YODEL Doesn’t Deliver on Customer Service

Regular readers will know how pivotal customer service excellence is to our business model and despite being a daily focus for us, it’s been a while since I blogged about it.  Last time I shared my experiences of online retail giant ASOS’ customer service, and how traditional high-street retailer, Boots, knocked it into a cocked hat (yes, that’s a ‘Northern’ expression!).  The crux of that blog was that communication is key to delivering decent customer service.  Now, following a few weeks of stress from ‘YODEL’, I’m going to add another couple of watch-words to the list; RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY.

Bear with me while I set the scene:  It all started when I decided that it was about time I stopped making excuses about not having time to go to the gym anymore (particularly since it was at the end of the garden) and combined a bit of exercise with the daily commute by cycling to the office – all with the added bonus of no longer having to rely on Southern Trains to get me into London (but that’s a whole other blog!).

After rigorous research, I chose my bike – a gorgeous carbon black Specialized Sirrus – and found that CycleSurgery<

/a> were one of the few UK retailers to have any in stock.  With no store nearby, I ordered it off their website and sat back waiting for it to arrive.  And this is where the fun starts:

  • 2 Sept: 48 Hour delivery confirmed for Tuesday 6 Sept by YODEL (CycleSurgery’s delivery partner)
  • 6 Sept: No delivery made
  • 7 Sept: YODEL attempted delivery while no one at home
  • 8 Sept: Arranged redelivery through YODEL’s online booking system
  • 8 Sept: YODEL’s email confirmation states delivery next day (9am to 5.30pm)
  • 9 Sept: Waited in until 6.30pm before leaving for dinner
  • 9 Sept: YODEL attempted redelivery at some point after that, leaving a card timed at 6.01pm (hmmm…)
  • 12 Sept: Booked redelivery for following day online (stressing that it needed to be before 5.30pm)
  • 13 Sept: YODEL didn’t show – at all

Unbelievably, a call to YODEL on 13 Sept to Elizabeth in ‘customer services’ revealed, between her sniggers, that “the online redelivery confirmation emails just go out automatically, they’re not actually linked to the depot” and that my bike had “never been due out for delivery on that day”. 

On asking to speak to a supervisor; “we don’t have any, but you can send an email.”  The irony of whether I’d just get an automated response and no other action seemed lost on her…

On explaining that I was about to go away for a 2 day conference and physically couldn’t wait around any longer for their random deliveries; “Oh, that means we’ll have had it in the depot for 10 days, so it’ll be sent back to the sender.”  “No” she couldn’t put a note on the system or intervene to stop that happening and “no” they didn’t do Saturday deliveries so couldn’t send it the day after the conference.  Crazy and judging from comments about YODEL on the Amplicate opinion website, not entirely unique.

Frustration reigned and I gave up it for a few days and went away to RESI feeling very grumpy after tweeting @cyclesurgery that their delivery partner was failing them.

Back home again after the conference I was ready to do battle once more.  A final call to YODEL to try and resolve it also revealed that “the automated phone redelivery booking system wouldn’t guarantee that a redelivery would be made” and that the only way to be sure it’d be booked in was “to call customer services and have it logged manually”.  Although this call was head and shoulders better than the chat with Elizabeth (because there was no sniggering involved), it didn’t resolve anything; YODEL still maintained they had no supervisors and didn’t deliver on a Saturday.

The only saving grace, which I can only assume was a result of their continuing incompetence, was that my bike hadn’t been returned to the sender after its 10 day deadline of languishing in their depot.  But to all intents and purposes it was now being held hostage.  The ransom being me taking more time off work in the vain hope that eventually one of YODEL’s deliveries would actually match one of their confirmed delivery slots. 

Time to go above their heads.  CycleSurgery had responded to my tweet (both publicly and privately), and in a master-class of how customer service should be delivered, it went something like this:

  • Hello CycleSurgery, your delivery partner YODEL is not delivering
  • My name’s Lucas, that’s disappointing, but I’ll fix this – Saturday delivery? Of course – here’s my direct line.  I’ll confirm when it’s in place
  • Hi Michael, it’s Lucas again – I’m working on it still and will confirm later today
  • Hi Michael, it’s Lucas, it’s all set for delivery pre 11am on Saturday.  Call me on Saturday if it’s not there by 11:05am
  • Saturday, 9:30am – bike delivered
  • Hi Michael, it’s Lucas, I can see that it’s been signed for but I’m just checking that everything was OK with the delivery?

If only every customer service department had a Lucas – and actually instilled the desire to take accountability and the ability/authority to actually get things done.  CycleSurgery turned an #epicfail by their delivery partner YODEL into their own customer service coup.  True, one could question why they use a delivery company that clearly has fundamental operating deficiencies, but the fact that a single call to their customer service department was answered by someone who immediately took ownership of the problem, vowed to resolve it, kept the customer informed (even when there was no new information to report) and who then followed up afterwards speaks volumes.  Thank you CycleSurgery.

And the best  part: CycleSurgery tweeted that they’re reviewing their delivery partners.  Surely that’s a cause to yodel from the rooftops?!




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