Broken Promises: the easiest way to destroy the Customer Experience!

broken promises

When it comes to the subject of Customer Experience, there is one thing I can say with absolute certainty – if you make a promise or a commitment to a customer, you had better keep it! Telling a customer you are going to do something is as good as making a solemn vow. Making a commitment is like creating a stone carving, or signing a document with blood!

Organisations promise to do things for customers every single day. The most common promise to be made is the delivery of something you have purchased. The majority of the time these promises are fulfilled. The thing about customer promises is that as a customer, we TAKE THEM AS GIVEN! Customers just EXPECT that if someone makes a promise, that promise will be fulfilled – end of story. It is very unlikely a customer will ever contact you to congratulate you on fulfilling a promise! HOWEVER, fail to meet a promise can be catastrophic – failing to do what customers consider to be a BASIC, is the easiest way to destroy the Customer Experience.

We have all experienced broken promises. It is annoying, frustrating, time consuming and irritating. Broken promises are likely to lead a customer remember the experience for the wrong reasons. This is why it is so important for all organisations to have a very clear understanding of their customer journey(s) and their ability to fulfill the promises made throughout them.

In this post, I want to share with you the reality of what actually happens when a promise is broken. I am very grateful to Nick Jeffs for allowing me to share the story you are about to read – it is so bad, it is almost comical. What makes his experience so sad, is that it is not unusual for this kind of thing to happen – I am sure that many of you will be able to empathise with him.

casafina

Nick’s story is about a purchase he made with online retailer, Casafina.com – if you have not heard of them before, they say that they are the following:

“Casafina helps make the magic that brings a home to life”
Casafina is a new shopping destination for your home. Each day new sales go live at 7am and last for 72 hours, featuring leading brands and themed sales curated to your individual taste. Casafina members access exclusive savings plus daily style inspiration.

Sounds good – good enough for Nick to place an order with them for around £950 of products at the beginning of September 2015. Enjoy (or not) what happened next:


Nicholas Jeffs on Sep 21, 11:17 AM
================
Thank you for accepting my LinkedIn request.

I wanted to bring to your attention my recent customer “experience” with Casafina in the hope you can provide a solution for me.

I placed an order (CA68384) for circa £950, my partner called your company to arrange delivery and was told it would be split into two separate delivery dates – Friday the 11th of September and Friday the 18th.

We then purchased an additional item online (CA69453) and called to add this to the delivery and were told it would be delivered on the 11th. The item was then attempted for delivery on Tuesday the 8th of September. Of course no one was home we had to call and arrange for a second time for the item to be added to the delivery for the 11th.

On the 11th the delivery came but two of the main items that were promised for delivery (dining chairs) where missing. Called to see where they were and was told they were not ready and would now be added to the delivery on the 18th. We had no call or email to say they would not be delivered.

On Friday the 18th of September I took the day off work to take delivery of the items, I am self employed on a daily rate so I lost a days income to take the delivery. I received no notification from the delivery company as to a window for the delivery (normally they text etc to say they will delivery between certain times). By 2pm I still had not heard anything so called Casafina, a customer service team member said they would chase the delivery company for me and call me back. At 4pm I called your team again as I had not heard anything back. Your customer service team assured me the delivery would be with me between 5pm and 6pm. I asked for this to be confirmed as I was conscious your store closed at circa 6pm and was promised the delivery would be with me. At 5:45pm I still had not received my order or any communication so I called your store again and you were closed for the weekend.

Needless to say I have still not received my order, any communication from the delivery company or any communication from your company. My partner called your service team today who said they had “no idea” where the delivery was and they would look into it? I still have not heard anything.

Can you please advise of next steps, as I feel the level of service is unacceptable and given the fact I have lost a day’s wages for a delivery that never happened you can appreciate my disappointment.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Nick

This was the response that Nick received:

Ben Baggett on Sep 21, 3:23 PM
================
Hi Nick,

Thank you for your message.

I am really sorry to hear about the experience you have had. I am working off site this week and so will not be much help at this time.

I can see that your partner spoke to our team on the phone today but I have asked my Team Leader to check that this is properly resolved and get in touch with you to confirm.

I will be looking into your order history to see what went so wrong and what needs to be done to fix it when I am back in the office.

Kind regards,

Ben

Hmmm – not the kind of response you want when promises are being broken – Nick wrote back to Ben:

Nicholas Jeffs on Sep 21, 3:37 PM
================
Ben

I just got of the phone to your TL, issue is still not resolved and the information he gave me regarding the items never actually being available for delivery is disappointing given the financial cost to me in making myself available for the delivery on Friday. Your TL said a member of the team will be in touch with me on Thursday to discuss the next steps.

I appreciate your quick response and look forward to a solution being provided.

