Made.com are a design-led furniture brand, providing beautiful, contemporary furniture direct from the makers. They don’t have stores, there are no middlemen, and as a result they provide designer furniture at affordable prices.
Over the years I’ve bought a lot of furniture from Made.com. I’m sitting writing this in my favourite armchair, a lovely piece of furniture that we bought around five years ago.
When we built our cowork space in Aberdeen back in 2011, much of the furniture, including our statement beanbags, came from Made.com
You get the picture, I’m a fan.
Redesigning the Ashton McGill office
So when we decided to redesign our office space recently, we headed to Made.com to look for furniture. They’re very good at using remarketing – a technique that lets you target ads at users who have previously visited your website, which meant that very time I went to Facebook, I was served up an Ad with those beautiful desks. It was inevitable that we’d end up ordering from them really.
Up until then, it had been a slick experience, exactly the sort you’d expect from the brand. However what happened next didn’t feel right for Made.com.
Their delivery partner is a company called Panther. Once Made.com were in a position to confirm the delivery I got an email from Panther. I’d been teaching that afternoon, and at the end of the lecture I noticed a missed call – the email explained that they’d tried to call me and wanted to arrange a delivery date. The email wasn’t from a Human, it was simply from ‘Panther Logistics’.
I replied to the email giving them dates and times I would be available and in my office the week they planned to deliver. They then replied shortly after telling me it would be delivered on different day. Are you sensing my frustration yet?
A few more emails back and forth, and we eventually got a date that worked. I tried to pin them down to a delivery time, the response I got was that, ‘we are an all day delivery service so we cannot guarantee a certain time slot’. Every communication was impersonal, no empathy, as though it was typed by a chatbot – maybe it was?
I was told that they’d give a ‘two hour delivery window the evening before via email and text message’, and that ‘our driver will pre-call when is (sic) 30-60 minutes away.’ Again, signed off simply by ‘Panther’.
I rearranged my diary so that I could be at the office all day and take the delivery. I received their email the day before telling me that the desks would be delivered between 14:05 and 16:05, so at least that narrowed it down.
At around noon, Jenny from the ACK office knocked on my door to say that my desks had arrived. I hadn’t received a call from the driver, but hey, at least the desks were here! I walked back to reception with Jenny to find no sign of the driver and the boxes stacked against the wall. I was hoping that the driver would at least help me get the boxes to my office, but no, he hadn’t hung around for the 2 minutes it took me to get to reception.
To cut this long story short, I managed to get the desks to my office with Jenny’s help. They’re now built and look fantastic. I’m really pleased with them, as I’ve always been with Made.com furniture. Oh yeah, and I got an email from Panther half an hour after they’d been delivered, telling me that they should arrive by 14.52! I always find these automated emails, with such exact timings, amusing.
What can we learn from this?
So what’s the lesson here? Well, here I am, a big Made.com fan, writing about the poor delivery experience. It really soured the transaction. The way that Panther communicated felt so at odds with the Made.com brand. When you look at both websites they look like odd bed-fellows, and so it turned out.
I see this kind of thing a lot. Brands forget that the customer experience isn’t just about the thing they do. It’s the whole journey – from before a decision is made to purchase all the way through to delivery of the goods and payment. Made.com have got it about 75% right, but the delivery experience is off-brand and certainly wasn’t a positive experience for this loyal customer.
Take a look at your business. Have you thought about the end-to-end customer experience? Do you have any partners? If so, do they have the same values and principles as your business? How do they communicate? What’s the Customer Journey like? Have you tested it?
Don’t leave it to chance, otherwise you might damage your brand and find yourself losing customers.