type it in. We can let them know what the current status is. So they have that answer upfront, and then we can give them that link as well. So they can track it in the future. Again, just trying to be more proactive here, not making people go through extra steps and not letting things fall through the cracks. If they have to go through extra steps.

Because out of this whole trip, which is amazing, I'm grateful we were able to go somewhere. This whole past year, we went to Disney in December for my son's birthday, which was awesome. But this was our first international trip. Even though it was still only a two and a half hour flight, it was still an international trip. And the whole experience was amazing. Everything was just perfect, as perfect as it could be. But on the way back, those two things just left a really bad taste in my mouth that left a negative feeling towards both the American Airlines checking people and front desk person. And then with the whole Global Entry immigration process.

And just so everyone knows, everything is resolved. Everything's fine. I'm not complaining about anything. But what I am doing is looking for ways I can see how I could possibly look for weaknesses in our own businesses where our customers could possibly have similar experiences, or negative experiences where we might be passing the buck, passing the responsibility down the road, and not proactively following up. Then looking for ways to improve that, so our customers have better experiences. So those were a couple of things I'm looking at now in our companies. I'm sure more things will pop up over time. Something to think about in your own life and your own business, hopefully make improvements to keep customers happy. Keep them coming back, keep them buying and not leave them thinking, "This company wasted my time." Because nobody wants that. So that's going to do it for this episode, guys. I think on Thursday's episode, I'm going to talk about the process that I use for finishing up big projects, like we just wrapped with the brand new version of the Drop Ship Blueprint. So keep an eye out for that.

If you're not subscribed, be sure to hit the subscribe button. And if you're listening to this, and for some reason you are not a member of my program, the Drop Ship Blueprint, be sure to go to I will link that up in the podcast description, You can get a free training from me there, about how we build highly profitable semi-automated stores. And I make a special offer on the brand new version of the Drop Ship Blueprint. So check that out. Also, if you got value from this podcast, do me a favor, go to Apple Podcasts, leave a review, really appreciate that. And I read all of them. And with that being said, I'm going to sign off, hanging out with my family for a little bit. And I will be back on Thursday with a brand new episode of the podcast. See you everybody.