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Tesco fails to deliver – on delivery slots!

Tesco fails to plan for Christmas

Tesco products in a basket

For many years now Tesco like other supermarkets has offered home delivery of your shopping. You can book hourly slots or flexible slots from 6.00am to 11.00pm every day. Tesco also offers a Delivery Saver options where customers can pay for a subscription-based delivery service to save money on the cost of deliveries.

Yesterday (12 November 2020) Tesco customers who are Delivery Savers received notification that slots for Christmas would open two weeks earlier than normal, at 7.00am the following day.

As you would expect, in a repeat of what we saw at the beginning of the March 2020 lockdown, people tried to get slots by staying up to midnight to book a slot as soon as it became available. However, customers queued online for well over an hour and in some cases more than two hours.

Tesco and the Twitter feed complaints

The Tesco Twitter feed was plastered with complaints about the site:

Many people complained that friends and relatives who had been in the queue for less time than them but that they were still waiting.

For many of those who were able to finally get a slot they then couldn’t checkout!

 

Others got through and found their basket had been emptied and had to start all over again.

At 9.45am a Tesco Spokesperson said:

“Demand for online slots over the festive period is high, and we have more slots this Christmas than ever before. We are experiencing high volumes of traffic to our website and Groceries app and are temporarily limiting the number of customers using it. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused and would like to reassure customers that there are still slots available for both home delivery and Click & Collect over the Christmas period.”

However, this was not strictly true, as slots were not available from 8.45am:

And just a few hours after opening there were still no slots available. This was the situation at 10.00am:

showing all slots from 21/12/20 booked

Tesco Twitter team wrongly advising customers about delivery slots

Despite this, the Tesco Twitter team was still advising people that slots were available. It admitted that there were technical problems causing some of the issues.

Others offered ways round:

and using more than one device or having lots of tabs open can help too.

Consumers give Tesco ideas on how to solve delivery slot issue

Numerous people told the team that the system was wrong and suggested solutions, such as using previous information from customers:

Other ideas included: giving priority to people who had been on the delivery scheme for longer than others, especially as some join the scheme purely for Christmas; informing people of where they are in a position in the queue; releasing some slots at different times of the day, especially as the planned 7.00am time left many parents unable to both watch the site and get children ready for school.

Tesco and the delivery problem

During lockdown many people tried to book a delivery slot and many of these people would not even have been Delivery Saver customers. So, in theory, today should have seen fewer customers trying to book a slot!  But it was chaotic and far worse than through lockdown, when people were left without delivery slots. This time they had to wait for two hours to be told they had missed a slot or get beaten by someone who had waited less time than them!

Tesco has increased the number of its delivery slots from 600,000 to 1.5million a week – which is more than double what was available at the start of the coronavirus lockdown but it’s not clear how many more, if any since the end of lockdown when we know slots increased hugely. In may 2020 it was 1.2 million.

Businesses need to be much better at planning these things. Christmas isn’t like COVID, it can be predicted! Tesco needs to learn lessons from previous years and indeed from throughout this year, when reliable home delivery has become so important.

The Complaining Cow – free support for businesses

It takes 5 times as much to gain a new customer to retain one. So work on turning your customers into superfans who do much of the heavy lifting for you!

Join the Facebook Group Increase Sales through Customer Service: Compassion, Care and  Integrity  A private group where you can give and get support, advice and share good practice on how to improve customer service.

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Case study: Tesco and a consumer champion

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Business Good customer service Latest News

Bringing customer service to the Boardroom

It was the fourth day of Customer Service Week (08 October 2020). That day the theme was Leadership: Championing customer service in the boardroom.

people sitting round table with laptops

Customer service at Board level

How often is customer service discussed at Board level in your company from the point of view of the customer? Do you talk more in terms of “this is how we will do it”, “this is what it will mean for the company”?

Who’s in the chair?

Teddy bear

Try a new perspective. Have an empty chair. You could put a teddy bear in the chair. Name the teddy. Give him or her an age and decide about its family? Is there a partner? Is there a disability? What else do we need to know? When you have finished these types of questions have them written out with Teddy.

With each agenda item ask Teddy what they think. You could discuss what Teddy may think and the impact that has on your decisions.  You could have a number of Teddies. A different Teddy to each meeting, or more than one. Each one will bring you a different and unique perspective on how your decisions will impact on the customer experience and how they see you.

Who has a place in the boardroom?

Shop from a competitor

Have you ever sent someone to do business with a competitor or just another business in a “mystery shopping” exercise? Try it. Mentally log every part of the journey and write it up and try and purchase something similar in your company. What were the differences, what was better, what was worse and what could you discuss as possible changes to how things run in your company? Would Teddy prefer those changes?

Work shadow

Send colleagues in senior positions to shadow colleagues in customer-facing roles. When this happens they often report back some really basic things that they just didn’t realise. For example, when Dave Lewis started as CEO at Tesco he introduced Feet on the Floor. Staff from Head Office went out to the shop floor and learnt a great deal. Lewis recognised that he needed to find out what customers wanted. He needed to discover why customers had left Tesco and what would bring them back. This initiative was key in the turnaround of the supermarket’s fortunes. (See more of my work with Tesco and a consumer champion).

Floor to staff to the Board

Go one step further than Lewis. Bring staff up. Bring shop floor staff into the Boardroom. Ensure that you make them feel comfortable and tell them Teddy told you to bring them to the meeting! Because it is true. When I asked my followers on social media if they thought having staff at a Board meeting would be beneficial, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Staff know what is happening on the shop floor. They can support Teddy to say more too. Data has its place but so does real world recent experience. Ensure that you have systems in place for this that division is not caused.

More articles on Customer Service Week

Know your customer

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How to celebrate and recognise your customer service heroes

Build your brand through Trust, Ethics & Sustainability

The Complaining Cow – free support for businesses

It takes 5 times as much to gain a new customer to retain one. So work on turning your customers into superfans who do much of the heavy lifting for you!

Join the Facebook Group Increase Sales through Customer Service: Compassion, Care and  Integrity  A private group where you can give and get support, advice and share good practice on how to improve customer service.

Free download Customer Service 5 ways to get rave reviews & referrals a few tweaks to your customer service can help you reduce the risk to your company’s reputation, finances and impact on customers and increase sales.

Customer Service how to turn customers into superfans raving about your products/services

The Complaining Cow Services

To see how The Complaining Cow can help you improve your customer service see Services.