Tesco – How “systems” get in the way of a good CX


It’s been a few years since I buy my groceries at Tesco.com, and so far I have no complaints. It’s easy to search and buy on the mobile app, they are always on time and drivers are very nice.

Truth is, several times, drivers would call me asking where was the building, which I would find strange. Some time ago it happened again. And this time the driver said “it would be easier if the address had the building name“.

I double-check my account details. In fact, it had the flat number, street and post code, but not the building name. When trying to amend, I realised I couldn’t as the post code lookup would only bring up the flat number.

So I decided to contact Tesco, by chat (in my opinion the most convenient assisted channel). James, the customer service agent, was very nice but could not resolve my issue. Why? Guess… because of the “systems”.

You can see for yourself on the screenshot above. James told me that he could not amend my address manually, that it would take 4 to 6 weeks for the IT team to fix it, and that I needed to make note on the “delivery instructions” field.

The consequence of this response is obvious…

  • Staff Experience Decrease – No freedom to resolve customer’s issue; Frustration; Irritation.
  • Efficiency Reduction – Driver going in circles and taking more time to find the delivery address.
  • Increased Costs – Driver forced to call customer in order to confirm delivery address.
  • Customer Effort Increase – Customer required to replicate same comment in every order.

This will make Tesco deliver a poorer Customer Experience. Not only for the concerned customer (in this case, me) but also to other customers who are waiting for their orders. When their turn comes, the driver is already delayed and stressed.

Notice that this started with a very simple query: Can I (or you, Tesco) change my address? Something that is mundane and, I’m sure, a very frequent request from customers. How can the answer be so complicated? (and 4 to 6 weeks, really?!)

Important to say that it is not the system’s fault. The responsibility lies on those people who designed and implemented processes and systems, in a way that it does not allow an agent to resolve the simplest of the requests.

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