Nike customer support – I experienced a delight and frustration through communicating with them. Let me start with my delightful experience.
Nike fully refunded me for a badly damaged soccer cleats as a result of a normal use.
When I reported my damaged soccer cleats, their customer support chat person kindly walked me through the return process. Then she sent me a UPS shipping label, so that I can put my cleats in a box and drop it to a nearby UPS store.
When Nike received my cleats, they examined the damage, and gave me a refund in form of a voucher, admitting that the damage was due to a product’s defect, or a design flaw.
This is great and I truly respect their attitude and professionalism in terms of taking pride in producing a quality product, and care for their customers.
This is a delightful experience as a customer. No questions.
Now let’s move on to the frustrating part.
When I reported the damage of my soccer cleats, I had a new address because I moved since I purchased the cleats.
This caused a problem in their system because my old address was tied to my initial order that I placed when I was still in my old address.
For this reason, Nike initially sent me the refund voucher to my old address.
So I contacted Nike via a customer support chat again.
After a few back and forth conversation, she said that she had to escalate this to an Elite team. She also told me that I should be getting an email from the Elite team in a couple of days.
A few days later, I did receive an email from Nike saying that the voucher was successfully shipped to my new address.
At the end of the day, everything worked fine.
But to get there, it took a few days to finally get a confirmation that the problem was solved.
What went wrong? – building blocks
Let’s look at all the building blocks.
My original order record contained my old address.
Therefore, the return was triggered from this original order, which had my old address associated with. As a result, Nike’s system automatically pulled my old address and shipped a voucher to my old address.
But here are the things.
For this particular return, I already shipped my damaged cleats using UPS return label provided by Nike. The return label did have my new address with my name as a sender.
In my online account profile section, I already updated my address to a new one several months ago.
As a result, Nike already had my correct new address in two places.
Technically, this means Nike already had all the information about my latest address. It was just the matter of pulling the right address for this return.
It does not make sense that their return process had my new address for creating a return label, but used my old address for shipping a voucher.
Case study – system design flaw
It’s kind of frustrating as a customer. But it also makes an interesting case study of a system design, especially how to accommodate error cases.
And I can see that Nike staff tried their best to support me throughout the process which I respect.
But still, the fact that it did not work without an escalation suggests a system design flaw. Whenever such flaw surfaces, both customers and the company’s staff members suffer.
As UX designers, whenever we design a system, we want to be able to cover various error cases to prevent something like this to happen.
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