[Author’s note: I recently purchased a mattress from Sears. They were supposed to deliver it this past Thursday. But things did not quite go as planned. They sent me a customer feedback survey the following day. Below is the exact, unaltered response I sent back in my evaluation.]
Thank you for your very prompt email survey asking about my recent purchase experience. I am pleased to report my online ordering experience went off without a hitch. No wait, there was actually one very minor hitch which I probably shouldn’t even bother mentioning, but since you were kind enough to ask, would you mind if I share it with you?
My fantastic customer experience started to go just slightly off track when it came to the DELIVERY of the mattress I purchased online. And for that, I take full responsibility. It was completely my fault to place my mattress order with Sears. Why I didn’t order it through Sleep Country USA is something I can’t explain.
You see, my delivery was scheduled for this past Thursday. The evening before, I received an automated call from Sears Customer Service informing me that my mattress would be delivered between 1:45 pm and 3:45 pm. And that presented a problem, as I had an important appointment which required me to leave by 2:00.
I immediately called your toll-free customer support number (1-800-PLZ-HOLD), and after waiting ten minutes, I reached a live person named Roger – at least I presume Roger was a live person. In retrospect, given that he kept spouting the same answer over and over, I’m wondering whether perhaps he was an automated phone bot with a highly developed user interface.
I told Roger / your phone bot that a delivery window of 1:45 pm to 3:45 pm would not work for me and asked if Sears could change the delivery to 7am to 10am, to which he kindly responded, “Please hold.” No more than eight minutes later, he came back on the line helpfully to inform me that a delivery window of 7 to 10 am was not available. “However, we can deliver your mattress tomorrow between 1:45 and 3:45”, he shared. That time sounded eerily familiar, in part because that was the precise time window I had called about to inform your team would not work for me.
I then asked whether it could be delivered between 10am and noon. This is when I suspected that Roger might be a highly advanced computer algorithm. Because after my second eight-minute wait on hold, he / it returned on the phone and repeated almost the identical message as before, informing me that a delivery window of 10 am to noon was not available, “However, we can deliver your mattress tomorrow between 1:45 and 3:45.”
The Rogertron 3000 was still not quite grasping my problem, so I tried one more time, asking if there was ANY WAY Sears could just deliver my mattress ANY TIME BEFORE 2 pm. After yet another relaxing seven-minute wait on hold, the Roger 3K informed me that they would make the schedule change. My mattress would be delivered no later than 2 pm on Thursday. I said thank you and hung up, after which time I presume Roger probably rebooted himself, but I am only theorizing about that.
This is where I think you’ll find the story gets interesting. Because, as it turns out, 2pm came and went, and to my surprise, the mattress had still not been delivered. So, at 2:05 pm, I called your wonderfully helpful call center again and guess what they told me. That’s right. “According to our system, your delivery is scheduled for between 1:45 pm and 3:45 pm.”
I’m sure you are laughing every bit as much as I was when I heard this robo-script response for the fourth time. I proceeded to repeat my rather lengthy discussion from the night before, describing how they had agreed to change the delivery window to “sometime before 2 pm”, at which point your customer service bot indicated that they did in fact just now notice that this change was made in their system after all. They went on to say that the truck carrying my mattress was “in your neighborhood,” close by and that my house was the next stop. The truck should be here, and I quote, “any minute now.”
Now, I’m not sure what time system Sears’ truck drivers use – I’m guessing the Mayan calendar. But according to my watch, any minute now would imply something under 15 minutes. So I agreed to wait for my imminent delivery and bid them a pleasant day.
Any minute now turned into 2:50 pm – 45 minutes after the aforementioned phone call. By now, I was going to be 50 minutes late for my appointment. I called back to ask what happened to the truck that was supposedly in my neighborhood. Their response, I have to admit, took me somewhat by surprise. This latest agent informed me – and this is a direct quote – “According to our system, your delivery is scheduled for between 1:45 pm and 3:45 pm.” Hmmm. Where have I heard that before?
So I proceeded to repeat the entire series of conversations from the previous evening and earlier that afternoon. The call center agent then acknowledged that indeed the delivery time had been changed to “before 2 pm” and promised to email the truck driver and tell him I needed the delivery no later than 3pm, otherwise I would have to leave. They were confident the truck would be at my home any minute now.
Fast forward to 3:42pm. I had left my house at 3pm in order to arrive late for the aforementioned obligation. Suddenly, my cell phone rang. You’ll never believe who was calling me. Go ahead and guess. That’s absolutely correct. It was the Sears truck driver, with my mattress, calling to ask, “Where are you? I have a delivery for you.” And then he said – I loved this part – and I hope you will too. He said, “According to our records, you were supposed to be here for a delivery between 1:45 and 3:45 today.”
While I have greatly enjoyed getting to know Roger, Tina, Margaret, Ned and God knows whom else I spoke with over the past two days, alas, I have not had the opportunity to thank them for the timely delivery of my new Sears mattress. Apparently – and I confess that I did not read the fine print about this – Sears has a policy of only delivering its merchandize between 1:45 and 3:45, regardless of what time the customer asks for it to be delivered.
I apologize for all the intrusions on your time. I look forward to receiving my mattress at the newly scheduled time, two weeks from Thursday. They have not yet informed me of the actual delivery window for their revised delivery. But not to worry. I’m pretty sure I know exactly the two-hour window in which they’ll be showing up.
Thank you, Sears, for doing an outstanding job of keeping to your original delivery schedule, regardless of what obstacles unreasonable customers like me try to throw in your way to derail you from your carved-in-stone timeline. Please accept my humblest apologies. I promise I won’t make this mistake (of buying from Sears) ever again.
Yours truly (pissed off),
Another highly (dis)satisfied customer
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2015