Customer Experience: Inconsistency is your worst enemy

Brands are having a very difficult time delivering a consistent customer experience over time and over various channels. Nike is not an exception to this well known fact.

I have been a fan of Nike products quite some time now. I wrote a blog post on Nike on 1st of April 2013, and applauded them on their new and innovative products. On my trip to London, I checked out Niketown on 19th of July 2014, and asked them how I could get the wristband on my Nike Running Watch with GPS fixed. The wristband ripped partially in two places. The watch is still operational, however and I just wanted to replace the wristband, if possible.

I was hopeful when I posed this question to the first Nike sales representative I saw on the ground floor. He said to go up to the running floor and show them the wristband and they would replace it. I was not expecting this. I was ready to pay for a replacement wristband.

I was skeptical that I would get a replacement. I went upstairs, and talked to another sales rep. This rep took me to see the manager. The manager asked me for proof of purchase. I said I bought this product in the USA. It has been about a year, could have been more. I was not sure I knew where the receipt was. At the end of a quick conversation, we concluded a credit card statement printout would be enough. I said I can get this online back at the hotel, however I said it could have been more than a year since the purchase date, and I asked “would it still work”. The manager in charge said “Bring it in”.

Wondering where this will lead to, I went back to the hotel, printed a copy of the credit card statement and went back to Niketown the next day. It had been about 1.5 years, since the purchase.

I went to the running floor. They directed me to Customer Service on another floor. I talked to a guy there. He asked me what the warranty period was on the watch. I said I didn’t know. He also asked me how much I paid for it. I said I didn’t exactly remember, I had purchased many products on the same receipt , but it was probably about 150 USD. He said replacement is not possible, the information I received was incorrect. He asked me to describe the people I talked to when I first came. He explained that the best he can do was to take 150 USD purchase price and convert it to GBP and use it as credit toward the purchase of a new Running Watch with a GPS. This meant that I had to pay more than 60 GBP to get a new watch, after I returned the watch that already worked with a half-broken wristband.

There was no other option for me. No replacement wristband, no repair, nothing. For those of you who don’t know the watch very well, the wristband is thick rubber. And it has a USB port built-in, therefore it is hard to replace the wristband.

I asked for the manager, however the response was the same. He said that the new watch had new software and features, therefore it was normal that I would have to pay a difference. He pointed out that it had been a year and a half. I asked him whether that meant that it is OK that the wristband is ripping and he said it was not.

To make the long story short, Nike got me into thinking I will get a replacement although I had no expectation of it, got me working on a process that they did not have, and cost me hours off of my vacation time. In the end, they turned me into a dissatisfied customer, who does not want to shop at Nike any more, and does not want to use the Nike Running portal any more.

Inconsistency is the worst enemy of customer experience and customer service. Brands are having a very difficult time delivering a consistent customer experience over time and over various channels. Apparently, they even have issues delivering the same experience over various floors of a big store.

Customer Experience is about designing processes and deliberate experiences and delivering them consistently over time and over various touch points. Best intentions can end up in worst experiences, when operational excellence is lacking.

If you work in customer experience or customer service, I challenge you to test your service and see for yourself.

To read a good customer experience example, consider reading this post.

Engin Utkan


Note: I am not associated with Nike in any way. I write my personal opinion on personal blog posts. I do not represent the company I work for on this medium.



Salesforce Certified Consultant

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store