Nick

The situation seemed to be getting worse…. not better – it continues:

Ben Baggett on Sep 24, 11:57 AM
================
Hi Nick,

Thank you for your patience with this order. We promised you an update today and have tried to call but couldn’t get through so thought I would update you here.

Our warehouse have confirmed that the canvas art is due to arrive into the warehouse today and our suppliers have been in touch to advise they are delivering this evening.

The nest of tables is currently due into our warehouse on 30/09 and our suppliers have booked the delivery in with our warehouse for the afternoon of that date.

Would you prefer us to send the canvas art on ahead if that’s arriving into us earlier or would you like it all delivered together once that nest of tables arrives as well?

Kind regards,

Ben

I would love to be able to tell you that this story is make believe….. but I cannot not!! This actually happened. Nick refuses to be beaten:

Nicholas Jeffs on Sep 24, 1:11 PM
================
Hi Ben

Thank you for your note.

I would like all my items delivered at once as originally agreed with Casafina.

Also there is not mention in your email regarding the other items from my order? Can you please advise.

Kind Regards

Nick

The beleaguered Ben tries to keep Nick informed of the latest situation:

Ben Baggett on Sep 24, 2:52 PM
================
Hi Nick,

Ok, thanks for letting me know. In which case I will give you an update on all the items on 01/10, the day after the last bit of stock is due.

The other items not mentioned are coming to you directly from our supplier and not via our warehouse. Our suppliers have advised stock for those (the Venus Bust and dining chairs) will be available by the end of this week. I will ask them to hold dispatch of those for now so that we can try to get those delivered on the same day as the items coming from our warehouse.

Kind regards,

Ben

Nick responds again:

Nicholas Jeffs on Sep 24, 3:18 PM
================
Thanks Ben

So the earliest delivery date for all the items in one delivery is next Friday perhaps even later, which in essence is over 3 weeks from my original delivery date. I appreciate this is not individually your fault and of course I appreciate your assistance in dealing with this, however I’m sure you would agree the prolonged delivery dates, miss guiding information given by Casafina on 3 occasions and the loss of earnings incurred as a result are unacceptable. Can you please advise of what will be offered by way of compensation against my order?

Kind Regards

Nick

At least Ben now seems to be in agreement with Nick’s assessment of the situation:

Ben Baggett on Sep 24, 4:11 PM
================
Hi Nick,

Yes, I am afraid that is the case. Obviously we are really sorry about the delay and are doing everything we can to get the goods to you as quickly as possible.

We will of course look into a partial refund for you to apologise for the delay, but only once your order is complete. This is the only point at which we have an insight into the full order history and exactly how long you have waited for the order to be fulfilled.

I will keep you updated on stock arrival and a delivery date.

Kind regards,

Ben

Unbelievably, things go from bad to worse:

Nicholas Jeffs on Sep 29, 12:16 PM
================
Hi Ben

My partner has now received a text saying the bust head will be delivered tomorrow – as previously discussed I want all the items together at an agreed date.

My partner is an air hostess so out of the country most of the week and my neighbour has Alzheimer’s so cannot take delivery of items.

Can you please advise.

Nick

Are you keeping up with this? Farcical is an understatement:

Ben Baggett on Sep 30, 12:41 PM
================
Hi Nick,

Sorry for the delay coming back to you.

The bust head and dining chairs were both due to come to you directly from our supplier and I did ask them to hold delivery of these items until we had a delivery date for the rest of the goods. Unfortunately they did not do this and shipped the bust head which is on its way. I have emailed our delivery team to see if they can stop the delivery and hold it for now. The dining chairs are coming from the same supplier but they did not ship these and they have now advised the chairs will not be available to send until mid November due to a problem in the supply chain. I am sorry, they had not told us about this previously.

The canvas art is in stock in our warehouse and currently held until the nest of tables arrive, these are due in stock later today.

Would you like me to arrange for the bust head, canvas art and nest of tables to be delivered together (once we have confirmed receipt of the nest of tables) and the chairs can follow?

Kind regards,

Ben

I think if I were Nick, I would have thrown in the towel by now – this is how he responded this time:

Nicholas Jeffs on Sep 30, 1:20 PM
================
Hi Ben

Do you agree that the level of service is unacceptable? My agreement and purchase is with Casafina not your supplier. To now be told that the main bulk of my items, the dinning chairs, will not be delivered until 2 months after the originally agreed date is a joke? Also there is no guarantee they will be with me then.

I would like the mentioned items delivered together (bust, canvas and tables) however I think now is the time to discuss compensation against my order and the loss of earnings I incurred for a delivery that never happened.

This has been easily one of the worst customer experiences I have encountered.

