Delivering the goods… @waitrose

Starting a post with an apology  may not be the best way to engage with an audience however I feel that it’s required seeing as this post could be considered a first world gripe considering a) the problem and b) the supplier, but seeing as the service offered has deteriorated, the complaint is valid.

Everyone loves Waitrose! Great staff, ownership model, free coffee and a paper and great food. Yes, you may pay a little more for certain items but they price match with Tesco on essential items. Anyway, after their London delivery agreement with Ocado ended, Waitrose launched a home delivery service. And rather than charging for home delivery like other supermarkets, delivery was free if you spent a minimum of £50. And they’d deliver in hourly slots between 7am and 11pm. Super friendly drivers who were always pleasant and would always make a joke about lugging my groceries up three flights of stairs. What’s not to like? Nothing!

Except, things have changed. They increased the minimum order to £60 (which is fair enough for me but it could be prohibitive for those on tighter budgets) but the major gripe that I (and I presume many more people have) is changing the delivery slot window from one hour to two, and starting deliveries at 9am.

How inconvenient for me I hear you scream! Well, if you previously had your shopping delivered in the 7-8am window on a Saturday, you knew you’d have your shopping, and you breakfast delivered by 8am. And you could get on with your day and your weekend. With the new service window, it’s possible that you won’t receive your groceries until 11am. Which would be fine if it arrived by 11am – the three orders I’ve placed thus far have been late! So, realistically I can’t commit to doing anything on the day until at least noon.

Again, I accept that this may come across as a first world problem but Waitrose previously offered a service that worked and suited and have replaced it with a service that doesn’t.

I appreciate that they have made the changes for various reasons (maybe staffing? Cost?) however they have forgotten the motto that the customer is always right.

Businesses may need to change terms and conditions for various reasons but you’ve got to take your customers with you. If the service isn’t up to scratch, your customers will look elsewhere for your products. And it’ll cost you a lot more trying to win those customers back.

Think about it Waitrose!



Customer service…

Hands up if you live a busy life? Of course you do. We all do! Our time is precious. Whether it’s personal or professional; sometimes we feel that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Now, hands up if you’ve ever bought anything online and arrived home to find a card informing you that your order is sitting in the local post office collection depot. Or worse… an industrial estate in Acton. Depending on the size of your item you then either go and collect it, or arrange for it to be redelivered at a time convenient to you. But more often than not, you’ll find you have to pay a premium to have it delivered at some time outside of working hours. Quite simply, convenience costs.

So, unless you are prepared to pay  to have your item delivered on a Saturday morning, you have to take time off work – i.e. eating into your precious holiday time. But that could be minimised if the company that are delivering your package, use a tech savvy carrier that enables to you either specify the time of delivery to within an hour or track the delivery of your package. 

So, yesterday, I was due to have four radiators delivered by Fedex. I made sure I was home for the whole day as I wasn’t prepared to either have the radiators left outside the flat, or taken away for redelivery. After completing my order, I was offered a delivery date of Monday, and informed that I’d be able to log into the customer tracking system to track the progress of my order from dispatch to delivery. ‘Perfect!’ I thought. I can log into my account on the day, find out the progress of the delivery and be able to structure my day accordingly. However, when I logged into my account, around, I was informed that the radiators had left the depot, however I could expect delivery at some point before 5.30pm. Handy! I googled the address of the depot and discovered that it was around 5 miles from home. So, I picked up the phone and asked the helpful receptionist if they could give me any more information regarding my delivery. Unfortunately they could not. I’d just have to sit and wait until the delivery arrived.

In the end, I wasn’t waiting for the whole day as the delivery turned up shortly after noon. But that’s not the point. As a customer I felt utterly powerless and trapped.

In a digital age, this is appalling customer service.

In a way, I could understand were we talking about a small delivery firm. But we’re talking about Fedex – a firm with an astronomical marketing budget. Who track planes, trains and vans, to ensure that they know where their deliveries are. So, why can’t they give that information to customers? Now, I appreciate that there may be security issues of say, being able to see the exact location of the Fedex delivery van, however, as a customer I’d be satisfied if the tracker could tell me how far away the van was, and how many deliveries had to be made before the van reached me. Maybe not ideal to know that there are 25 deliveries before you and you won’t see your order for a few hours, but at least you’d know, rather than spending the day kicking your heels. If you buy your shopping online, you don’t sit around for the day, waiting for it to arrive. No,  you can specify hour time slots, and if there’s any delay, the driver will call you. Is it beyond Fedex to offer a service like this? 

Ultimately, the online tracker, or the app offered by Fedex may look great but they fail to solve the one problem that every customer wants to know… when will my package arrive?