#61 Nike customer support – delight and frustration

Nike customer support – I experienced a delight and frustration through communicating with them. Let me start with my delightful experience.


Delightful

Nike fully refunded me for a badly damaged soccer cleats as a result of a normal use.

An illustration showing a Nike customer support giving the author a refund voucher, the author getting excited.

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.

An illustration showing Nike customer support chat person kindly walking the author through the return process, including emailing a UPS return label.

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.

Nike customer support who received the author's soccer cleats examining it.

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.

The author showing respect to Nike's professionalism and care for customers.

This is a delightful experience as a customer. No questions.


Frustrating part

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.

Illustrative diagram showing that Nike  customer support initially sent me the refund voucher to my old address.

So I contacted Nike via a customer support chat again.

The author contacted Nike customer support again, and explained what happened.

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.

Nike customer support chat person escalating the case to the elite team.

A few days later, I did receive an email from Nike saying that the voucher was successfully shipped to my new address.

The author receiving an email from Nike customer support elite team saying that the refund voucher was 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.

A diagram showing that it took a few days for the Nike customer support  to solve this incident.

What went wrong? – building blocks

Let’s look at all the building blocks.

My original order record contained my old address.

A diagram showing that my original order record was attached to 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.

A diagram showing that the return was triggered from my initial order tied to my old address, therefore Nike customer support initially shipped the refund voucher to the author's 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.

An illustration of the author dropping the returning product at UPS, with a return label provided by Nike customer support with the new address.

In my online account profile section, I already updated my address to a new one several months ago.

An illustration showing that the author updated his address on his Nike.com online account 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.

An illustration showing Nike customer support wondering which address to choose, the author's old address or the new address. The author getting frustrated observing it.

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.

An illustration showing that Nike customer support is using the author's new address for creating a return label, while using the author's old address for shipping he 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.

An illustration of the author pointing out that this is an interesting case study of system design, considering various error cases.

And I can see that Nike staff tried their best to support me throughout the process which I respect.

An illustration showing that Nike customer support staffs tried their best throughout the process, and the author is showing respect to that.

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.

An illustration of a  system design flaw depicted as a monster stomping on a customer and staff members.

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.

An illustration of a UX designer thinking through system design with various error cases.

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