top of page

Red Flags A-Plenty

I thought the Red Flag article last month was inspiring and it prompted me to share my personal experience about a well-known online retailer. They could perhaps reflect on a live case such as this to unravel their customer experience and thus offer scenarios for better outcomes to their valued customers.


  • I ordered a BBQ grill from an online retailer; the product is managed by their logistics/warehousing Team.

  • On ordering I was told to request a date for delivery - which I did. This date I selected meant that the grill would arrive one day before a BBQ event (12 attendees) that I was hosting at my home.

  • Consequently - I received Order Confirmation from the Retailer, Dispatch Notification and indication from the Carrier of when the item was being scheduled for delivery.


  • The Carrier contacted me before the Retailer to advise that the item was delayed and had not been delivered to them, meanwhile the Retailer’s Online information continued to reflect that the package was dispatched, and that delivery was on schedule as previously agreed

  • On contacting The Retailer, they immediately confirmed, all is in hand for delivery as indicated (i.e. upon checking the status of my order). Only upon advising them of the Carrier feedback, there was a further check which revealed the issue of the delay.

  • The Retailer's front line staff had no idea when the item would be delivered to the Carrier (similarly the Carrier had no idea when it would be received from the Retailer)

  • Issue escalated, and I requested a fast track delivery by Retailer - the response: not possible, but an offer of a 20GBP voucher, was made for inconvenience - the offer was refused.

  • A new date was then set for delivery. Meanwhile a review of the delivery date was requested by the Carrier, though late it meant it could arrive on the weekend which was more convenient (A MUST SIGN FOR DELIVERY), than during the work-week.

  • No one actioned the escalation, so the new date passed by without a delivery.

  • The issue was now further escalated to the Retailer Customer Service and CEO

  • - their response: suddenly many emails from Customer Service, advising that the CEO wanted the issue resolved to My Satisfaction, by now there is an offer of 50GBP voucher for future purchase.

  • - my response: The money is not that important or the desire for future purchase/s, instead use the money to pay for an expedited delivery – Retailer response: not possible, we don’t do that.

  • Then on one day 2 different calls from the Carrier to rectify the problem, the second caller was unaware that the first caller made contact and offered to ensure delivery.

  • The BBQ arrived 4 days after the promised delivery date.

UNRAVELLING: (The Problem)

  • Retailer has ineffective purchasing systems

  • Internal Communications systems/process broken - Carrier knew the item had not been delivered to their depot, front-line Retailer Contact had no clue - had to be informed by Customer

  • Retailer sees the solution only as Vouchers and not focused on recovery - how do I ensure the customer gets the product.

  • Retailer front-line limited by a process and there seems to be no exception handling, except a voucher for future purchase - all customers are not alike and require different solutions, some inconvenienced customers may not shop again, future shopping is contingent on adequate issue resolution in the moment.

  • Limited decision making or communication between retailer and Carrier in evidence - frontline retailer representatives unable to contact carrier to inform delivery schedule or arrange a new schedule.

  • Customer promise broken - no sensitivity to inconvenience caused (in fact the retailer points to legal clause which says they are not responsible for issues arising out of delayed delivery). It felt like I got your cash, tough, maybe it will arrive. Even if the item cost 400+ GBP, 40GBP is the solution accept that or nothing? It will arrive when it does.

  • Retailer took no responsibility for the delay, except to say that they will review why the delay occurred with the Carrier - recall the carrier first advised of the delay as a result of non-receipt of item from retailer

These are all red flags requiring process improvement. Hopefully the retailer will see the process opportunities awaiting some action. If not, perhaps their competitors will take advantage of their in-action.

Beware of your red flags (a Plenty).

Kathleen Callender

Blog dated 04/07/2018

(Flag Dancer courtesy Domics(gfycat)

bottom of page