Katherine - 24 th August 2016

Customers want to know that what they’re paying for is worthwhile.  This is where a customer puts trust in a brand to deliver what they expect, for the price they have paid.  Of course, a customer will often have to pay upfront, relying on the brand to fulfil their part of the deal.  Depending on the product or service, 99% of the time, a customer will hand over money, be relatively satisfied with the experience and then choose whether to repeat it or go elsewhere based on their experience.

But what happens if a customer wants to make a change? Something has occurred, it could be one of a huge number of things and the customer needs to alter something.  The process to subscribe, join and pay is usually incredibly easy.  For example, you can normally pay using a range of methods, everything from Mastercard to PayPal, you can pay on your app or on the website, you can pay monthly via direct debit or in one lump sum.  It can be all too easy for a brand to take money from a customer but is it as easy to refund it back, change your account details, change your subscription, cancel?

Take Virgin Trains who I tend to book directly with on journeys to London. Sometimes, for reasons that are not their fault, the trains are delayed.  Virgin are actually very proactive in informing customers that if your train has been delayed over 30 minutes, you can get a full refund automatically.  However, if circumstances change and you are no longer able to take your journey and want a refund, this is where their process is not aligned with the rest of the experience.  To cancel or change a ticket, you are charged £10 for the privilege and have to send the unused tickets off and can receive paper vouchers in return, which can only be used to buy more tickets at a station…but hang on, I purchased my ticket online, so why shouldn’t I be able to resolve this in the same channel, the one that is convenient for me?

The consumer knows that not everything goes smoothly but it’s how a brand deals with it that’s important.  Get these brand basics right and you’re half way there:

  • Empower the customer to resolve some issues themselves.  (E.g.  Changing account details, updating addresses, updating payment methods.)

  • If they choose to seek help from a brand, make it easy and quick to navigate to the type of help they need in the channel they want

  • Ensure you have helpful, friendly, empowered agents who can resolve issues efficiently 


As a Senior CX Strategist, Katherine enjoys moderating research and facilitating collaborative workshops to provide clients with essential insight for the development of their brands. Previous management roles at McDonald’s and Marks & Spencer mean that Katherine’s passion and expertise is rooted in retail and hospitality. 
Find out more about Katherine