There’s just 5 sleeps to go until Christmas.
And whilst we are all tucked up in bed on that fifth and final night before the big day, we all know that our presents will be delivered.
Santa, Father Christmas, St Nicholas… whatever you call the large chap with the white beard and red suit will squeeze himself down an untold number of chimneys to make sure that folk got their gifts.
But what if he didn’t?!
I am only making a point, so don’t start spiraling into a pre-Christmas depression just yet. Can you imagine the horror though?
Christmas is probably personally responsible for the most emotive user experiences had by people around the globe throughout the year.
Emotional because people love shopping. Or because people hate shopping. Emotional because a fight – or at least some verbal abusing throwing – will take place far too regularly over the festive period because of depleted stocks in stores. And even more emotional as people hurl abusive customer comments at customer feedback management teams across the country because of product unavailability and more.
I could go on. But you get my drift.
Someone should remake the song that contains the line ‘It’s the most wonderful time, of the year’ but replace the wonderful with something else. Maybe emotional? Stressful? Worrying? Traumatic? Expensive? The possibilities are endless.
If Santa didn’t turn up…. Well, people would simply find somewhere even more remote than Lapland and send him into exile. Or go all Game of Thrones and behead him. Either way, it would be unpleasant.
And not just unpleasant for poor Santa.
Think of the parents who would have to deal with broken-hearted Rugrats when they realised their stockings were empty.
It just doesn’t bear thinking about.
We wouldn’t forgive Father Christmas…
So, should we forgive Amazon when they start playing Santa (or God) and decide it’s clearly okay for them to screw up Christmas for people?
Not bloomin’ likely!
In case you’ve been buried in wrapping paper or are getting a head start and have been stuck with your hands inside the cavity of the poor unfortunately soul that’s going to be the centerpiece of your Christmas feast, here’s the lowdown.
Basically, the Advertising Standards Authority are watching Amazon like a hawk and the online shopping giant may well end up facing an investigation for failing to deliver on their promises.
In a nutshell, Amazon is falling short. Opt for free standard delivery and you probably wouldn’t have much of a leg to stand on… we all know that deliveries take longer at this time of year.
But not to worry, because on the checkout page, Amazon is offering a free 30-day trial of their express delivery service, which normally costs £7.99 a month. (Some idiot clearly didn’t think about free trial and Christmas in the same sentence)
And if that doesn’t appeal – for fear of forgetting to cancel and being stuck with a monthly subscription you don’t want – there is always Amazon Prime. Those who pay the annual fee for the Prime Privilege can apparently order right up until Saturday for Christmas delivery.
Of course, there’s the small print saying that “your order will be dispatched with the intention that it’s delivered one day after dispatch”. They also tell you to contact customer services if the parcel doesn’t land when it’s supposed to.
But what do you do then, especially if you have left your gift buying until the last minute?
You’re not telling me that the Amazon warehouse is going to be full of elves who will work tirelessly to fulfil undelivered orders into the wee small hours of Christmas morning.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep..
The thing is though, it’s not just the extreme last-minute shoppers that are taking a risk. People are already stamping their feet because Amazon deliveries are not showing up on schedule.
User feedback from one disgruntled consumer who took to Twitter to air her grievances said that three orders were delivered late and one didn’t turn up at all! All within the space of one week.
Basically, it’s a breach of contract and you are well within your rights to terminate the purchase and get a full refund. Though that doesn’t help if it leaves you without essential Christmas gifts.
Will your Uncle really survive without his socks, or Grandma without another mug?!
And as if that wasn’t enough, people are complaining about Amazon’s Prime advertising.
A recent mailer sent out to try and sell existing Amazon users a prime membership apparently wasn’t clear. It didn’t spell out that a paid subscription would automatically start if not cancelled before the free trial ended.
Consumer satisfaction is of paramount importance if you want to stay in business. Sure, the giants such as Amazon tend to wheedle their way out of these corners. But that isn’t the case for smaller companies.
As a user experience agency, we will tell you something for nothing. If you make a promise to your customers, keep it. Of course, things do go wrong from time to time, especially at crazy season.
So, make sure you have contingency plans. Or be honest upfront if things are looking sketchy.
Don’t promise the moon if you’re not going to get further than Clapham Junction.
Value consumer feedback and make use of customer experience monitoring expertise from the likes of us here at The Monachie Project. Your customers will thank you for it and your business – when you see it through your consumers’ eyes – will benefit from it.
And whatever you do, don’t be responsible for delaying Christmas!