Could your website ruin my weekend?

So a website ruined my weekend on Saturday. Well actually, a lack of integration between shopping in the real world, online customer service and product delivery ruined my weekend. Perhaps I could have been more forgiving if I really wanted the product, but the order was for my honorary father-in-law, so all I got were the problems and none of the product benefits. Here’s why:

I was babysitting my honorary niece (honorary because I’m not married but she still calls me Uncle Dave)) and was planning to find a local fair or something to take her to. She likes bouncy castles and balloons. Unfortunately these plans were scuppered by a broken dishwasher and a poor customer experience courtesy of Currys. My father in law purchased in store on Friday and was told to check that evening after 9pm for his delivery slot the next day. Putting aside the fact he doesn’t own a PC, can’t use one and doesn’t have broadband this wasn’t a problem because I’m happy to do it for him. But when I went online that evening, this happened:

Customer service fail!

At this stage it is clear that what is going on in real world at Currys carries on regardless of what is going on their fulfilment site, knowhow. I could get quite annoyed that they were not ‘at the end of the phone 24/7 or online with loads of useful hints, tips and guides.’ But instead I’m determined to learn something from a wasted Saturday.

One thing I learnt is that the pages you don’t want people to see on your website, the 404s or ‘we screwed up, sorry’ pages are pretty important. Because they are what represents you when you let someone down. So, on the knowhow ‘sorry’ page I could attempt to access their live support and I was told ‘Live representatives are online and standing by!’ but they weren’t! It wouldn’t work.

All of this could have been dramatically improved by a more integrated approach in store, if the person selling could have known what was going to happen and managed expectations appropriately. Also, this was real face to face contact so why just instruct people to go online, why not get personal? Capture some extra data about the delivery – could the courier have augmented their service to account for the fact that the product purchaser was not going to be at home and I was going to have to travel to meet the washing machine? In these circumstances, can a delivery ‘slot’ be improved beyond between one and five pm?

I think it could. I think your website should be part of a real world experience and information should flow both ways.

I’m not just pointing the finger at Currys/knowhow though, I’m pointing it at myself too. I think there’s a lot I could do to improve the integration between the real world experience and the online where I work (and wheels are in motion). There is an opportunity there though for charities; to deliver what big retail is failing to, a truly good experience.


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About medavep
I work in the UK charity sector and sometimes I blog about fundraising, digital and consumer experience. Sometimes I just moan.

4 Responses to Could your website ruin my weekend?

  1. Pingback: Digital exclusion « medavep

  2. Andrew Jones says:

    If you wanted your weekend not to be disturbed you could have paid a little extra and got a “Time To Suit” delivery in which you can pick a three hour time slot.

    • medavep says:

      That still wouldn’t have solved the issue of them directing me to a website that wasn’t working though. Plus I didn’t make the order

      • Andrew Jones says:

        Granted you wouldn’t have known that the website could have been down, however with a time to suit you wouldn’t need the site because you know when the delivery is coming.

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