Yesterday proved a very frustrating day as along with many other people I was left without my weekly food order being delivered by Sainsburys. I had had issues on Thursday with amending my order and then received a call from Sainsbury's ten minutes before the end of my delivery time slot to say they would be unable to deliver my order. I was told this was due to an error with their payments systems, that they would be unable to process my card payment. However I was very welcome to make a twenty five mile round trip to collect my order, which they could still pick and pack for me and pay by my card instore. As any of my Twitter followers know I was absolutely livid yesterday as I already had a very busy day of work and more school concerts and did not have time to go and do a grocery shop.
I swiftly emailed Sainsbury's to ask several questions after this,
- Why did they not inform me sooner that they were unable to deliver my order? They had obviously known they would not be able to deliver as they had not picked my order
- If they could accept payments instore why could they not accept payments for online orders?
- Would my order booked for Friday 23rd still be delivered?
- Did they not value their customers enough to provide decent customer service by informing us all sooner?
This last question led to me to ponder, has brand loyalty killed customer service? I have had several problems with Sainsbury's in the past couple of months and I know several other people have had issues with other big retail brands this month. Complaceancy has become rife within the big retail brands as they assume we will continue to shop with them if they simply appologise and maybe offer us a five or ten pound voucher to ease the upset. Yet the tide is turning and we, the customer, expect more, even from big brands. We no longer wish to just be seen as a profit margin, a finger typing in a pin number at the till. For too long we have let poor customer service continue but now we are more aware of good customer service from independent businesses we expect it from big businesses too.
Independent businesses are having their best year yet because they care about their customers. The reason, their customers are their livelihood not just a faceless pin number. Sainsbury's simply do not care if I choose to shop at Tesco instead, my annual spend on groceries is insignificant on it's own. Yet as this has not only affected me, but hundreds of their customers, multiply my annual spend by this and suddenly the dent in the company profits may seem more significant. Perhaps they could have prevented this profit loss with better damage limitation, by simply offering excellent customer service. Yet complacency took over and the assumption that brand loyalty would outweigh the need for customer service may well have put a large dent in Sainsbury's profit margin.
What do you think, should big retail brands reasses their customer service policies? Do these giants need to take notice of the little people? I know many independent businesses could teach these brands how to provide excellent customer service. Do you think complacency has destroyed values within the retail industry?
Now I shall step off my soapbox and enjoy my weekend. I hope you all have a fab weekend too.