There was big news in North Carolina in July.
Headline number 1 was that Lenovo became the top ranking PC maker in the world. Woohoo!
Headline number 2 was that my wife bought a Lenovo Ultrabook. After an extensive research effort that included hours on the web across multiple websites, several in person visits to local PC retailers like Best Buy, Staples and hhGregg, my wife became a happy owner of a Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13.
Today’s post is a real live case study about the consumer frustration…and Customer Services waste… generated by an eCommerce website that is disconnected from the backend SAP system.
After weeks of research, on July 3 my wife was ready to pull the trigger on her Lenovo Yoga 13 purchase. She knew the exact configuration that she wanted and what price she was willing to pay for it. She also knew when she needed it because in a few weeks time she was planning on returning her Corporate Laptop to her previous employer and launching her new Consulting Career with a brand spanking new…and colorful…Convertible Ultrabook!
Both the product detail page on lenovo.com (see accompanying illustrative screenshot) and the online chat session with a Lenovo Customer Service Representative, confirmed a July 15th ship date, which was well within her needs.
However, strangely enough, the order confirmation email that was sent upon placing the order, made no mention of the estimated ship date whatsoever. It basically said that:
“Your order is being processed and no updates can be made a this time. If you have questions about your order please call Lenovo Customer Service at 855-2-LENOVO (855-253-6686) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your Customer number and order number in any communication to help us serve you more quickly.”
No big deal. The person on the chat session said July 15th and that was good enough for my wife.
Fast forward six days to July 9th, and my wife’s inbox had this Lenovo email in it:
The body of the email suggested that her PC would ship within 30 days and also had a link to the Lenovo Order Status Tracking website.
Thirty days? No way!
Agitated by the news, she followed the embedded link to the Order Tracking website. What she learned there was shocking…and confusing.
The website said that her order had an Estimated Ship Date of July 6 (remember she was checking this on July 9th!) and an Estimated Delivery Date of July 9th.
That meant that it had already shipped and was due to arrive today! Woohoo! The emotional roller coaster continues. From frustration to celebration in the click of a mouse!
So what was she to believe? The email said it was delayed for a month and the website said it shipped three days ago and should arrive on that very day.
When all else fails, communicate with a human being, so she opened up an online Chat Session (they really are of great value!). The online chat conversation had indicated that her coveted Lenovo Yoga had actually shipped on that very day, July 9th and that a shipping notification would be sent within 24 hours…which in fact it did.
The Moral of the story?
When websites aren’t integrated in real time with their backend ERP systems, expect multiple versions of the truth. When you have multiple versions of the truth, speaking to a human being is your best bet to getting at the REAL truth. But that brings me around full circle to the fact that website customers would really prefer not to speak to human beings.
Can Lenovo stay the #1 maker of PCs with this kind of Customer Services? As long as they continue to design and build killer products. Probably. But imagine how great they could be if they decided to integrate their website with their backend ERP system?
Hey Lenovo! We’re in your backyard and we can help :-).