Every couple of months I order a large delivery from the supermarket. I don’t own a car so I find it convenient to get bulky tins, dry foods, cleaning supplies and other bits and bobs delivered in one go. Last Wednesday, for the first time, I received a text message from Woolworths about my upcoming delivery:
The time-slot I’d picked for delivery was 7-10pm and this message left me puzzling about just how long I might be waiting to receive my groceries.
After my delivery had arrived, I sent Woolworths an email about a missing item from my order and I wrote:
Also, thanks for the text message alerting me the delivery might be 120 minutes delayed. The language in the text message was a little confusing (“Hello, this is a courtesy message to advise that your Woolworths delivery driver will be delayed. Your delivery will be running up to 120 mins late”) because my delivery window was from 7pm-10pm which made me wonder if I might be waiting up til midnight to receive the delivery but happily it arrived at 10.01pm :)
Their response came back:
We also apologise for the late delivery and confusion in our notification. As you may now be aware, the lateness is calculated from your estimated delivery time, so in this instance you fortunately must have been scheduled for an 8pm delivery initially.
It was helpful to hear this, however Woolworths don’t communicate an “estimated delivery time” for an order to their customers.
My suggestions to Woolworths for communicating delivery delays via text message:
- If the delivery will still fall within the chosen time-slot, don’t worry about notifying customers.
- If the delivery will fall outside of the chosen time-slot, specify the latest time the delivery will arrive rather than the duration of the delay.
- Or if Woolworths like their current process, specify what had been the estimated delivery time and what will now be the latest time. In my instance: Your delivery was estimated for 8pm but will now be 10pm.
Overall, a text message about a delay helps to manage a customer’s expectations, however the message must be clear and specific about the worst-case scenario in order to readjust those expectations based on the current circumstances.