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Customer Service on Backorder

December 2, 2020 By The Reman Wingman Leave a comment
Customer Service on Backorder

Recently, I ordered new kitchen appliances from a local appliance store and experienced some of the worst customer service. Ever.

How it started:

We ordered our appliances and set our delivery date.  We asked them twice to make sure these were not going to be on backorder.  The sales rep confirmed, “Nothing is on backorder and there will be no problem hitting our delivery date.” We scheduled delivery for 1 month out because we were having our kitchen remodeled.   Two weeks before the due date, I called again to confirm the delivery date (couldn’t be more proactive if I tried!) and our sales rep said, “No problem, they will be delivered on time.”

The day of delivery came, and we received 2 of the 4 appliances.  I asked the delivery guy, “Where are the other appliances?” 

He told me they were on backorder.

At that time, I called my sales rep and was unable to get a hold of him.  I left a voicemail and sent a text message. Later that day he replied that he was looking into it.  The next two days came and went with the same story.  We still did not have an ETA or any idea when we would receive our shipment.  So, we called the store and a different sales rep was able to tell us within minutes our appliances were on backorder until February.

Now, 4 days after the delivery date, we were seeking answers.  We finally got our sales guy back on the phone and he was still seeking a better ETA on our backordered appliances but did state we could upgrade our appliances for free.  We thought finally, at least we are getting some help. It took us 3 additional days for him to get back to us with our options, but he finally got back to us… with downgraded options he stated were “free upgrades.”  We could see the models/pricing on the website.

We made the decision to go with the downgraded options and got them at a reduced cost. Two and a half weeks past our delivery date, we finally received the rest of our order.

We were not as mad at the “backorder” as much of the lack of overall communication and effort from our sales guy.  We get it, things go on backorder especially this year. The day our appliances did not show up we should have received an answer. This way, if they were on backorder, we could have attempted to find a quicker solution.  A good question from the sales rep would have been, “When do you need them?” “Are you interested in looking at other in-stock options?”  Had he spent the time in the beginning and addressed the issue – instead of ignoring the problem and us – he would have saved himself time dealing with my calls, plus potentially could have turned a bad situation into a customer service success story.

You cannot control production delays or backorders or parts delays. What you can always control is your communication with your customer.  Be upfront about the situation and provide accurate information.  Ask questions to understand how you can best help, and come up with alternate options if possible. Work for your customer; after all, they are the reason you have a job.

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