House for sale

The name of the online mega store Bol.com stands for Bertelsman Online and was founded in 1999. The German company Bertelsmann is one of the largest publishers in the world and works like a well-oiled logistic machine. When Bertelsmann decided to sell more products than only books online, it was a logical step, based on their online know-how and experience on logistics. Now, Bol.com is one of the largest online stores in Europe. But now they know that their strength can also be their weakness. Because when things go wrong in logistics, the process can go very wrong. Also in handling customer satisfaction. Read true story about a Barbie House.

Drip tray
A customer ordered at Bol.com a drip tray for under her washing machine. However, delivery service PostNL delivers a huge Barbie House. Oops, mistake. Unfortunately, PostNL can’t take the Barbie House back, concerning the policy of Bol. Because UPS is the party that collects Bol stuff . Sending it back via a post office is not an option for the customer. The package is too big and too heavy. A pick-up appointment with UPS is made by Bol.com.

Day 2
The pick-up appointment with UPS was cancelled by email: “It is not possible to retrieve this article. We ask you to send the item back.” The customer reply’s that sending back the Barbie House via mail in not an option. The large package is too heavy. Annoying, is also Bol’s opinion. A new pick-up appointment was made.

Day 3
At the appointed time no one appears. After several phone calls with Bol, the customer gets a telephone number of UPS. There they replyed: “One of our drivers was in your street this morning, but now we see that there was a wrong house number on the voucher. We’re very sorry.” “For a new pick-up appointment you have to call Bol.” In the meanwhile the customer goes online searching for fellow sufferers. And there where enough of them. On Facebook and special complaint forums the customer finds stories of fellow sufferers who have also received products from Bol they never ordered.

Day 4
A phone call from Bol! “We’ve heard that the pick-up went wrong? What kind of Barbie House do you have now?” After hearing the answer of the customer: “A Barbie Dream House” the person from Bol only can make a new pickup appointment.

Day 5
Again, the pick-up appointment was cancelled, because of technical reasons, this time. And again the customer calls with Bol. The lady on the other side of the line wants to make a new pick-up appointment, but the customer says that her holiday is over and that she has to go to work again, so nobody would be at home for the delivery service. The customer proposes agitated to sell the Barbie House online. But that was not possible, according the Bol policy, the lady answered, because the Barbie House was already in the pick-up system. The lady of Bol decides to give the case to the Bol head office.

Day 6
The head office of Bol is fed up with the Barbie House issue. The customer can keep it for free. The money she had paid for the drip tray will be refunded.

Day 7
For the first time the customer opens the envelop of the packing slip witch came with the Barbie House. On the receipt stands the name of a gardening company with the order: Cordless Hedge Trimmer. So, who had ordered the Barbie House?

Day 8
Out of curiosity the customer calls with the gardening company. Because what had happened to them? The gardener had ordered a hedge trimmer at Bol and received a weed burner, he said. After he had returned the burner via mail, a few days later he received two hedge trimmers.

And then there is still someone waiting for his or her Barbie Dream House.

Million loss
The Dutch association of online stores, says that 0.5 to 0.7 percent of the packages disappears. Often-through theft or incorrect delivery. In the Netherlands the online shopping market is around 15 billion euros. So 0.7 percent comes down to tens of millions euros of parcels that are getting lost each year.

And yet most of the deliveries go well at Bol.

But it’s important that also the customers who receive wrong packages are serviced well.

Because giving away a Barbie House of € 424, because of a delivery mistake you can’t solve, is rather unprofessional for such a experienced company. It also gives negative image of the company in how they deal with their customers, money and goods. Not solving this kind of bad experiences in a good way will cost a company customers.

Especially in this kind of situations a company can make fans of his customers to exceed in hospitality, after sales service and quality. Problem-solving gives a company the opportunity to show itself from its best side.

With best regards,
Robert Bosma

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