A.K.A. How Not to Treat Your Customers
A.K.A. Adventures in Bad Experiences
Recently I ordered some Pentel Arts Aquash Waterbrushes through Amazon Canada. I didn't realize, at the time of purchase, that these were being fulfilled by a company on the other side of the border. That, in itself, probably doesn't make a lot of difference to me, but the delivery choices they made certainly did...
So, to deliver the brushes to me, the seller used DHL Global Mail who will take the shipped goods across the border and then will hand them off to Canada Post. Not really a big deal, this was all to happen before things got a little hairy on the possible strike/lockout front, but then the product was never actually delivered. In fact, looking at the tracking history, Canada Post picked up the product on the 22nd of June, sat on it for a couple of weeks, and then returned it to DHL on July 7th with absolutely nothing happening in between. It gets better, though, as the seller then tells me that DHL then destroys the package as they're unable to return it across the border.
Where to begin with such a customer experience? Lets start with a global delivery company, that being DHL, not actually handling the package all the way through to final delivery themselves. It's not like they don't have the facilities to do it, but instead they hand it off to another company and then effectively they lose track of it. Couple that, which itself would be a relatively minor issue if the deliveries made it, when they do get return of the package they make no attempt to find out what is going on and make no effort to contact the seller for clarity. No, they just destroy the package and move on. It's a good thing that what I ordered wasn't one of a kind! I don't even know where to begin with how incredibly bad a customer experience that is, it would certainly encourage me to never use their service for anything even remotely important in the future.
Now lets talk Canada Post... I'm not even really sure where to begin. Let's start off with picking up a package and not doing anything with it. How incredibly ridiculous is that? However, this can happen, I get that mail rooms can be busy, the package could have fallen off something, etc. These things happen. However, the solution to something like that is to finish the delivery! No, nothing like compounding what could have been a simple mistake by returning to sender instead, as Canada Post then chose to do.
It gets better, though, oh so much better. You see, when you do want to find out what is going on, you can call or you can use social media.
Let's start with social media, shall we? It turns out that they only monitor it from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm ET. Yep, if you happen to live in another time zone, well, too bad. I don't, but I do have to wonder what planet they live on? This is a 24/7 world now, people may not get an opportunity to contact them until after work and, as a consequence, their Twitter/Facebook messages don't get any attention. Even worse when it's a Friday, since it's now a multi-day lack of response, only leading to additional anger and frustration as a result. If nothing else, recognize that you serve a country that spans many time zones and handle appropriately.
So, discovering that social media is a bust, I did manage to call. Those hours are marginally better, but then you have to wade through menu, and message, hell just to talk to a human being. Finally, somewhere! Nope. The depth of detail they were able to give me was that it was returned to sender (which I already knew) and that the reason would be on the package which, as I've been given to understand, has since been destroyed. I'm at a loss for how to explain how ridiculously bad a customer service experience it is for Canada Post to not be able to tell me why they returned a package to the sender and then to return it to one that will destroy it. Seriously. It has to be unintentional, it would require a level of absurd maliciousness to deliberately craft an experience like that and, even with my currently low opinion of them, this is probably too much.
The only one that seems to do the right thing here is Amazon. I filed a failed delivery refund claim which they're now processing. I have confidence there. I feel for the sending company, but at the end of the day, I'm not going to be out $50 for their delivery choices and I've already recommended to them that they consider switching carriers for the future.
Customer experience really does matter.