How to not manage customer expectations

You may have noticed me being very excited last week about ordering a Squeezebox from FirstIn, well I’m not very excited anymore.

I’m just plain old pissed at their crap customer management.

See last week (on Wednesday) when I placed the order I was thinking sweet, I can get a Squeezebox at a fantastic price, and it will be shipped on Friday. So all Friday I was buzzing that I might have it Saturday. See that’s a customer expectation based on what the web-site told me. So on Saturday I was like cool I can handle getting it on Monday (no couriers on Sunday). On Sunday I notice that in fact I haven’t received e-mail notification of it shipping. Which means it’s not even shipped. So on Monday Michaela rings and gets told its shipping today (Monday) should be there Tuesday/Wednesday. Expectation has been set again. So on Tuesday afternoon I notice no shipping e-mail so ring up again. It’s now going to be shipped Wednesday, so I’ll get it Thursday/Friday. Expectation set again. Now it’s end-of-business Wednesday, and guess what, it has still not been shipped.

So if last week it was going to take a week to ship, I would have been sweet good price and still before my birthday, I can handle that. But each time it slips some of my pleasure of working with FirstIn fades.

So either this is the FirstIn business model, or they truly are having supplier “issues”. If this was my business I would have end-of-day email out for orders that were due to be shipped and still outstanding. Now I understand that this might be embarrassing, but really even if they don’t admit it, it still is embarrassing. All they are doing is forcing me to chase them each day.

What does the lack of action imply to me.

  • They have cash flow problems
  • They have inventory management problems (this one seems less likely after all this time)
  • They have supplier issues (like the supplier doesn’t have the product)

But whatever their problem is I’m losing interest. Paying 12.5% more and actually getting the product is starting to look attractive.

Update: Thursday 3pm – Well I didn’t get an e-mail, I had to ring again, but the support person said I was on her list to check-up on. Told them I wanted a tracking number today, or I’m canceling the order. So she was on the job! Just got off the phone with Adam Brown, “the original ‘order’/’shipment’ lost, so the supplier is sending a new one via Auckland to Christchurch. He’s going to ring back as soon as he has a tracking number“. So I’ll believe it’s happening once I get a tracking number.

Update: Thursday 6pm – No tracking number, so I’ve emailed canceling the order, now I get to play the how long will it take to get my refund. Man this whole thing pisses me off. At least with the TradeMe traders you can leave in system feedback if they are crap. Which makes them act better or leave, where-as here the cowboys just start a new venture.

Update: Saturday 1st September – Well I wrote my angry email, and got a response pretty quick (although I didn’t read it for a few hours) and got a tracking number. Then played the miscommunication game with the courier company for a day, but it arrived today and the Squeezebox for fantastic, I’ll post more about it very soon!

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