The Crucial Disconnect – Bridging the Gap Between Online Sellers and After Sales Service

– Basant Bakshi –

The transactional dance between buyers and sellers is a symphony of clicks and confirmations in the busy world of e-commerce, where the virtual shelves are stocked with a limitless diversity of goods and services. However, a worrisome story of disregard and apathy towards after-sales service exists among the accessibility and convenience, casting doubt on the quality of the customer experience.

Imagine the thrill of finally opening a much-anticipated purchase to find a bug or defect that needs to be fixed. Buoyed by the prospect of a prompt resolution, you contact the vendor, only to encounter apathy or silence. This story of unhappy customers is unfortunately not unique; it appears on internet forums from Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu.

In Nepal, where e-commerce is rapidly expanding, stories of excellent pre-sales involvement frequently fall flat because of post-purchase indifference. It raises the challenge of how to balance the need to serve with the desire to sell.

This puzzle stems from a basic misinterpretation of what commerce is all about. Transactional encounters sow the seeds of long-term relationships rather than being only trades of things for money. However, it appears that a lot of sellers ignore this tenet, viewing each sale as a conclusion as opposed to a beginning.
There is a clear contrast between how quickly merchants reply to your early questions and how sluggish they are in later exchanges. It is a story of two speeds: the hustle to close a deal and the sluggishness to settle complaints. Such indifference is a dangerous gamble in this digital age where attention spans are short and alternatives abound.

The distinction between business and personal engagement has also become hazier due to the emergence of social media as a marketplace. However, some merchants answer rudely or, worse, with silence, as though they are unaware of the protocol of online communication. It serves as a sobering reminder that there is a human being behind every screen who deserves respect and thoughtfulness.

The takeaway for vendors is evident: the journey does not end at the register. It is the responsibility of businesses to provide exceptional after-sales service in order to cultivate and maintain their consumers’ trust. Every encounter is a chance to strengthen loyalty and goodwill, building the groundwork for long-term patronage.
Similarly, for consumers, vigilance is key. While the allure of a flashy advertisement or a tempting discount may be irresistible, it is essential to scrutinise the calibre of after-sales support offered by sellers. In the digital marketplace, transparency and accountability are currencies of equal value to cash.

In conclusion, the tale of online commerce in Nepal, and indeed globally, is a tale of two halves: the thrill of acquisition and the test of retention. To thrive in this dynamic ecosystem, sellers must embrace the ethos of service with the same fervor as they pursue sales. Likewise, consumers must demand nothing less than excellence at every stage of the transaction. Only then can the promise of e-commerce truly be realised, enriching lives and livelihoods alike.

(Bakshi is head of marketing, liabilities, branding, corporate Affairs in Mahalaxmi Bikas Bank)

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