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tcimac
4th June 2011, 12:30 PM
I have been frustrated that there wasn't a "shopping list" style App for Woolworths Supermarkets like the Coles "Shop Mate" and the generic "Grocery iQ" (US).

So, I went to the Woolworths supermarjet website and provided some feedback. My initial question was basically... "Are Woolworths developing a "shopping list" style app and if so, when will it be released.".

This is the email conversation that followed.

On 02/06/2011, at 4:24 PM, "Rxxxxxxx Cxxxxxx" <CRxxxxx@woolworths.com.au> wrote:

Dear Tcimac

Thankyou for writing through with your enquiry.

The Woolworths catalogue is a desktop version running flash. Flash files are currently not supported by iPhone and iPad which is why you are unable to view the catalogue via mobile devices. We are working with Smedia, our online catalogue supplier to change the file of our catalogue so that is works in conjunction with mobile functionality.

We are hoping that this will be rectified in the near future. I apologise for any inconvenience this has caused and please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.

Regards

Bxxxxx Mxxxxx

Marketing
Woolworths Supermarkets




From: Tcimac
Sent: Thursday, 2 June 2011 7:30 PM
To: Bxxxxxx Rxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Woolworths Customer CN-00050180

Thanks for your reply Bxxxxxx, but that is not the question I asked.

I was querying your production of an iPhone or iPad App. Not an online catalogue. Check out the Coles App called Shopmate and you will know what I am talking about. Considering you are the Direct Marketing and Online Co-ordinator, I trust that you do know the difference.

Regards
Tcimac

Sent from my iPad


On 03/06/2011, at 9:09 AM, "Rxxxxxx Cxxxxxxx" <CRxxxxxxxx@woolworths.com.au> wrote:

Dear Tcimac

For Woolworths at this time if we do not have a system that is ipad and iphone friendly. We cannot give our customers an App until we have the compatibility. Thank you for your feedback and we look forward to providing our customers with the new technology as soon as it is available.

Kind Regards
Cxxxxx Rxxxxxx
Communications Coordinator
Buying & Marketing
Woolworths Limited


From: tcimac
Date: 3 June 2011 10:42:57 PM AEST
To: Rxxxxxxx Cxxxxxx <CRxxxxxxx@woolworths.com.au>
Subject: Re: Woolworths Customer CN-00050180

Cxxxxx,

Thank you for you reply.

I don't want to seem like a pain, but I am perplexed at your response.

Woolworths Supermarkets themselves do not need to "have the compatibility" as you put it. Most companies who have an iPhone and iPad App don't develop it themselves, but rather hire App Developers to do it for them.

Also making the comment "we look forward to providing our customers with the new technology as soon as it is available" is not a response you should be providing when the technology has been available for years.

In addition, I find it hard to believe you would make this statement when there is already a Woolworths Brand App available. The Everyday Rewards App has been available since July 2010.

Check out this application on the App Store:


Woolworths Everyday Rewards
Woolworths Limited
Category: Lifestyle
Updated: 18 Feb 2011
33 Ratings


So, to suggest that you will provide the new technology as soon as it is available is just incorrect and quite an embarrassing statement.

With all due respect, I get the feeling that you have responded to my email without actually knowing the real answer. I would have much preferred you to respond by stating that you didn't know the answer to my question, rather than provide a throw away response that is quite obviously incorrect.

I wonder if you could arrange a response to my email trail by the head of your Marketing Department or at least someone who could actually specifically answer my original question.

Regards
Tcimac


After this, I thought to myself, there has to be someone at Woolworths Supermarkets that actually knows the right answer and can tell me. So I went to the corporate webiste, looked up the Management Team listing and found that a guy named Greg Foran was the Director of Supermarkets, Liquor & Petrol. Looking at the email aliases these other staff were using, I assumed what his was and sent this email;

From: Tcimac
To: Foran Greg
Sent: Fri Jun 03 22:51:41 2011
Subject: Fwd: Woolworths Customer CN-00050180

Mr Foran,

I thought you might like to read the email conversation I have had recently with some of your Marketing staff.

It is quite embarrassing for Woolworths to respond the way they have to my original question which was,

"Are Woolworths intending to develop a Shopping List style iPhone/ iPad App. Similar to the Coles App" or words to that effect.

