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After over 300 Years in business, They Couldn’t Figure Out that Postal Strikes Might Affect Their Customers?? (An object lesson for Real Estate Agents in attentive customer service)

Dec 01, 2018



Black Friday was drawing near, and impulse was about to lead me into a mistake.
The sale was so big and the offer so tempting, I was defenseless against its powers.

My office vacuum had gone kaput that week, and I’d been on the hunt for replacement parts. Unfortunately, the thing was so old they didn’t make parts for it anymore. Time to buy new.

“Honey!” Cheryl called out from behind a flyer, “There’s a one-day sale at Hudsons Bay... $200 off a Dyson vacuum!”

I’d read about the Dyson in consumer reports, and knew they were rated very well, but I felt they were overpriced. I mean, best in the world or not, it’s still just a vacuum.  I looked over the ad. Not only was the thing 30% off, but they were also offering a bundle of attachments with it, that were worth another couple hundred dollars. It was value of unprecedented proportions.

Normally we ordered whatever we needed from Amazon. They’ve delivered high quality customer service every. single. time. Even when they made mistakes, they made it right. As a result, I might just be the most loyal customer they have. But. This time…. The deal was so good, I had to go for it. Besides, it was Hudsons Bay. They’d been in business for over 300 years. That had to be evidence that they were doing something right, right?

“Let’s do it.” I said.

“I’m on it!” Cheryl placed the online order that day.

“Good thing we ordered!” Cheryl messaged me later that day, “They’re sold out!”

The first clue something was wrong was the confirmation on our receipt. Expected arrival of the vacuum: Monday, Nov 19th. But they were sending our vacuum through Canada Post. Even though nationwide rotating postal strikes had been announced, and everyone in Canada was hunkering down for some mailing mishaps, Hudsons Bay still decided to plow ahead, steady as she goes, into the dark and mysterious waters of uncertain shipping? 

Maybe we’d get our product, maybe it would be dramatically delayed. I guess it wasn’t their problem. They had our money; I guess that was the important part.

I cringed and filed the receipt away, hoping I was wrong and all would be well.


Days later we got an updated email that basically communicated, “Hey, guess what. You know how we were going to give you your stuff on Monday? Just kidding! We’re changing it to Thursday now.” Days later, another message. “Just kidding! Next Tuesday. No really. You’ll get it then. What’s the matter, don’t you trust me?”


“Cheryl, let’s pull up the tracking on this thing and see where it actually is.” I said.

We tapped keys and it showed the travel history of our Dyson vacuum since the day we ordered it.

Day 1: order placed online in Winnipeg. Item immediately ships from Mississauga, ON.

Day 6: the vacuum has been shipped all the way across tarnation to Calgary. The piece was either flown or trucked right past the city in which we live, past our front door for all I know, missing us by a province and a half.  Goodbye, vacuum… see you soon. (we hope)! 

Day 10: the package is now shipped back to Winnipeg,

Day 14: our item is still in the Winnipeg facility, mere miles from our floor that desperately needs vacuuming. 

It finally came but according to the online tracking it sat for 4 days in the Winnipeg Canada Post facility. 

It does make me think about customer service in general (and, not shopping at Hudsons Bay ever again in particular)  

Even though the rolling Canada Post strike had been announced, Hudson's Bay chose to ship through them anyway. That tells me something about their care and respect of consumers. (To compare, Amazon has changed shipping provideors  three times in the last number of years in search of a company that can deliver up to their standards of excellence.)

As always, it makes me think of how we in the real estate industry are serving our clients. Do we offer what we offer just because that’s what we’ve always offered? Or do we add new skills, technologies and services to our toolbox to improve the experience of our clientele and the real estate shopping public. 

We need to be attentive to our clients’ needs. Especially these days, in the on-demand consumer culture we have. No one has the monopoly anymore. I could have gotten a Dyson vacuum from a number of different places. (That time, I chose to buy because of the added value. Usually I choose based on the excellence of service I receive.)


Real estate agents don’t have the monopoly either. Homeowners and homebuyers have a lot of options. Attentive service with the "I care attitude" however, is the major difference we can offer.

What does that look like for you?   



Category: Customer Service

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