I know it’s a busy time of year. For everyone.
It’s busy for retailers; they want to be as busy as possible.
It’s busy for delivery companies; they are groaning under the weight of packages to deliver. Perhaps more delivery companies should invest in magical Santa sleighs?
So, with all that in mind, this is the tale of two deliveries, that happen to be trying to occur at this busy time of year.
Bad delivery service
It started out great enough. A piece of furniture was purchased and I paid for home delivery.
The furniture was collected from the merchant within one business day. I was promised delivery the next day. And yes, you guessed it – it didn’t arrive.
It didn’t arrive for 10 days. The merchant is a whopping 4.9km from my house. I’ve been able to move an entire house of furniture across the country in less time.
In locating, and eventually receiving the furniture, I fought with the PABX system from hell, a completely broken online tracking system and about 15 very confused staff.
I was repeatedly told “it’s a busy time of year, it is taking longer than normal to deliver things.” Which is true, but it should not be my problem.
The exact opposite
On another order, the item arrived broken. A replacement was sent.
Unfortunately, this one also arrived broken.
The third package arrived, intact, with extra packing and care to ensure the fragile glass did not break.
The company representative has been immensely helpful, and extremely apologetic about the breakages, even though it was beyond their control.
And, for the inconvenience it has caused me, I was given the choice of a new product to receive to say thanks for my patience.
See, now, that’s customer service.
That’s being remarkable, because it wasn’t something I was expecting.
Even though this company is also experiencing its own version of Christmas mayhem, it didn’t over look me, a single customer.
So, after the joy of two complex home deliveries, here are some tips for companies delivering items this Christmas season.
Five ways to not be a jerk at customer service
1. Have systems that work
It seems blindingly obvious that in the first situation, the large, national courier service survives despite the systems it has in place.
If the staff can’t see what’s going on with an order, if there is no record of previous conversations, internal codes were used that staff didn’t understand. If this happens, then your customers are going to be annoyed. Very annoyed.
With the second company, its system showed every conversation. There was no retelling of the situation to date, no further explanation was required. Joy!
2. Empower your staff
The first company has staff who are working blind. For eight days my order was ‘in the warehouse’. The staff didn’t know where it was, and could give me no indication of when delivery would occur. They were powerless to help me, and became almost as frustrated as I was with the situation.
In the second situation, not only could replacement products be ordered, but after the second breakage, the staff member I was dealing with personally packed a replacement item for me. And, they had the authority to offer the gift for ‘being understanding’.
3. Apologise if you stuff up
I’m angry about the furniture non-delivery. At no point has anyone within the company said sorry. And, I spoke to 15 people trying to resolve the situation.
Acknowledgement of when you stuff up goes a long way to make a customer feel less angry.
I wasn’t angry at all with the second company. I was annoyed that the shipping company seemed to be inept at carrying a box, but never angry at the supplier. And, the company representative has apologised for something beyond its control, and made retribution as well.
4. Choose your delivery partner wisely
The furniture merchant failed to respond to my requests to help find my shipment and get it delivered. It could arrange for a new item to be delivered to me by another company. It could hassle the courier. Much could be done, and yet, it is doing nothing.
So, it is now tarred with the same brush for picking such a rubbish courier service, and then failing to act when it does not deliver.
The second company, replaced their courier service for the third delivery. This is probably why the third shipment made it to me intact. This is now its new, preferred courier service.
5. Completing the transaction
As a company you are judged not only by how your staff respond in these situations, but also by any third party company that is involved to finalise the transaction.
The transaction does not end when the payment is made, or the money is cleared in the company bank account.
The transaction is only complete when the goods are delivered to the customer, and the customer is happy.
Not a moment before.