It honestly frustrates me when companies completely fail to understand their customers at a fundamental level.
Today, its +Scan Computers International Ltd
that have me banging my head against a wall.
I buy quite a lot of stuff from Scan on a pretty regular basis. Its not because they have a better range or better prices than their competitors, but rather simply because they clearly offer better delivery options for me than most others. For a not entirely inconsiderable extra amount they offer next day delivery before 10 am.
Considering that most of you who have me in circles are, like myself, people who work online, I'm sure you really appreciate immediately what that is worth. Its not the speed alone, its the fact that by 10 am I can stop waiting on the delivery and get back to work.
The first few times I bought from Scan, the delivery was like magic. First thing in the working day at about 8:30 am I would get a text saying it was due, and right away it arrived. 9 am, delivery done, and I could get on with my day.
The last couple of times though, this changed. The delivery arrived once at the last moment of the set time, and once late, past time, so that I suddenly had to wait extra time and cancel appointments I should have had time for.
Today, I get a last-minute email telling me that the delivery I ordered on Sunday for delivery on Tuesday morning before 10 am has been delayed.
Here's how they break the news that my work day is now screwed up and I may have to cancel other appointments and business meetings worth thousands of pounds to my business:
"Re:Delayed Order Notification
Thank you for your order from Scan.
Please regard this email as a notification of delay in your order due to unexpected volumes in our warehouse. Please rest assured your custom is greatly valued and we will process your order with the utmost urgency. Your order has still been booked for a next working day delivery from the point of despatch and we will send further emails to confirm this.
Should you require any further information or assistance, or wish to make any amendments to your order, please reply to this email or alternatively contact our Customer support team on 0871 472 4747.
We apologise for the delay and thank you for your patience."
It was the very last line of the notification before they even bothered to apologise.
Now, I don't need to tell you guys how important good customer service is to success in this networked age where any customer can share their experiences and frustrations online.
The lesson I'm hoping to get people to think about is in what I wrote in reply to Scan.
" The entire reason I choose Scan is that you offer me such delivery options (before 10 am) so that I don't have to take a whole morning off of work waiting for a delivery. Therefore, when you fail to honour this agreement (fixed delivery times I pay extra for), you don't just inconvenience me - you take away the entire reason that I choose to shop with Scan."
Its not that I paid for an added service I did not receive and which Scan have not even thought to offer to refund.
It isn't that a delay in delivery can mean me taking extra time to be at home instead of out at meetings or providing consultancy, and can potentially cost me thousands of pounds, and almost certainly will cost me hundreds.
Its that the one reason I chose Scan in the first place was because they so clearly offered the promise that this would not happen. No waiting around all day for a delivery with no fixed time. No "we can only say morning or afternoon" vaguery.
When Scan make that entire promise and premise a nonsense, a lie, they take away the one thing that made me chose them. If that 10 am promise is not reliable, what the heck am I shopping with them for?
Understand that sometimes, the ability to know exactly, to the hour, when a delivery will arrive, allowing busy working people to have something delivered during a lunchbreak, or with just a minimal delay in starting their working day, is something they not only pay extra for. It can often be the most important part of their decision in whom to buy from.