Sunday, August 14, 2016

This Online Customer Experience Was Anything But Sweet

I visited an online store recently to make a purchase. The store sells sweets: brownies, cakes, and cookies. The store is also part of a large group of online stores where you can purchase everything except the moon: fruit, flowers, popcorn, muffins, steaks, cheese, caramel apples, and more. 

On this occasion, I simply wanted to purchase something called a Cookie Card, a buttercream cookie and a greeting card. I made the online purchase and provided my friend's address where I wanted the cookie card to be delivered and assumed everything was done.

About three weeks later, when I wondered if the cookie was as delicious as advertised, I asked my friend about the cookie and was surprised to learn that it had never arrived. Disappointed, since I had thought the gift was a great idea and wanted it to arrive in a timely manner, I called the online store.

The first customer service rep I spoke with was extremely rude. You would have thought I was bothering her by calling her during HER WORK DAY. She asked me to repeat my order number several times, because she was clearly not paying attention to me, the customer. Finally, she said that my order was lost. Then, she said that the specific cookie and card that I had ordered were no longer available. She asked me what I wanted to do. I had to go online while I was on the phone (I had not been near my computer or an Internet connection when I made the call) and search through other Cookie Card options. Why couldn’t the rep offer any suggestions? Additionally, even if the company had not been responsible for losing the item, where was the apology, or even better, the statement equivalent to "Let me make this right because we value your business."

I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told, “You will be given the same information.” What information? The rep had not offered to do anything to resolve the lost cookie situation. Since the standard “this call may be monitored for training purposes” had been heard before the customer service rep initially came on the line, I hoped someone would hear my request for a supervisor – that I made three times! At long last, I was transferred to another rep. I explained that my order was lost and asked for another order to be placed immediately.

Once the discussion was over, the new Cookie Card chosen, and the order was placed, I voiced my concern about the first rep, and the second rep apologized and offered to send me a $20 gift card via email. I thanked her but was uncertain if I would ever use it.

Two weeks passed, and I did not receive the gift card. While I may not have used it, the fact that it was promised and did not arrive provided further proof that this company doesn’t care about its customers and repeat business.

So I called customer service again and asked about the status of the gift card. The day after I called, I received an email with a $15 gift discount code, however, it had a date that had already expired – not exactly how I would create repeat business.

I wondered what this company’s leadership team thinks about the importance of repeat business. Upon review of its website, I learned that its mission is to "provide the finest freshly-baked gifts and desserts for all of life’s moments, delivered with warmth and backed by our guarantee of excellence."

It would seem that the marketing/PR team and the leadership team are definitely NOT on the same page. All the proof you need is to read a little more: the company states its promises to customers:
•    Delicious cookies and freshly-baked goods
•    Only the highest quality standards
•    Friendly service focused on excellence
•    Trustworthy, dependable products and services
•    Unique gift ideas and exclusive packaging
•    The strongest guarantee in the business

If I experienced "friendly service focused on excellence" and the “strongest guarantee in the business,” then certainly there’s work to be done!

Can you guess the company? Tweet me @DebbieLaskeyMBA with the hashtag #servicefail.

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