I purchased a Bike from the specialized bike shop in Kingston via the cycle to work scheme that my company runs (where you can basically purchase a bike tax free as the company makes the deductions from your salary before it gets taxed).
Initially the signs were good and the staff were helpful, talking to me about the different bikes, helping me choose one and then taking my details and ordering the bike. So far, so good, happy days.
After placing the order for the bike I was told it would be about 5 weeks or so before it arrived - a bit long I thought but it's that's how it is, then fair enough. 6 weeks later, after no contact from the shop at all, I popped into the store and asked if the bike had arrived and was told that it would be another 2 weeks, and sure enough 2 weeks later it arrived - 8 weeks after it was ordered. By the time the bike had arrived the weather had changed and was now getting a bit wet and windy so when I went to pick it up I asked if I could buy some mudguards and get them fitted - sure, no problem, lets pick a suitable set for you, was the general theme of the response and once again a member of staff helped me to choose a suitable set of mudguards.
We don't have them in stock at the moment the chap said, whilst holding them in his hand, so we'll have to order them for you (a brief chat followed which went along the lines of "but they are in your hand" - "oh no, these ones have been reserved" - "oh, ok, fair enough") . So it was agreed that they would call me when the mudguards arrived so that I could bring the bike back for them to be fitted, which would be " a couple of weeks".
10 weeks later I popped back into the shop to enquire about the mudguards that I had actually paid for when I picked the bike up 10 weeks earlier (lets not forget the bike initially took 8 weeks to arrive). "Oh yes, we have them in stock" came the very pleasant reply (clearly oblivious of any perception that not contacting me, as agreed 10 weeks ago, might be considered to be, shall we say, a bit sloppy?) . Well ok then, says I (with the benefit of hindsight, rather niaively) when can I bring the bike in to have them fitted? - what time is best for you, the chap asked - next weekend, I said - ok, bring it then and we'll pop them on for you. Marvellous I thought as I walked away.
The following weekend I took my bike back to the shop and started a wonderful conversation with a chap who clearly viewed me as a bit of an inconvenience. We can't fit them now for you, when could you bring the bike back, he asked - next Saturday, I replied - we can't do Saturday, we are fully booked, he stated, what about during the week? - I work from 8am to 7pm during the week and don't get home until 8pm at the earliest on weekdays, said I - OK, we are open late on Thursday, he helpfully suggested - how late, I enquired - until 8pm, he said - but I won't be able to get here with the bike for 8pm as I don't get home til 8pm at the earliest, so can I leave it here now so that you can fit them when you can and call me when it's done? - we don't have the space for you to leave the bike here. A bIt of a stoney silenece then followed. Tell you what, leave it here for now and we'll do it on Saturday for you, he somewhat reluctantly said as the last tumbleweed rolled by - great, and can you call me when it's done? - Yes, no problem. All sorted????
3 weeks later I received an email saying that my bike was ready, so that weekend I headed down to pick it up. I'me here to collect my bike as it's had mudguards fitted, I confidently stated - ok, can I take your details, said the chap, who then went off in search of my bike only to return and point out that the bike was on the stand behind me and had a note atached to it saying the mudguards had indeed NOT been fitted, which prompted him to say, Oh, it doesn't appear to have been done - so why did I get an email to say it had been done, 2 weeks later than when it should have actually been done? - I'm not sure what's happened there, tell you want, I'll take it through to get our chap to do it for you now if that's ok, it'll only take 10 minutes, he said - ok, I said.
45 minutes later, after much pacing up and down the shop on my part, a chap finnaly appeared with my bike and asked, are you waiting for this bike - to which I replied, yes - well it's all done for you now here you go, he said - and that was the end of the matter as I took my bike and left.
So how long did it take all in all - 21 weeks (and 45 minutes!). Did anyone apologise at any stage for any of the delays - no. Did anyone apologise for the incorrect email being sent to me, no. Did anyone call me when they said they'd call me - no. Did anyone from this shop do anything pro-actively, at all, to make my experience a good one in terms of customer service or the management of my expectations - no. Looking back, do I find the whole experience to be so farcical that it's actually quite amusing - absolutely!! ...but would I go there again?????
Gents, if any of you in the shop are reading this I would say that your knowledge of bikes seems to be second to none and I applaud you for that as you really do all seem to know what you are talking about. Your knowledge (and corresponding treatment of) people, however, seems to be far less impressive.
The incorrect email, the lack of any calls, the consatnt delays - 21 weeks for a bike (admitedly with the added complications of mudguards), really, does that sound right to you?
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All feedback is important to us, good and bad and we thank you for taking the time to give us such a detailed report of your experience. Unfortunately it would appear we have really failed to give you high level of the customer that we strive to deliver and we truly apologise for that.
We have had a new computer system installed at both our stores and it would appear that you order had been caught up in this transition leading to delays, however we should have kept you informed as to what was happening and the mudguards should have been sorted out without delay. Now that this new system is in place we can assure you that our ability to track customer orders has greatly improved as have our levels of efficiency and communication.
We have contacted you directly by email to offer a more personal apology and offer some compensation, we hope we may have the opportunity in the future to prove that your recent experience is not typical of the service that the Concept Store offers. Thank you.