By contrast, I had ordered the same CD from Amazon.co.uk, had it gift wrapped and delivered to my other brother in the UK. Both orders were placed within 30 minutes of one another. The Amazon web site told me there were only 2-3 items in stock, and promised delivery before 1pm on 24th December. Since it was Christmas Eve I thought this was a little optimistic, but it arrived, gift wrapped with a card, on 27th December (the next working day). Pretty darn good for an order placed on another side of the globe during the Christmas rush. Dozens of things could have gone wrong; but Amazon got it right.
That reminds me of kalahari.net, our local bookstore and music outlet. We have bought several books from them, and their service is fantastic. I looked first on their site, but they didn't have the Johnny Clegg albums. I also tried the Look & Listen site, but it told me they didn't have stock, and their aren't any outlets in PE.
I used the Musica site to find shops in the PE area and phoned them to find out if they had stock: they didn't. That's when I made the mistake of ordering from their web site. I assumed that since it took my order that they had stock and would be able to deliver. How wrong I was.
After placing the order I got an order confirmation on Saturday 22nd at 9am, stating
"Your order has been received and is being processed. Your gift recipient's parcel will be shipped within 1-2 WORKING DAYS depending on availability."On Monday at 1pm (their first working day) I got another email that said
" ... our online warehouse is unfortunately out of stock of both these titles.Since then I have heard nothing from them. I called on Thursday 3rd January (their 6th working day) and was told that the DVD was available but the CD was out of stock, and they offered to send the DVD in the meantime. I decided to wait and see if I could get the CD myself.
"We have placed an order to obtain the stock directly from our stores thus there may be a delay in the shipping of your order."
I looked on the Look & Listen site and found they still didn't have stock, so I phoned our local outlet and then their Hyde Park store. They had one CD left, which they kept aside for me until I could pop in and buy it.
This morning I phoned Musica Customer Services (0860-687422) again to find out the status of order number 50070. The lady who answered the phone was much more helpful and explained that the order is automatically cancelled after 7 days, but they had had the CD in stock for a few days but the DVD was unavailable until their suppliers reopened. I asked why I hadn't been told any of this and all she could do was apologise. Their was no explanation for why they hadn't bothered to contact me to let me know that the order had expired, or that they had located the CD.
I asked her to get the Managing Director to call me. She said he was still on holiday but their IT Director would call me on Monday; she said she was the Customer Services Manager and that customer feedback was important to them. She also said they had a banner on their web site advising customers to place their Christmas orders before 16th December, to give them 5 working days to deliver everything. There isn't much point telling me that on 5th January!
I count several system failures:
- The web site didn't/couldn't tell me that there was no stock. The best it can manage is a hugely over-optimistic "Usually shipped within 1-2 working days". Don't believe it.
- The second email didn't warn me that there may be a much longer delay in obtaining stock. "There may be a delay" says nothing.
- I was not told that my order had expired after 7 days
- I was not told that the CD had been located and was available for shipping.
- I was incorrectly told that the DVD was available, and was not warned that the order had already expired. I only discovered this by calling them.
- There was no record of my first call when I made the second call.
Update Mon 7th January: The MD contacted me, and promised to send me his contact details and I asked him to post a comment on this blog once the system has been improved. Stand by.