[rant coming] OK, so I am in a complaining mood this week, but as a passionate marketing person it is so depressing to see how large companies deal with their customers. My last mind-bending experience is with Sony.
I bought a Viao laptop from their online store last week and picked a model/color that was in stock and that was going to ship this past Tuesday – May 8th. I even paid for the 2 day shipping upgrade as I wanted it for the weekend. On May 8 I went online to check on my order and their system now showed that my order was now not scheduled to ship until May 9th. So on May 9th I went and checked and the system showed that my brand new toy would ship that day. When I checked on May 10th I was shocked to find the system now yelling at me: “CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK, ship date unknown”. Never did I receive a notice from Sony explaining what was happening. The only thing I got from them was a useless dock that I had ordered with the PC. So I emailed them to complain about my 2 day shipping surcharge which was now meaningless and also to ask them for clarification on what was going to happen and how I could potentially cancel my order and return the dock.
36 hours later, the system is still yelling: “CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK, Ship date unknown” and I still have to receive my first email or phone call from Sony. What did I do wrong?
Companies operating in the consumer electronics space have to know that as long as they do not screw up, people will continue to buy their brands when it’s time for an upgrade. That is true for PC’s, printers, cameras, you name it – heck – I bought 7 Dells before they screwed up. So how can a company, who is currently not doing that well to begin with, first screw up on their supply chain management so than a product that showed in stock suddenly goes out of stock with an unknown ship date, and secondly screw up even more by not communicating with a customer who not only paid extra for expedited shipping, but who also took the time to alert them about the fact that he was becoming irate? And did I mention that I usually buy top of the line, or should I say with tons of options that you don’t really need – so over a lifetime this could mean tens of thousands of dollars to Sony just from this one customer – me.
These are the basics…this is not sophisticated management theory:
a) make sure you have a reliable supply chain
b) have an impeccable customer service process – especially when a) fails
My Return on Information with Sony is close to zero…
[end of rant]