I am a big fan of ordering online. Living in Singapore, I have been a fan of RedMart, the online grocery store partly funded by heavy hitters from the tech world. My wife and I were loyal customers ordering every two weeks, in order to avoid a trip to the grocery store. My recent experience with RedMart has prompted this post.
Our recent order came up short, missing several items. Upon calling customer service, I was repeatedly told, ‘So sorry for the inconvenince. We will credit the amount of the items not delivered.”
No hassle there. I should’t pay for something not received.
“What about delivering my missing items?” I asked.
“Sorry, Mr. Harish, we cannot do that; so sorry for the inconvenience.”
Any business that makes decisions without considering the customer experience implications is bound to disappoint. In simple terms, if a business doesn’t understand why the customer has come to the business or in the event of a customer service failure doesn’t pay heed to the the customer’s why, then the business failed to understand its basic purpose of being in the marketplace.
My wife and I order online from RedMart so we can avoid a trip to the grocery store. With essential items missing, we are now forced to make this dreaded trip. So if we are going to have to make the trip anyway, why the need to order online? This is the failure of the business to understand the customer’s why.
My definition of a loyal customer: “One who is emotionally attached to the brand that they go out of their way to tell others about this brand without being asked.” In my line of work, I have the opportunity to speak to groups of senior leaders on a regular basis, and have been loyal to the point to using RedMart in my talks as a case study. After all, it’s an innovative company that is in the right place at the right time.
Unfortunately, my emotional engagement with this brand was one sided. The brand failed me when it chose its convenience over mine. How much stronger would my emotional engagement have been had a solution been proposed that acknowledged my reason (aka the why) for buying from them? Mistakes happen. If they had remembered the inconvenience of going to the grocery store, they would have offered a solution that would make my engagement with them even stonger. Instead, now I am obligated to search for an alternative for I am a slighted customer and must take my business elsewhere.
While I illustrate a real example, this is a pattern I am seeing in all parts of the world and across all industries. My caution to business executives is to take heed and understand the customer’s why for doing business with you and ensure that customer service policies reflect it. A loyal customer feeling slighted that their engagement is one-way will definitely find alternatives.