The frustration caused by inconsistency

I ordered a Lenovo ultra-book 11 days ago. I spoke to their sales department immediately after and was assured shipment within a week with delivery within 2-3 days of shipment.

A week later, I called them up and was told that the new shipment date was a week later. Oh, and the new delivery date would be delayed by another week as the new shipment would be from China.
Okay, in that case, could I change my shipping address? Apparently not – because I had used Amazon Payments to process my order. No address changes for me.
Alright, if that’s the case, can I cancel my order? Yes. Absolutely. No problem.

Of course, that wasn’t the end of the matter. I get an email a few hours later from Lenovo that the order can’t be cancelled in time at this stage. The shipping will likely proceed as initially planned. Once it does arrive, I’ll have to give Lenovo a call and they’ll explain the next few steps involving receiving shipping labels and then shipping it back to them.

And, after all this, I get a shipping notification the next day (3 days after the original date and 3 days before the new estimate). I have no clue if the cancellation will reach in time. At this point, I’ve stopped trying to guess.

In the meanwhile, I ordered a newer version of the same ultra book from the Microsoft store and had it shipped to me within a day.

You know the big issue with all this? It’s simple – consistency. How could this have been avoided?

1. Set a realistic ship date and over deliver – e.g. when I ordered my first iPhone, Apple assured me that it would take 3 weeks. I received it in 2.5 weeks and was absolutely delighted.
2. Train customer service folk to take ownership. The way to do this is to avoid phrases that put the blame to other departments and focus on phrases like – “I’ll follow this up for you and get back to you.”

A combination of realistic expectations and trained customer service would ensure some amount of consistency between interactions. And, as customers and people, we can take consistent delay (because we begin to expect it) but it is inconsistency that frustrates.

PS: Lenovo, it’s a bad sign if your partners are able to ship your stuff better than you. Thank you for the learnings though! :-)