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How to deliver EXCEPTIONAL Customer Experience in E-commerce Returns

Written by Vivek Jaiswal | Co-founder, Customer Guru

How Flipkart replaced a faulty television to Delight a customer

Online retailers brought to us a luxury that none of us thought existed – shopping from the comforts of your couch. As comfortable it is to buy online, online shopping comes with its own issues: delayed delivery, faulty products, returns etc. Despite that, the e-commerce market is growing steadily, and leading e-commerce companies are trying their best to overcome those challenges while focusing aggressively on delivering great customer experience with every order.

Here is one such example of brilliant customer experience delivered by India’s leading online retailer: Flipkart.

Eight months ago Vikas – a close friend of mine – bought a Philips television from Flipkart. To his misfortune, a few months later the TV’s display went blank and would not come back to life despite repeated attempts. This started a journey that every customer hates – returning a faulty product to a virtual retail store that can only be reached on the phone, email, or social media. What differentiated Vikas’s journey was a personalised customer service simple social media interactions, all on his mobile phone!

Related Article: 6 Effective Tips to Improve Customer Experience on Mobile

As he noticed the defect, Vikas took to Twitter to seek help from Flipkart Customer Supporttweet1

Within no time, Flipkart responded to the tweet, to which Vikas elaborated his issue. And Flipkart instantly provided the contact details to the Philips customer support since the solution was not in their hands.




As directed, Vikas registered a complaint with Philips customer care and they promised to send tech support within a day. To his surprise, no one showed up the next day. “This kept happening for two weeks and in between, I registered two or three [complaint] tickets. Every time I followed up with them, I was told that the [complaint] ticket had been closed, without any action from Philips!” Vikas exclaims. He adds “Nobody from Philips even bothered to visit or call.

With no respite from Philips customer care, Vikas had to turn back to Flipkart Support. He tweeted Flipkart about the poor and unresponsive nature of Philips customer support. Again, the response from Flipkart was immediate.




One of the most frustrating things for customers is to repeat their problem all over again to every single representative they speak to. Therefore after several calls with Flipkart support, Vikas gave a feedback that Flipkart should maintain a record of every conversation instead of asking him to repeat every time. This feedback was immediately acted upon. Although a different customer care representative called him every time, each one knew the problem from the very beginning.

After repeated attempts to get Philips to take action, Flipkart decided to step in to help a customer in despair. Flipkart promised that it will get the Philips regional manager to speak with Vikas and, in no time, he was on a conference call with the Regional Manager of Philips. The Regional Manager guaranteed to take action regarding the problem within a day. But that too wasn’t followed through! Recognising Vikas’ vain attempts, Flipkart took matters into their own hands. It promised to take back the faulty TV and refund his money as soon as possible. Although the TV was under warranty, Vikas was faced with a dilemma because he didn’t have the original box in which the TV was delivered, and this was a mandatory clause in the warranty terms and conditions. However, understanding that it is unreasonable to expect a customer to retain the box after eight months of purchase, Flipkart gallantly agreed to take the TV back in any box Vikas could manage to pack it in. Furthermore, Flipkart displayed a sublime example of customer centricity by arranging a pickup as per Vikas’s convenience, showing up at the promised time and keeping him informed through the journey.

When it came to refunds, Flipkart again displayed a fantastic example of customer centricity. Receiving Vikas’s followup tweet regarding refund, he was immediately contacted by Flipkart support and the money hit his account by the time he was done with the support call!




I say, this is how you win a customer for life! Vikas is planning to buy a bigger brand-new TV – of a different brand- but from Flipkart.

What can online retailers learn from this?

Be responsive to your customers

Throughout the process, Flipkart customer service representatives were very courteous to Vikas and promptly called him at times that was convenient for him. Vikas’ experience, very markedly, shows us the effective response time that Flipkart representatives engage in, relative to Philips’ unresponsive customer service.

Even the simple act of keeping the promised call-back time builds trust for the brand.

Be prepared to take responsibility

Flipkart did not have to fret over a fault of Philips’s. Being an e-commerce enterprise, they didn’t have to directly face the brunt of Vikas’s crisis, unlike what would happen in a brick and mortar retail store. Yet, Flipkart customer representatives took up his problem as one of their own and searched for the most convenient and effective solution for him. While the company at fault – Philips – took the back seat and didn’t portray a lot of concern.

Being a retailer, your customers are buying products that are not yours. But taking responsibility for the products sold by you builds respect in the eyes of the customer.

Be omnipresent and help your customers in every possible way

Vikas’ decision to take to social media was effective due to the sole fact that Flipkart representatives are prepared to engage with their customers in every way possible. They were available and most importantly informed, whenever Vikas reached out to them. Flipkart even went the extra mile by facilitating reverse pick-up within two days, while it’s generally five days, to accommodate Vikas’s travel plans. If Philips did step up its devotion and engagement with their customers, maybe this predicament wouldn’t have occurred at all.

Read more on customer retention in e-commerce: 3 Amazing Customer Retention Tips from Zappos

Ultimately we see how much Flipkart values customer experience and the lengths they will go to, to keep a customer delighted. Today, not only has Flipkart gained a trusted customer, but it has also earned a promoter for its exceptional brand.

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