November 30, 2020

How to really annoy your customers

Here’s why keeping your service consistent across channels matters.   Yesterday I drove down to our nearest Screwfix trade counter, to collect stuff we needed to start laying the floor.   I’d ordered these things online a few days earlier and chosen to collect rather than have it delivered.   I’d dutifully waited for the SMS messages that would notify me it had arrived at my chosen store and was ready to collect.  But when I turned up, the store was ‘temporarily closed’.

After navigating the labyrinth of phone messages designed to prevent you ever speaking to human being, after 10 minutes, I got through to someone, I explained my predicament.   They consulted their manager.

“That store closed a few days ago.  It should be open again soon.”

“The website said it was open.”

“If you google it, it says it says it’s temporarily closed.”

“Why on earth would I google it, when I’ve already ordered and paid for everything on the main website?  Why would I google it when I know where the store is, and I’ve received 2 separate SMS messages telling me that my order is ready for collection?”


We got it sorted after a bit of nudging.  The person on the other end of the phone found me the next nearest Screwfix that had what I wanted in stock, and cancelled my order.   But a slick and easy service was totally undermined by a lack of consistency.

And, I suspect, by a failure of delegation.