Regards,
Tcimac

Sent from my iPad

He responded as follows;

On 04/06/2011, at 8:34 AM, Foran Greg wrote:

Dear Tcimac,

Thank you for your email concerning the series of responses about Apps at Woolies.

My apologises for the poor replies you have received. I will get that sorted out.

With regards to the App I suspect you are after the answer to when will Woolies have one that replicates the Coles App?

I have copied in Peter Burgan, who looks after this for us and he can correct me if I have it wrong.
Basically it will be up and running by August this year. It will also include the ability to search for products in individual stores, add products to your shopping list by scanning the barcode and some other features.

We intend to quickly enhance the product in this arena, eventually having it so customers will be able to pay for their purchases as well.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if it doesn't.

Kind regards Greg

I then responded;

From: Tcimac
To: Foran Greg
Sent: Sat Jun 04 09:23:09 2011
Subject: Re: Woolworths Customer CN-00050180

Greg,

Brilliant!! Exactly the response I was after.

I am a regular Safeway/Woolworths shopper and to be totally honest an IT geek. My frustration has been that most Apps of this nature on the iTunes store or Android Market are US based and of course they don't know what a Nappy is or that Tomatos don't just come in a can or as a sauce!

I'll keep my eye on the App Store during August. I especially like the payment option if that becomes a feature of a later update.

Thanks for the response.

Cheers
Tcimac

So, I guess it sometimes pays to go to the top if you want the information you are after.

*Names have been changed to protec the innocent and the psycho!

nibbles
4th June 2011, 12:37 PM
I hate getting replies like the first person you emailed, for f*** sake is it really that hard to answer the question that I asked rather than give me a response which I already know (because it is written on your website). Nice outcome, hopefully they can write it well. Half the time I don't have the patience to bother with their useless replies, pays to take it further though.

ednap
4th June 2011, 01:38 PM
Perhaps it's also important to accept that business titles don't always reflect who the right person is to address a question to, particularly in large corporate organisations.

What I mean is not just a matter of "going to the top" as you put it but often its more about finding who is the right person is to deal with the question or issue.

Just for the record, I actually work for Woolies too

tcimac
4th June 2011, 01:56 PM
Perhaps it's also important to accept that business titles don't always reflect who the right person is to address a question to, particularly in large corporate organisations.

What I mean is not just a matter of "going to the top" as you put it but often its more about finding who is the right person is to deal with the question or issue.

Just for the record, I actually work for Woolies too

Totally agree with your comments, however I asked the question via a web form where you dont get to choose who to send the enquiry to. Secondly, I agree with your point about title, but as I said in my conversation, just tell me the truth. If you don't know the answer, say so and refer the enquiry to someone else.

I work in customer service and one thing I always tell new starters is not to be afraid to admit you don't know the anwswer. It's better to be honest and refer the matter to someone else rather than make up the answer and dig a hole for yourself and the company you work for.

The only reason I sent it to Greg Foran is because his name was on the website. If there was a staff directory (not that I would expect that) I would have sent the initial email to the 'right' person.

ednap
4th June 2011, 04:26 PM
Understand exactly, wasn't challenging your actions or trying to justify the poor information you received.

In your case you would think that the person on the end of the web comments section should be able to redirect to get the answers they may not have so certainly no excuses there.

My comments were more about the "ask the head honcho". I'm inside the company and can at times still find it difficult to identify the most appropriate person for an issue. Can be extremely frustrating.

Woolies currently employes around 188,000 people

tcimac
4th June 2011, 05:10 PM
My comments were more about the "ask the head honcho". I'm inside the company and can at times still find it difficult to identify the most appropriate person for an issue. Can be extremely frustrating.

Point taken. I know EXACTLY what you mean !!!!

I guess I used that title beause (a) I was surprised I would get a response directly fom him (especially on a Saturday) and (b) at least if you get to ask the question of a Board Member, Director or CEO (read: head honcho), you know the response that comes back is going to be the right one. I assumed he would "get someone on to it" hence I guess why he qualified his reposnse by saying "I have copied Peter Burgan, who looks after this for us and he can correct me if I have it wrong".

Anyhow, I was impressed with the repsponse I received from Greg and the question was answered very concisely. A satisfied Woolworths shopper.:)