The New Normal in Customer Expectations: When Two-Day Delivery Doesn’t Cut It Anymore

Posted On May 5, 2015
By Tim Douek

Last week, I spilled a cup of coffee on my laptop.  I know, I know, I feel like a klutz!

I did what we all do in these situations…  I panicked!  (Note: I’m making myself feel better here. We’ve all fried a company laptop at some point, right?)

OK… breathe.

Unplug power cord – check.

Hold laptop upside-down – check.

Remove battery – check.

Pray – check.

So after mopping up as much of the offending liquid as I could, I left it to dry- hoping upon hope that, when I tried restarting it, all would be well.  Which it was.  Kind of. 

The system booted.  “Rockin’!” I can log in.  My files are all there.  “PHEW!”

But my keyboard is only semi-functional.  Ever tried working without a spacebar?  Yeah, not good.

“Arrrghhhh!”  It’s Thursday night, I have work to do and I’m travelling to visit a client on Monday.  What do I do? 

May - Tim - Blog Graphic (5)

Here’s a tip: USB keyboards.  You probably have one lying around the house somewhere leftover from the DBMB (days before mobile devices).  Plug it in; good to go.  But I still need to replace my broken keyboard, preferably before the weekend if I want to avoid having to lug a full-size keyboard to a meeting and thus be forced to admit, in person, my klutziness.

Friday morning: keyboard still on the fritz. 

OK, time to bite the bullet.  Google search.

Lots of replacements available: all original, all brand new, all around the same price. 

Delivery ETA: 6 weeks. 

6 Weeks?  Are you kidding me?!  OK… Think.  What other options could there be?

”Amazon,” I think.  “They sell everything, right?” 

Search for keyboard. They have it. 

Delivery options:  2 days… OK. Oh, wait! ”Same day delivery.” That sounds even better.

For an extra $5.99, I could have my new keyboard by lunchtime. “Amazing,” I think.

One click, order, done.

As if by magic, there is a knock on my door a few hours later, and a guy hands me my new keyboard. Amazing. Thanks, Amazon! He explains that there is a delivery depot in Delaware and that a number of people who are contracted by Amazon arrive in their own cars several times a day to pick up a bunch of packages and deliver them within a 100-mile or so radius.

Not only am I delighted to have my new keyboard, but I’m staggered by the ease and speed with which my issue was resolved.  Think back just a couple of years: this incident would have taken a lot longer than 12 hours to resolve and would have cost me a lot more than $60 for the new part.  Apart from the pleasant chat I had with the person who delivered my item, I didn’t even need to speak to a single human being to get what I needed. No favors, no special requests, no pleading! I needed it, the option to get it quicker was offered, click, done.

As if by magic, there is a knock on my

But think too about what this new service delivery model does to us as consumers.  Before this event, I was perfectly happy with 2-day delivery, but, frankly, I’m done with that!  From now on, it’s same-day or nothing!

We’ve all heard about Amazon’s drones (soon enough…) and Pick-Up services.  In some markets, they are even offering “Amazon Prime Now,” a same-hour delivery service for essential items.  Uber is gearing up with rival offerings along with Google, eBay, Walmart and others, and it all makes perfect sense.  We didn’t even know we needed this level of instant gratification until folks started offering us these services, but now that we have them, there is no going back.

We all know that savvy businesses are putting customers at the heart of everything they do, but nothing has captured the essence of Customer Experience excellence so perfectly for me in a long while.  It was exceptional yesterday, but guess what? After I finish this blog post, I’ll be over it, and I will just EXPECT it in the future.

And that’s the whole point.  It might be only a few companies innovating and pushing the Customer Experience envelope so extremely and so single-mindedly, but it doesn’t take many companies to re-shape how we, as consumers, EXPECT to be treated.  That’s the environment ALL companies are in today.  That’s what we are all up against when we think about building strong relationships with our customers.  Welcome to the new normal.