General customer feedback

Garden Furniture World / Customer Feedback

Experienced a nightmare of e-commerce of late when I tried the simple task of buying some garden furniture online. All I wanted was a 5 piece Teak patio set of 4 chairs and a table. I was however,  caught out by 3 elements, successful Google PPC, consequent good user experience and architecture and finally the most stupid of my mistakes, getting caught out by the upsell temptation.

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If you want to skip my rant and see my recommendations, please nip to the end of the post.

Garden Furniture World, puts the wooden into service
To begin with all looked ok – on a Wednesday afternoon I called to find out the deadline for nextday orders was told noon and placed my order at twenty past ten the next day. Friday morning I received an SMS telling me that delivery would be between 9 am and 6 pm. These suck, but I was for once able to work from home that day (wfh is another story, laters).

At 9.30, 1st upsell item arrives (a garden firepit). 12.30 four cushions arrive. I ask the driver where the table & chairs are and was told he didn’t know, but probably on the supliers own van. as the other upsell item had arrived by separate courier, this seemed plausible.

Of course the table and chairs did not arrive and so at 5 pm I follow the instructions on the SMS and call the couriers. They say they’ve delivered at 12.30 and I ask where my furniture is. Of course the couriers no nothing of this as they’ve only been given the cushions. They call Garden Furniture World for me and are told that was all that was ordered. The couriers advise me to call the suppliers and the ‘sub-optimal e-commerce experience begins (ok I say begins, by now I’ve sat in all day waiting for the goods to arrive and all that).

After several attempts I reach Garden Furniture World’s customer service who say they haven’t any details of the table and chairs going out and are not sure when they’ll be delivered. I ask for someone to get back to me. No one does, office closes at 6 pm.

I send an e-mail asking where my goods are, not really expecting a reply until Monday. However one arrives on Saturday saying the good will arrive Monday. I ping one back via iPhone saying this is no good, I’ll be at work and they should have arrived Friday. A few hours later another e-mail arrives telling me that orders needed to be placed before 10 am for next day delivery.

By now I’m more than a bit cheesed off. It’s 30 degrees C in London and a chance to relax in a chair in my garden would be just the ticket. But hey ho, I have to wait until Monday to sort it out. On Monday I ring Garden Furniture World and tell them how fed up I am. On this I’m told that delivery will be today, sometime between now and 6 pm. Utterly rubbish delivery times, as I’m out at work.

So, I request a full refund, including carriage and ask for someone senior to get back to me. i also use Whois to find out who owns and see that it’s owned by From Whois I see and e-mail for a certain Joe. now Joe is listed as a director here so I pop him an e-mail too

Quite soon after a lady called Hayley calls me. I explain what’s happened and that unless I can get delivery by 9.30 am this week then I’d really like to cancel the whole lot. I explain that a neighbour might be able to take delivery today but it’s pretty hit and miss. Hayley says she’ll get back to me.

A short while later I do indeed get a call. Hayley then tells me that the delivery for today is not after all my table and chairs, but a maintenance kit for looking after them. I ask for a full refund – this is agreed, but I’ve still got to sort this out with the courier myself  (potentially another day waiting in). The table and chairs it now turns out, aren’t even in stock, let alone on their way to me.

What gets me irritated though is now a notionally professional e-commerce outfit can have such an awful logistics back-up. Their process was quite prepared to make me wait in for 2 whole days for 4 cushions and a wood maintenance kit, but not the actual main items I’d ordered – the actual chairs and table. If I’d have resisted the upsell and not been took in by the IA and UX I’d have at least had accurate information – couldn’t delivery my wooden garden furniture of a table and 4 chairs.

Where fail and how to fix it

1) Accurate stock levels shown on their website. Synch up database with suppliers.

2) Track the entire order in 1 system. Get some decent dba guys in.

3) Use some sort of e-mail notification system. Track process of entire order and send e-mails for each step. Order received, goods ready, goods despatched, ETA.

4) Poorly informed sales staff. Train staff in sales to provide accurate info on deadlines & delivery.

5) Poorly informed customer service staff. Firstly employ more of them and let them have access to the entire order process data. Next train them to provide accurate information to the customer.

In sum rubbish service. Now got to someone who can deliver and work out how to be in to collect the goods. Worst of it is, I’ll be driving past WorldStores HQ @ 70 London Road, Twickenham on my way home later. Maybe I should print this off for Joe and Richard to read and post it through their letter box, as they’ve clearly got some way to go before they successfully enter the digital world…

3 replies on “ customer feedback” customer feedback | The Parallax
I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a
Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

Delivering large items is actually quite difficult, with a limited number of couriers and even the best of them having only a 96% success rate of Next Day Deliveries.

Whilst it is true that accurate stock info and proper training for staff is critical, we also have an issue with the other 4%.

If we promise next day, then we know that 4 out of 100 orders are going to go wrong and we get angry customers. Our solution so far is to promise 2-3 days then deliver the 96% next day, keeping 96% very happy.

But the problem with that is we have customers waiting in too, and thats not right after.

The logistics of e-commerce are quite a problem still. Have a solution to that one for me? thanks.

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