Customer experience matters. Including and extending past your website. I had a terrible experience with GNC this past month. On March 16th, I ordered two protein powders to be delivered in my home in Arkansas in anticipation of my arrival. The ordering process was fine and easy, and I got an immediate email receipt. All good. The email said my order was being processed and that I’d be updated as the process moved along.

I moved on with life, getting ready for my trip from Berlin to the US. I forgot about my order, assuming it would arrive in Arkansas before me. I was wrong. I flew home (a grueling 18-hour journey) on March 24th and remembered the protein powder order on March 25th. It had not arrived. In fact, I had received no other emails either. Where was it?

I contacted GNC via their online chat, and they told me that they were behind on orders (duh). They had no updates about mine. They had no time frame for when it might be shipped. I requested to have a solid shipping date or cancel my order. The representative told me he will contact the warehouse to see if my order could be canceled, and that I should receive an email confirmation within 24 hours telling me if it’s canceled or dispatched.

I received no email. Instead, half of my order showed up, unannounced! My order status on their website still said “Processing”. It never moved past that, even after I received the first item. I decided I’d wait a bit longer to see if the next item showed up.

A week and a half went by, and there was no word and no delivery. I contacted GNC support again. I told them the story again. I asked for clarification about if my order would be delivered or if it had been canceled. The representative said a request for cancellation had already been entered into the system. Ok….how long does it take to cancel an order? What was happening at this warehouse that they couldn’t find my order or cancel it within two weeks? I didn’t get any of these answers, but I was assured again that I would receive an email in the next 3-5 days if my order was successfully canceled.

Finally, three weeks after my purchase and two weeks after I first contacted GNC support, I received multiple emails in the same hour. The first one said my order had shipped–this referred to the half order I received a week and a half earlier–thanks. The second email said there was a problem with my order–this referred to the item that never showed up. They would not be billing me for the item that had been canceled (how gracious of them). And finally, the whole saga was over.

In the meantime, I discovered they sell the exact same protein powder at Walmart……

This whole experience made me extremely grateful for systems that work quickly and seamlessly. Which companies have impressed you with their great customer experience?