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Customer Service ... Maybe Virgin Wine's Is OK After All!

I recently "roasted" Virgin Wines for my Xmas experience, ordering wine for my family that arrived long after New Years, never mind Xmas. This was not the only experience of online shopping that did not go so well this Xmas and the point of the blog entries was to highlight the shortfall in the experience and to note that if online shopping is not a good customer experience then the potential for all online vendors will not be realized.

Back to Virgin ... they handled things badly up front, set expectations that were not met (several times) and affected me at a personal level because I let down my family. This exacerbated a situation that under other circumstances would have been just another poor experience, but not such a big deal.

Virgin try to make the experience a good one for their clients. They try to anticipate some of the issues around delivery and will even replace items that are delivered but stolen before the client gets home! Their website is easy to navigate and the wine choices are good. They even provide tasting notes for the wines. They do say that 99% of customers receive their orders within a week ... obviously they can say what they like, my order took about 3 weeks. However if I search the web looking for people with negative experiences with Virgin Wines I could not find many (in fact only one other).

- Virgin refunded me in full for the delivery, and still delivered the wine.
- They did not call me names for posting negative articles about them!
- Today I received a personal email of apology from the founder and CEO.

They probably could not do anything more ... but maybe if I was in their shoes I might learn from this.

Other sites that I use online have a much more comprehensive means of tracking shipments.
Other sites are more proactive about potential difficulties in shipping.
If Virgin had fully accepted responsibility and offered a refund up front then my expectations might have been better set.
If their customer service had used the right words it might have made a difference.
Even the CEO's email suggests that I was "unlucky", which probably could have been worded a little better.

Am I being too picky? I know when I have a poor experience I try to relate it to my own company. Do we make the same mistakes? Do we accept responsibility when we should? Are we doing any better? Can I learn from this other company's experience?

So ... Virgin is clearly a company that is trying to do the right thing. When all is said and done I could not have reasonably expected any more from them. If they can take away a few small lessons and get to be an even better company in a market space that has lots of competition and where service will differentiate then this will have been a good thing. If I truly was an exceptionally unlucky minority ... then they also got unlucky because I published this all online! So ... I hereby officially "soften" my stance on Virgin Wines, I think their heart is in the right place and therefore they will succeed!