I’ve been a Fresh Direct customer since 2002, spending tens of thousands of dollars on weekly orders averaging $125. Sure the prices are high, but they’re competitive. After all, this is New York City. They bring good quality groceries to your door in a two-hour time slot. And you used to be able to order your groceries the day before and not have to worry about getting them when you wanted them.
Then, a few months ago, it began to take as much as three days to reserve a delivery, and even then, you couldn’t always get your groceries when you wanted them. Eventually, a rather pathetic email arrived all about their problems, which apparently included immigration issues. Sorry to hear that, but the only email I wanted is the one that said, “from now on, we’ll guarantee that your can get your groceries the next day.” Then, last week, exactly that email arrived. Sadly, the promise wasn’t kept.
Like I’m sure a lot of other Fresh Direct customers had done: I’ve been begging rides to grocery stores in New Jersey for the past couple of months. Or I’d take a taxi home from Fresh Direct’s arch rival, Fairway (where you pick out your own gorgeous and much cheaper vegetables and fruit but you gotta schlep them home.)
Fresh Direct’s promise
Now it’s months later, and email came the other day saying, basically, we heard you and we guarantee next day delivery for our chef’s table customers. Not only that, it said, but we have a bunch of incentives, like a 15% discount on meat, for you to try our renewed service. So I placed an order. Hey, I really do want to love Fresh Direct again.But when I went to check out, there were no slots left for tomorrow. I called customer service and was told nobody could help me arrange delivery for Sunday. She said a supervisor would call me tomorrow. But all I want for tomorrow is my groceries, not a conversation about why I wouldn’t get them.
Not being one to accept defeat quietly, I placed the order for Monday and sent an email to Steve Michaelson, Fresh Direct’s president, complaining about the experience.
Lo and Behold! Is it magic?
When I went to take a screen shot of the page that says order by 11 p.m., i noticed that, magically, two delivery slots for tomorrow had opened up. Website issues? Customer service error? Why should I care. All I care about is my groceries.
So I changed my order and now I’m getting my groceries tomorrow, as I wanted. But I’m not happy. My time was wasted, and either the website or the customer service people are screwed up.
How many times can it be noted that it’s the little things that count. God is, indeed, in the details. And if Fresh DIrect doesn’t pay very, very close attention to details, bad customer service will cause their demise.
When I did publicity for Stew Leonard’s many moons ago, Stew Sr used to say that in order to understand the true value of each customer, employees need to look at him or her as someone worth the $50K or more they will spend in the store over the long term if they are happy there.
So look at me, Fresh Direct, I represent a lot of your customers who undoubtedly are also disappointed. Please, do something about this. I want to love Fresh Direct, really I do.