Ever had the displeasure of late or damaged deliveries? As we launch our campaign to stamp out dodgy deliveries, our chief exec writes that there’s no excuse for keeping customers in the dark about delivery times.
With the notable exception of delivering a child, there is no excuse for not knowing when you are going to deliver something. ‘Some time before 2pm’ doesn’t cut it in an age when everyone is busy and many companies can give a one-hour delivery slot – and consistently meet it. Another message that doesn’t cut it is: ‘Don’t talk to us about delivery, we just sold it to you – talk to the manufacturer.’
It saddens me to say that the retailer which recently trotted out both of these messages to me was John Lewis. This is a shop that promises much, and usually keeps its promises. I am a long-standing customer, for all the reasons that led you to rate it as one of the top retailers in our online shops survey. But when the delivery of your item is not by John Lewis directly but by a third party, such as a manufacturer, the company can lose control of the customer service that it rightly prizes.
Hanging by the telephone
I bought an AEG appliance at John Lewis recently and its staff assured me that AEG normally delivers within four days, but would certainly call me to arrange a time. Since no one was going to be home four days later, I waited for the call to tell AEG we’d need to rearrange.
Two days passed, and no call. So I phoned John Lewis and staff assured me (again) that someone would call. Call they did – on the fourth day, just as the delivery truck was approaching the house. A neighbour rescued the delivery, and John Lewis apologised and gave me a small goodwill gesture. But this was a waste of everyone’s time – never have there been so many ways to communicate with customers.
I think John Lewis would be offering better service if it was the single point of contact, rather than passing its customers on to fend for themselves. And many services offer tracking, text alerts and even a one-hour slot. DPD, which you rated top in our delivery survey, gives you your one-hour slot the day before delivery and the system works well. Why can’t this be the norm? Time is money, or annual leave, for many people. So companies should show that they value yours.
Help us stamp out dodgy deliveries
In the past year, one in four Which? members has had a problem with a delivery. Among the major irritations was not being able to choose a suitable time.
Which? is calling for all shops to give specific time slots for deliveries on a named day, to confirm the time with them on the day of delivery and to ask them upfront what to do if the delivery is unsuccessful. You can help us stamp out dodgy deliveries by signing our petition and sharing your experiences.
Wouldn’t it be nice for our top-rated retailers, such as John Lewis, to lead the way?