My wife purchased a lounge from a fairly upmarket furniture supplier.

As would be the case, a deposit was paid and an ETA [estimated time of arrival] and delivery day was scheduled for when the lounge would be delivered.

Hiccup Number 1.

The date of arrival of the lounge was pushed back by the lounge company, because they were short of some of the components needed to build the lounge… they said.

That’s the first fail: it should always be the other way around. The lounge company should strive to have the lounge completed and delivered EARLIER than originally planned, thus surprising and delighting their customer.

Any delivering later than initially suggested creates a severe disappointment.

Hiccup Number 2.

On the rescheduled delivery day, a Thursday, the delivery driver rang and said that he wasn’t going to be able to deliver the lounge because he was “behind in his deliveries” and someone else’s delivery had more priority.

His words.

So we asked for the lounge to be delivered the next day.

No. It would be delivered in seven days.

They do not deliver on Fridays, [the next day]. And so the delivery had to be rescheduled.

But….

There’s a mixture of stories about this day……

You see, the company initially gave us a window of four hours between 11am and 3 pm that they would be delivering the lounge. With this, we then asked them to phone in advance when they were arriving, as the person taking delivery, my son, was working from home on his computer [wearing headphones], and he would need to organise off street access for their truck through the garage entrance to the apartment block rather than the street entrance of the building, where parking is very limited.

Apparently the drivers failed to follow this instruction and [in their story] parked on the street and rang the front door intercom, which my son obviously did not hear because he was working. 

He did have his phone right there on his desk beside him…

That’s the second fail: Follow instructions so that all parties can fulfil their roles. And if that isn’t done then someone at the company needs to act quickly and take control.

It appears that the driver failed to contact the company AND the customer before driving off. [the company was given two phone numbers to call in advance].

Put simply, the company messed the customer around just because someone on their team messed up.

The lounge should have been delivered that day.

Not later.

Not the next day.

And not a week later.

Hiccup Number 3.

A week later the lounge is meant to be delivered between 10am and 1pm on the Thursday.

The delivery driver rings in advance [this time] to ask if we had some parts needed to assemble the lounge, which he did not have.

When we told him we did not, he said he would have to deliver the lounge another day.

My wife told him that this was not appropriate given the history of this job, and to go back to the warehouse and get the parts he needed.

Delivery was then rescheduled for 2pm to 5pm on that day.

Service fail: When you book the customer’s time, you need to value it.

Hiccup Number 4.

If you’re not going to deliver the lounge when you say you will, then it is probably wise not to send the client an email days prior to the [final] arrival of the lounge asking them how they are enjoying their new furniture?

Just because the lounge went onto the truck a week ago, doesn’t mean that the company should trigger a customer service email sequence if the darned thing never ended up being delivered.

Another service fail: Make sure that the people sending the emails are kept up to date about the status of various deliveries…

What’s the lesson here David?

If you run a company, make sure that all employees are clear about the company’s Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Core Values.

Every employee needs to be on the same page.

When you have one weak link, be it in your team member or in your processes, then the whole chain falls apart and your mission unravels.

Mission Statements, Vision Statements and Core Values need to be visited by the whole team on a regular basis for reinforcement, and are worthless I they are only at best, a plaque hanging on some wall in some room of your office.

You and your company and your team need to live and breathe your Mission and your Core values.

Talk is cheap.

Customers who appreciate your Mission are priceless.

Stuffing up your processes and devaluing your customers once you “have their order” is either incompetence or arrogance.

I’m not sure in this case if it was one or both.

Ultimately, it certainly was NOT a regal experience for the customer.

And that result, is a fail for the company.

Repeat business?

Probably not….

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