Addressing a Serious Issue

 

So…

if I was to name the most annoying or frustrating part about having an online website/store it would actually be pretty easy because here’s the deal… I love almost everything about about running our business! Which makes the most annoying thing a fairly obvious choice for me, and that would be—

Incorrect or Incomplete Address Information!

Now at first glance you might think that a problem of this sort would only be a rare or at worst an occasional problem, but I’m here to tell you that this is an issue that happens on a regular basis for us! As a matter of fact, issues revolving around various types of incomplete addresses are becoming more and MORE frequent of late. Last week for example, SEVEN orders were flagged for different variations of at least one (sometimes more) of the following issues!

  • no last name
  • no first name
  • no name at all
  • no number (be it a house, route or POBox)
  • no street address at all
  • no city
  • no state
  • no postal code
  • the wrong postal code

Sometimes we can tell right away that there’s something missing because after all, a hole is easy to spot, but other times we don’t know there’s an issue until we try to put postage on a package and the mailing software flags the address as incorrect. I have to admit that it’s amazing to me that SO many people make SO many mistakes on their own address information. And here’s the deal… when the address provided is incorrect we have to stop what we’re doing and try to contact that individual. But that should be easy, right? All we have to do is write to them via the email address they’ve provided, or call them on the phone number THEY provided.

Right?

WRONG!

The thing that makes this situation SO frustrating is that over 75% of the time that we try to contact individuals via email they just… never… answer us! WHY???? Does this mean our customers don’t check their email, or that they’re deliberately giving us a bogus email to avoid spam? Who knows? Unbelievably, the email bounces back to us over 25% of the time… sometimes because the customers inbox is full and sometimes because the email address was either spelled wrong or was bogus to begin with and sometimes folks just never answer us… who knows why! (And yes, this has gotten so annoying that I DO keep records!)

So you might be thinking that surely we get better results by phone, right? The answer would be yes, but just barely because very rarely does anyone answer the phone, and when we leave a message it can sometimes take 2-4 days to get an answer, if at ALL! (And by the way… 25% of the time the phone number is either wrong, or voice mail box is full!) Grrrrr! Just last week one customer gave us a wrong zip code (ALL FIVE DIGITS were wrong as well as the phone number was wrong. The man who answered the phone swore he’d never heard of this customer!)

And here’s the deal… the address thing isn’t the only mistake going on because there’s a whole lot of item/order duplication happening too! Gosh, just last week a customer sent me 4 orders in quick succession… all of them were exactly the same! WHAT? Now considering that customers always get an email confirmation for EVERY order they place, wouldn’t you think this customer would have noticed there was a problem when she received FOUR confirmation emails in her Inboxr4? Evidently not, but no surprise there! At least this particular customer answered her phone call on the first try!

Moral of the story: Always double-check your order and read thru the address information you supply when you order things on the Internet.

First off, not everyone will take the time to check on things like this before shipping orders off into the wild blue yonder. But secondly and perhaps more importantly, look at it this way… I can spend my time tracking down the information that I need to process our online orders, or I can spend it creating fun stuff for YOU to make! I don’t know about you… but I know which I would rather be doing!

And now…. it’s YOUR turn!

I’d love to know if you have any ideas as to why the instances of misinformation on our online orders seems to be increasing at an alarming rate in the last year or so. If i could figure out why its happening, maybe we could take steps to alleviate some of it?  And remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.

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8 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. darlene erickson

    When zip codes first came out there were to represent the state and city – therefore it is redundant to have to list the city and state when the zip code is listed – how many postal workers know this???

    • my ZIP code encompasses more than one city or town. I am sure that it’s helpful for the postal workers to have the city in the body of the address.

    • Most of the postal workers I have run across (and thats a lot) will simply not even try to deliver without a full address. which includes first & last name, street address, city, state and correct zip code. They send it back to me (by way of Albuquerque) if anything is left out or is listed wrongly.

  2. I have a couple of thoughts about this that may or may not be helpful. It’s been a few months since I’ve made an order with you, Kathy, so I don’t remember how your order form works (BTW, I have never had a problem ordering with you), but does your form REQUIRE complete shipping information? In other words, is the form written so that if certain fields aren’t completed, an error message pops up and says, for example, “You must enter a state” (or whatever). The second thing I thought of, thanks to my grandchildren, is texting is the thing these days, it seems. Email and phone calls are out of style. I don’t know how this would work, but could you ask a question, like “May we text you if we have problems with your order?” … followed by a Y and and N field, and then make one or the other of these fields mandatory? Or some variation on that theme. As for phone calls, I, for one, do not answer calls when the calling party is not in my contact list, due to all those robocalls. Just some things to think about. Yep, running your own business has annoyances. Hope you can find a way to get some of these resolved. The time you spend eats away at your business purpose, and WE (your fans) want you designing and creating the next fantastic thing!!!! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comments Sue. We only have so much control over our payment platform and I wish I had more say in how things were done. And i get what you’re says about phone calls from numbers I dont recognize, however we always leave messages on phone calls as well as emails and I just dont see why they dont at least listen to the beginning of the phone message prior to deleting it. 🙁

  3. I have to agree that it would help if your order form would not go through until it is filled out completely. I have been redirected to fill out some info more than once. Of course I blame this on my computer, not my own carelessness–ha–but it happens. Using fake info is much harder to understand. Maybe they are hacking someone else’s card and got it wrong???

    I’m curious–when you can’t fill an order due to incomplete or incorrect information, doesn’t the customer ever follow through by contacting you to see why the order was not received? Good luck solving this problem.

  4. I think part of the problem is because people are using their phones to order and fill out forms instead of their computer with a full sized keyboard. If I have something official, I use my computer because my big fat fingers can’t type accurately on my phone.

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