Stellisons Chelmsford - Companies that make you wait
In 2013, I’m used to having things instantly. Email. Twitter. Facebook. All instant. Click of a button instant too. It’s the norm these days. Everyone wants everything now. I’m no exception.
I would (generally speaking) rather pay a little more and get something straight away than have to wait for it to be delivered. I’m pretty sure that companies know this, and so cater for speed and efficiency where possible.
Faster broadband, faster cars, a faster train track running up the centre of the country. Faster broadband. Faster mobile broadband.
As a consumer in 2013 I want everything now.
A couple of weeks ago I was off work and waiting for a new washing machine to be delivered. The old one went bang in as an unspectacular way as a washing machine can, and a new one was duly ordered by the landlord.
The company, Stellisons, have a shop in Chelmsford which, with a fair wind behind me I could probably hit if I kicked a football hard enough. They are a small chain of seven or eight shops based around Essex and have been on Moulsham Street for as long as I can remember.
I had misgivings when two weeks in a row I was told that the machine was due in stock “this time next week”, but, fortunately, it turned up the third time it was supposed to.
Seeing as I have the mechanical skills of a slime-covered rock, it had also been booked in to be fitted and the old machine removed. I checked to make sure that this was the case when I called, and also to make sure they were aware that the flat is two flights up, and that this wouldn’t be a problem.
Yes, they were taking the old one, and no, it wasn’t a problem, they had it recorded that the flat was two flights up. All good so far. What time could I expect delivery so that I could plan my day?
“Between 8 am and 6 pm.”
Huh? That’s a ten-hour window? Surely there must be a schedule? They must know if I’m first, last or somewhere in between?
“We don’t have access to that information, I’m afraid, so all we can say is between 8 am and 6 pm.”
That’s ridiculous. The delivery men will have access to the list, though, so can they call me and give me a rough time? I have the day off of work, but I have stuff to do including school runs as well as God knows what else.
“They won’t be able to give you a time I’m afraid, all they will do is call you thirty minutes before they get there.”
Well, that’s terrible customer service. But I re-iterated, they will call thirty minutes beforehand so I have some small window to get back from wherever I am?
“Yes, yes they will.”
The next day rolled around. With four tired, grumpy kids to get up, fed, dressed and to school by 9am I couldn’t worry about whether the delivery men would turn up at 8 am, but the fact that I got to 8.30am without a phone call meant that I could relax about them turning up when I was at the school gates.
I skipped my morning coffee at Costa and instead pottered about at home, slowly going mad as the clock skipped minute to minute, hour to hour, driving me insane.
By the time 1 pm came along, I was bored enough to go out, figuring that if I stayed local, the thirty-minute warning call would give me enough time to get back. I wandered outside and saw a Stellisons van sitting opposite. There was no-one inside, and I wondered if they were doing another delivery locally, which would have been a coincidence.
I went to the car and spent ten minutes farting about clearing out the inside, figuring there was no point going anywhere if I was going to be called straight back. After a few minutes, my phone rang and sure enough it was Stellisons.
“We’re down your road, but we can’t find your address.”
“I can see you,” I replied, “stay there and I’ll come and get you.”
I wandered over the road and saw the driver.
“I was expecting a call thirty minutes before you got here?” I asked.
“I don’t know anything about that - That sounds like the sort of thing they say in the office without telling us.”
“I was told that it was something you did for every delivery?”
“No. Not something I’ve ever done.”
I sighed. “Were you told that it’s on the second floor?”
“No, but that’s not unusual to be honest.”
“Your firm are shit,” I said, noting there was no correction from either installer, who simply asked where the flat was.
Fortunately, the machine was brought upstairs and swapped without incident at all. The men were quick, polite and friendly, and got things done with the minimum of fuss and less than an hour after they arrived, they were gone and I had a washing machine working for the first time in nearly a month.
However, being given a ten-hour window in this day and age is not good enough, and it’s even worse that the promise of a 30-minute pre-call fell through.
There are plenty of companies vying for business these days, and I dare say that most electrical goods companies could give a better indication of a delivery time, so I’m surprised that a fairly small company like Stellisons, which are normally the type of companies that are small enough to offer a more friendly and personable service, yet it was these details that they failed on so badly.