Appliances Online – Awesome End-to-End Customer Experience

As a Product Manager I tend to be a very critical consumer, so when a business provides a product or service that impresses me you can be sure that its something special.

In Brief:

Appliances Online delivered the gold standard of what online retailing (or retailing in general) should be.

  • Easy to use online tools that allow customers to find the products that they need.
  • No barriers to purchase.
  • Accessible, well informed and friendly telephone sales/support staff.
  • Outstanding service from the delivery staff that reinforces the positive experience rather than compromising it.

With an online retailer like this, department stores should look out. I made this purchase in the heart of the post Christmas sales and didn’t have to battle traffic and crowds to do it. As Product Managers we should not only focus on improving the online experience but every touch point the customer comes in contact with.

Online Experience:

I had been having a frustrating experience with our old Electrolux washing machine and over the Christmas period I reached my frustration limit and jumped online to find out how much a replacement machine would cost.

The Appliances Online site came up after looking at a few comparison shopping sites with competitive prices. Once I arrived on their site the experience was very simple yet very comprehensive. This is not something that happens by accident.

I was looking for a front loading washing machine that was specifically not an Electrolux. I was able to achieve this exclusion with their easy to use search filters, that included price range, product features, and door hinge side.

I was also impressed with the results that were displayed since these included a clear picture, the price with the saving relative to the recommended retail price, and the machine’s energy and water ratings. The results could be sorted by high or low price, brand or most purchased. I used the “most purchased” option because I liked the idea of other people doing the research for me.

Once I found the machine that met my requirements I double checked the price across a number of comparison sites, including factory seconds sites. So now it was time to get serious about a purchase.

Phone Sales Experience:

While I could have easily completed the purchase online, I wanted to find out what they did with the old washing machine. Would they take it away? Would they recycle it? I didn’t want it becoming landfill if possible.

Their phone number and contact information was easy to find on their site and their recorded messages were professional yet uniquely personable while I waited for an available sales person to answer. The sales person was able to answer all of my questions easily, as well as asking me some questions about my intended purchase to ensure that I would be buying the most appropriate product for my needs. This resulted in an up sell to a slightly more expensive model but still at a competitive price.

He was able to take the payment over the phone, process the order and send an email confirmation while I was on the phone, and more importantly schedule a delivery for the following day for free! The entire process from initial online searches to confirmed order had taken me no more than 30 minutes. Amazing.

Delivery Experience:

So far the bar had been raised very high by the online and phone experience so it was going to require an outstanding delivery experience just to continue to meet my expectations. Well I was not disappointed.

The clean and professional delivery team arrived right on time within the 2 hour delivery window that had been agreed during the purchase. The washing machine was unpacked in their truck, so no packaging was scattered around the place. They efficiently wheeled it in and collected the old unit. Within 10 mins the new washer was connected, plugged in and tested ready to wash.

To top of this excellent service I was provided with a short instruction on how to use the machine on the most common cycles.

Closing:

Have you had any similar experiences where all of the different parts of a customer experience exceeded your expectations? Share them in the comments.