Use technology to manage customer expectation


Shopping trolley on button of computer keyboardI’m not a shopping fan at the best of times but internet shopping I can live with because I can browse without being harassed, I can do research into products and then buy when I’m ready and then get my order delivered to the door – perfect.

Web sites vary in terms of customer experience and usability, as does delivery method choices and timescales. When it works, it works very well in my experience and I’ve rarely had an issue with an internet order. Amazon is a great model and is often touted as best in class for customer experience. However, recent experiences with ASOS suggests that there’s another company who’ve mastered delivering a great customer experience from online to front door.

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The event was a family christening and the women of the house, my partner and her daughter absolutely had to have something new to wear.
We went to another christening several month ago that I bought something new for, so being a man I figured this would be perfect for a second outing. Not good enough for the ladies though and in true fashion they’d left choosing right to the last minute. My partner works full time and clearly didn’t have time to actually go shopping so it was a virtual shop. ASOS was picked as the online store of choice and after 24 hours of deliberation, clothes were picked, bought and ordered for delivery next day.

The order confirmation arrived by email fairly instantly and then within the next hour, a text message arrived indicating delivery as requested next day between 7am and 9pm which was fine. A fairly standard experience so far for internet shopping. No one was going to be in on the day of delivery but another recent purchase from ASOS was left with neighbours which I prefer rather than a parcel being returned for a second delivery attempt.

On the morning of delivery however, we received another text indicating a delivery window of 60 minutes between 12.30pm and 1.30pm. Impressive both from the accuracy of the timeslot and managing expectation about the delivery itself. In addition, within the text we were given three options, 1-Deliver to neighour 2. Fri 3. Mon

Given we knew we weren’t going to be in we selected option 1 to leave with a neighbour as we’d done previously.

True to their word the package arrived in the time slot they indicated. In the end I was around to take delivery and so could testify for the accuracy of the timescale. Their courier partner is DPD and clearly they’ve got a good relationship. DPD delivered on the ASOS promise.

Now it could be argued that this is how companies should be operating, and clearly for ASOS they are. Reliable, consistent and trustworthy. Do what you say and deliver on your promises. Can you imagine the situation if the goods hadn’t arrived? Albeit the late order was down to my partner and her daughter but that wouldn’t have been a pretty sight and I’m sure heated conversations and tantrums would have ensued and that’s just me!

Fortunately that was all avoided though. Interestingly, ASOS didn’t do anything to ‘wow’ us as customers but everything went to plan, it was effortless and it worked. The upshot is a blog and a significant likelihood to recommend – go on try them!

However, it’s not like this in many instances. Inconsistency is one of the biggest enemies to a good customer experience whether that be online, high street or in a business to business relationships. And what should be expected to be delivered as the basics in a good customer experience often isn’t.

Clearly ASOS have got it right which sets the bar higher for everyone and rightly so. Organisations that can deliver consistently on their promises will keep customers, win new ones and reap the financial benefits this brings with it.


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