17 Nov 2011

Knowingly Undersold?


Forgive me - this is a massive rant! But if you follow me on Twitter you might have seen my debarkle, what, maybe 4 weeks ago, with John Lewis and their shocking customer service as I ordered my dining table. Well, I have the table, but it's taken me 4 weeks to get an apology {of sorts} for the way their staff spoke to me and I just seem to have been passed around different people, so I am putting it in writing and on the internet to see if anyone else has managed to be ‘undersold’ by John Lewis.

So, the story is, I found the table of my dreams in the JL in Sheffield, the sales assistants told me it was always in stock and the best thing to do would be to order the week before I wanted it and so left the dream table in the store until I had decorated. Later, when my dining room was almost done I went back to order it with my mum. Unfortunately the table was out of stock, as were the chairs, so we had to order them. Having a little event planned on the 30th I told the nice, but slightly useless, Sales Assistant that I needed the table for then, and she told me no problem, everything would be back in stock the following Monday, the 24th.

Fast forward 4 days and I get an email from the online side of the business telling me that the chairs were back in stock, so as instructed I gave them a little call. This is where the problems start – I got put through to the furniture dept. in the Sheffield store to enquire about getting the chairs delivered {I was told they’d be delivered separately} but unfortunately the woman I ended up speaking to must have been having the worst day ever. Either that or she is just uber grumpy all the time. But in the snottiest I-am-better-than-you tone she proceeded to tell me that yes my order had come in, but not to be so stupid as why would they deliver them without the table {erm, because you said you would, duh!}  and she also told me that ‘even if my table did arrive the following week, I definitely wouldn’t have it for the weekend. I explained I’d been told it would be with me for then, as I had an event I need the table for but she went on to tell me that I should have ordered it sooner, my event was no concern of hers and she didn’t really care what I did but my table wouldn’t be with me. then asked me if I wanted to cancel my order. At that point I was mighty close, but having spent 4 months looking at tables and knowing this was the one I wanted, I didn’t. I know after that I should have. I mean, I worked in retail for a long time and I know sometimes it gets you down – I really understand that- but if I’d have spoken to a customer, especially one actually spending a decent amount of cash with them, like that I’d have expected to at least get some sort of comeuppance.

So I turned to twitter and told them about how horrible the service had been  and @JLcustserv suggested that I email them, so I did and got a little message back to say someone would be back in touch in 24 hours.

So here the customer service journey goes 2 ways – one way where my table comes in stock, and when I phone to chase the delivery {I know, surely I shouldn’t be chasing it!} I get told that I have to go and collect it from their depot, and then it changes to no, it won’t be with me on time on a number of occasions until I spoke to a lovely guy called Chris in their Manchester call centre. He did some magic and got me a Saturday delivery slot so the table arrived just in time.

But then there is the other side – 5 days go past and I still haven’t heard anything after this promise of contact in 24hrs, which has kind of pissed me off more - at least do what you say you will, so I called them, and got told it’d be another 24hrs before someone called me. Guess what, 7 days later and nothing.  So I called again and this time I hit the escalated complaints department and the lady there assures me I will get a call, and gives me her number in case I hear nothing. And yes, you’ve guessed it – they didn’t make any contact. So now it’s taken another call and another email – at their request - to get some acknowledgement from the Sheffield store. The woman who called me was lovely, but it has to be said her apology was a bit wishy washy. First off she said she thought someone had emailed me back already, or they should have a month ago {yes, yes they should have, or maybe 2 weeks ago when I chased them}, that I shouldn't have been spoken to like that {you think?} and 'we'll look into it' {it was a month ago. If you thought I had been replied to and you were actually going to look into it, maybe you should have done that when you first got the email?} and her offer to send me a voucher for a free coffee next time I am in store is, well, slight annoying as I don’t even drink coffee and maybe a little offensive! 

When I sent my first email all I wanted was I was my table on time like I was promised, and maybe a sorry. But now, as they have made me work for it, have consistently let me down and have made me chase them for some contact I thought I’d let the world {well, my few readers} know. And it’s made me feel a little less mad about the whole affair by getting it out in the open. 

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