I hope my nephew is going to get some great Christmas gifts from his immediate family, because I highly doubt ours is gong to reach him until the New Year.
Although theoretically we ordered it in plenty of time, and although I got regular e-mail updates about the package from the retailer, it failed to arrive by EOD Monday as expected. Then came a message that was purportedly from the manager of customer service, which began as follows:
We wanted to send you an update on the recent order(s) you placed with us. We’ve just learned that there has been a carrier delay in your delivery area due to very high parcel volumes, and as a result some packages may arrive a few days later than the estimated date we provided you when we shipped your order. You might also find that tracking information isn’t updated right away.
The e-mail went on to say that if my package had arrived I could disregard the message, and that I could check the order stats page if I wished. The retailer is “working with the carrier to minimize impacts” and apologized.
Nothing To See Here
While the e-mail had my name in the salutation, this message offered no other personalization of any kind. In fact, when I clicked through to check the tracking details, I arrived on a page that wasn’t sure if I had an account with the retailer or not (I was still logged into their site).
Three days later and there’s still no information about my “order(s),” which was just one order.
Besides lack of personalization, the e-mail message also didn’t convey any actual information that I didn’t know: my package hasn’t arrived yet.
How are they working with the carrier, exactly?
Why isn’t tracking information updated — and when is it likely to be?
If the retailer isn’t even sure I’m affected, why would they be sending the message?
The Gap Between Vendor Hype And Brand Adoption
Most people probably shrug their shoulders at this kind of thing, and I appreciate that the pandemic has impacted supply chains. I’m not that angry about this late parcel. I tell this story, though, to demonstrate the huge gap between the vendor community’s talk about digital CX capabilities and actual adoption.
This may be based on the fact that nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated that their personalization initiatives are supporting the delivery of successful, memorable digital experiences for customers.
If by “memorable digital experiences for customers” they mean putting my first name in the e-mail . . . they’re right. I’ll certainly remember this message, but not in a good way.
Contrast this data with a study by Convey based on a survey of both CX and supply chain professionals. Almost half, or 48 per cent, said they would like to reduce “Where Is My Order” (WISMO) calls, 87 per cent said they want improved access to delivery analytics and 84 per cent want improved in-transit shipment visibility.
When asked whether or not they have a plan to address delivery challenges, supply chain respondents are 48 per cent less likely to have a plan to solve the issue.
The Convey study was actually conducted in February 2019. I don’t think it’s been updated, but I’m not sure its needs to be. In my day-to-day life as a customer, I’m not sure how much has really changed.
Lost In The CX Desert
What’s often happening is a sort of mirage CX. This is where it appears you’re offering personalization, or it appears you’re providing information to better manage the customer journey.
Upon closer inspection, however, you’re just distracting customers with something to look at while you scramble to sort things out behind the scenes.
Living through 2020 has felt at times like being lost in the desert, so a mirage might be appealing to customers that get even more frustrated when brands are simply silent.
Ultimately, though, mirage CX simply leaves you skeptical about a brand’s true intentions, and at least in my case makes me less likely to have faith in its effort to nurture loyalty.
As we all struggle through this holiday season and beyond, retailers and other brands should skip the CX mirage.
Stop talking about how fast you’re digitally transforming, and offer customers a real CX oasis instead.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.