customer experience rant

I shop with Ocado…online of course, because they are an online supermarket. I am happy in almost every respect with their products and service ‘except’…. When I go to pay for my groceries the security verification page won’t load. Well…. occasionally it does. Sometimes I ring them up and they put the order through by hand… most often I give up in disgust and pay with paypal as it’s quicker.

Over the last four months or so they’ve told me helpful things like: ‘try another browser’ – which I refuse to do ….firefox is a really common browser and your system should be able to cope with it.

‘delete your cookies’ …. I’ve ‘sometimes’ been allowed to access the page after doing this and sometimes not so it’s not my cookie stash and even if it is and as it’s sites like Ocado that fill my cache in the first place and their site should work no matter how many cookies I have in my cache….as every other site on the internet seems to be able to work.

‘sign out and sign in again’ – this one I’ve tried several times as it smacks of ‘turn it off and turn it on again’ which as any fule nos is the number one rule when having problems with computers…I’ve watched the IT crowd and so I’ve done this and once it appeared to work and a few times it didn’t. It also worked once when I rang up to pay and got one of the Ocado employees to do it…. and once it didn’t.

The security verification page loads with every single site I use to buy things online EXCEPT Ocado. My suspicion is, therefore, that the problem lies with Ocado. So the other day when I did my online shop and the page verification worked immediately on Ocado’s ‘Fetch’ site (animal food and stuff) and then refused to work on their actual food site five minutes later. I wrote them an email. Checking it’s content with Al – who knows a bit about software – before I sent it.

Today they got back to me and their customer service team started to tell me all the things I already know and wanting me to try all the things I’ve tried before and that the only option, beyond that, is for me to go to my bank and ask them to check why the security page won’t load. I explained again that I’ve tried everything they have suggested so far (except changing my browser because if they can’t even manage to support firefox they can bugger off) and that theirs is the ONLY site this happens with and their fixes never consistently result in the page loading – suggests it is not a problem at my or my banks end but at their end.

The customer service lady went away and asked her supervisor what the next step is and came back and said the only course of action is for me to contact my bank.

Did you tell your supervisor it’s intermittent and it works everywhere else on the internet?


So i told her with all due respect that her supervisor worked in customer relations and knows nothing about IT but SHOULD be aware of ‘customer experience’…and the experience I was having was shit – because they aren’t listening to my problem just feeding me through their process. (Thanks to living with Jane for a decade I know this is a ‘bad’ thing).

Not only am i expected to use the ‘right’ browser and empty my cookie cache at a point where they presume ‘their software’ can’t cope… I am now being asked to spend an inordinate amount of time going through the thirty-second level of Hades which is contacting my bank. I’d say that puts the onus for sorting this problem, fair and square on my (the customer) shoulders. This shouldn’t be necessary.

Every other shopping site on the internet provides me with a working shopping experience… so why is it down to me to do all the running to make it work with Ocado? She also wouldn’t be drawn on whether this was a common problem…although a couple of times their phone operators have said it is.

So…follow that conversation with 15 minutes on my banking site of trying to make the ‘talk to Olivia’ bot…or whatever she is understand a simple written question…ten minutes of searching their site trying to find a more effective method of communication…. five minutes going through security questions on the phone before falling at the ‘whats your telephone banking number’ hurdle…. and then another ten minutes on internet banking finding where to write and then writing an email to them…. and I’m totally and utterly fucked off. Meanwhile in the middle of all this my food order arrived… yet another totally helpful, friendly Ocado driver and lots of lovely food (plus some catnip bubbles – who knew such a thing existed)?….I ‘really’ want to carry on shopping with Ocado.

update. (wednesday) My bank of course after making me think of another telephone security number tell me there are no blocks on my card, there are no problems at their end and they can see that my card worked on the ‘Fetch site’ instantly and then that I had to resort to paypal for my groceries minutes later. They won’t remove the verification security from my card and as Ocado ‘choose’ to have the page on their site…it’s their responsibility to make sure it works.

Extra bonkers as paypal needs no security verification and just takes the money for my shopping out of the same bank account by a more roundabout means.

So…. I’ve rung Ocado customer services and they’ve passed the issue to IT and according to twitter this blog has also been passed on to IT.

And Ocado…. don’t forget this was ‘one’ issue (that of the page not loading)…it has become ‘two’ issues. The second being putting the onus on me as customer to try and sort this as opposed to admitting straight away you have a problem.
I’ve now spent a good few hours (over the course of a few months) trying to sort an issue that is not of my making and that is stopping me have the sort of customer experience I would hope for with Ocado.

The first or second time I told you it didn’t load (and google tells me I’m not alone with this problem) was when you should have passed it to IT as the number of cookies on my laptop, the sort of browser I use and the security you choose to use are issues for you to overcome…not for me to get right so I can shop on your site.


3 thoughts on “customer experience rant

  1. Ah. You finally hit this one. Funny, as my bank…or at least my credit card…has paid me something like £200 so far for screwing up on this.

    The problem is likely to be twofold. Its an interface issue and like all such issues, one that no single organisation handles well. Worse, if they are so minded, BOTH organisations sit around blaming one another, and you never get anywhere.

    So here’s what i more or less know. The Verisign thing – which i regard as perhaps the most insecure piece of security EVER to grace the financial services industry – is popped up by the organisation you are buying from. When i have spoken to such organisations in the past, they mostly say: “nothing to do with us, gov! Its requested by the credit card/marchant service provider”.

    This is half true.

    In practice it seems that merchant service providers in many instances have an option against your card (NOT against you) as to whether to request verisign when you try and pay for something. At the same time, the end merchant (in this case, Ocado) may also try and pop up a verisign screen. However, my understanding is they won’t do this unless it is requested by the service provider.

    So…if you want to stop this happening, you need to have a convo with your card provider asking them to remove the verisign indicator from your card. This MAY happen: it depends on the pay grade of hte person you are talking to, as some don’t know how their own system works and start to spout nonsense about it being all the merchant’s fault.

    However, if you DO manage to get the option unticked, you should have much less trouble.

    Not necessarily none, as some merchants will still request it, even though now their request is their own request and nothing to do with the service provider.

    Hope that helps and…ask if you need more info.


    Liked by 1 person

    • that still doesn’t explain why ‘sometimes’ the page loads and mostly it doesn’t on Ocado…and on all other sites it works pretty much consistently all the time?
      I’m not sure I want rid of the security verification off my card all together as a solution becuase everywhere else…it works.
      If it works everywhere else is it just that some of the Ocado code clashes with the bank code on the interface…which would imply its an Ocado fault?


  2. If you search twitter for ocado + verification it’s obvious this isn’t just my problem.
    Either they need to ditch the verification page and make their site more secure or they need to actually engage with those repeatedly having the problem to get to the bottom of it.


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