This is a simple story of an online purchase that went well despite a problem. The fact that this is sufficiently rare to make me want to write about it is sad, but that’s how it is.
What happened was, I need a new computer monitor, knew the one I wanted, and the manufacturer’s web site suggested CDW as a reseller. Turns out CDW has a decent web-site that let me track it down despite some fuzziness about the model designation, the price was reasonable, and in fact had two of them sitting in a warehouse in a nearby suburb. Score one for super-efficient interaction design. So I placed my order.
The next evening it hadn’t shown up, so I went back to the web-site and it was easy enough to find my order, marked “Not shipped”. Also on the your-order page was a title saying “Need help?” with a picture of a gentleman named Dwayne, along with his phone and fax numbers and an “E-Mail Dwayne” link.
Since it was after hours, I hit the link and it popped up a nice little email form with the order and tracking numbers filled in, “Dear Dwayne” at the top, and “Thanks, Tim” at the bottom. I filled in an inquiry and fired it off.
The next morning, Dwayne called me, saying the bank had bounced my credit card, wanted to make sure I had the number and address and so on right, we checked them, said he’d try again. A few minutes later he called back saying the bank wouldn’t budge, wouldn’t say why, could I call them.
So I called the number on my credit card and discovered that I’d screwed up (or maybe CDW had, who cares, it happens) the card expiry date. I grumbled that neither the bank nor CDW had called me proactively and she explained that online computer shopping is very fraud-heavy, and they assume any problem is most likely the symptom of some bad guy at work.
Anyhow, since it was after Dwayne’s quitting time, I hit the email link again with the revised date, and had an answer in my inbox like ten minutes later, he must have been working late; the screen’s on the way, they say.
I have to say I was astounded, first of all, that there was a responsive, intelligent person easily accessible to help me, and second, how much difference it made having the guy’s picture there. I know it’s silly, but it’s easier to talk to somebody when you know what they look like.