Despite this, the promises keep getting broken:

Ben Baggett on Oct 1, 8:50 PM
================
Hi Nick,

I absolutely agree that the service you have received is unacceptable and I am in no way blaming our supplier for the problems you are having, I am merely being open and honest and letting you know what’s gone wrong and where we are up to. Your contract of sale is with us and so we take full responsibility for the issues currently being faced. Unfortunately the date for the dining chairs is not a joke.

I also have to unfortunately report that the nest of tables did not arrive into stock yesterday as planned. We are currently waiting for a reason why from our suppliers, as well as a new date for delivery into our warehouse.

Based on your need for delivery of the goods all together, I will hold the items we currently have for now and let you know once I have some information regarding the nest of tables. Hopefully I will have an update tomorrow.

I do not expect you to wait until the dining chairs arrive to discuss a partial refund but I do want more information on the nest of tables first.

Sorry for the continued delays.

Kind regards,

Ben

Ben’s misery continues:

Ben Baggett on Oct 7, 1:02 PM
================
Hi Nick,

Sorry for the delay in updating you. We have been trying to get information regarding the nest of tables and only just had a response from our suppliers.

Our suppliers have reported that the original set they sent that were due last week have been lost by their carriers. A replacement has been dispatched today and is due into our warehouse on Friday. I will update you on Friday to confirm its arrived.

Sorry for the continued delays.

Kind regards,

Ben

It is astonishing how one broken promise spirals so badly out of control. Today, the 14th October, Nick sent me the transcript of the continuing experience:

Ben

==========
Hi Nick, Good news, the nest of tables arrived yesterday. This means we have the nest of tables, canvas art and bust ready to deliver. What day next week are you available for delivery? I can do Wednesday onwards. Kind regards, Ben
5:09 PM
Nicholas

==========
Hi Ben – can we arrange for Friday? Cheers Nick
5:52 PM
Nicholas

==========
Ben – can you confirm Friday?
9:29 AM
Ben

==========
Good morning Nick, Sorry for the delay coming back to you. I have been off work due to personal reasons for the last few days. Firstly, just an update with your order. In my absence, things haven’t gone well: 1) The canvas prints- Were dispatched in error by one of the warehouse team. They have been delivered and left at house number 109. 2.) The venus bust- Has been inspected pre dispatched and is damaged, we need to order a replacement. Lead time is 1-2 weeks, shall I order it? 3) The nest of tables- Set for delivery Friday. 4) The chairs- Stock is due mid November currently. I am really sorry. Let me know what you want to do about the bust and chairs. More than happy to discuss a goodwill gesture but whether you are waiting for the chairs and bust or not will make a difference to the offer. Kind regards, Ben
10:46 AM
Nicholas

==========
Ben This is ridiculous, I have checked with the neighbor and they have not received anything and please bear in mind that I am number 95 so 109 is what 7 doors down – so your delivery driver went 7 doors down to leave the package with a neighbor? I am sure we would both agree this is highly unlikely wouldn’t you?
3:52 PM
Ben

==========
Hi Nick, I am going off the information provided to me by Yodel. They may well have delivered that far away if there was no one else nearer available but if you have checked and your neighbors say they don’t have it we will have to go on that premise. We will need to conduct a driver interview with the driver but in our experience that never leads to anything. So while we do that, we can raise replacement canvas art for you. Lead time for those is 23 weeks. Shall I go ahead and arrange that? Kind regards, Ben
7:46 PM
Nicholas

==========
Hi Ben 23 weeks, 5 months roughly – having charged my account for pretty much £1000 do you think 23 weeks is acceptable? I would like to have the nest of tables delivered Friday as agreed. Can you then please cancel the rest of the order and refund me immediately for the following: Canvas Art Bust Head Dining Chairs I received no note from your delivery driver saying he had delivered to a neighbour who was 7 doors down and neither has the neighbour took receipt of a package, as such I would expect an immediate refund on the canvas art regardless of your “driver interview” this is Casafinas issue not mine. Can you please confirm the level of compensation you are prepared to offer. I will be contacting both Which? and the Consumer Watchdog today as the service offered by your company is an absolute disgrace

This experience is so remarkably bad, it almost reads like the script for a comedy sketch. I half expected the Two Ronnies to appear at the end!!! Although it is almost funny, I take no pleasure in the unbelievable amount of pain and effort Nick has endured. Quite clearly he will never interact with this organisation ever again. Having read this story, I will not be going near them either.

It does not matter how good your products are. It is no good having a wonderful looking website. If you cannot fulfil the most basic of touchpoints in a customer journey, you cannot ever deliver a Customer Experience that will get close to meeting the needs and expectations of customers. If this is the case, it will completely destroy your Customer Experience and could destroy your business. I hope that Casafina learn from this whole episode – if they do not, their business is unlikely to survive in the long term.

 

 

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.