To Others

Customer Service 101 – Go the extra mile

Gosh, what a day it has been, and it is only 2pm.  Thank goodness it is Friday, right?

We are renovating our bedroom.  It’s not so much as renovating as decorating, but either way it needed a serious upgrade so when Mr C got a bit of a bonus, we knew immediately where the money was going.

I’ve been thinking about our bedroom for a while now (as you will know from this post) and I really wanted to go all out.  The problem was that we were on a budget and we couldn’t really deviate from that.

So, I set about trying to recreate the look on the limited funds I had.

I managed to snag some bargains, and was lucky enough to walk into a store on the one day they were having a 30% off sale on some quite large ticket items.  It takes work to decorate on a budget, but it can be done.  I will certainly give you a tour once we are done, but this isn’t the point of my post today.

We decided to buy our bedside tables from what one could call a mid-low end store.  The look of the tables was exactly what I was looking for and because they are bedroom tables, in our bedroom, they didn’t have to be as durable as say a living room item.  Our budget just simply wouldn’t stretch to the high end look so we went ahead and purchased them.

At the same time, we also purchased from the same store a chaise lounge sofa for our spare lounge, which our 16 year old son uses.  It was not massively expensive, but not cheap either.

Both the tables and the sofa were delivered today.

Two things happened.

Firstly, the delivery guys refused to unwrap the items and take away the packaging.  Apparently, it is this store’s new policy not to do that as it “takes too much time”.

Secondly, whilst the sofa is too large for me to unwrap on my own, I decided to unbox the side tables.  Our new bed is also arriving today so I was keen to get them unboxed so that I could start putting the room together.

Imagine my dismay when not one, but both tables had nicks in them.  These nicks had clearly happened before the painting process, as they had been painted over.  This was obviously a quality control issue.

I phoned the store immediately who informed me that I had two options – I could either keep the damaged goods and a $40 refund per table would be given to me, or I could replace them with new ones which would take 3 weeks as they no longer had them in stock.

Neither of those choices suited me particularly but I plumbed for the second one.  I refuse to live with damaged furniture.

Shortly after this, our new king size bed arrived.  We have been so excited to get this puppy.  We spent the majority of our budget on it.  Mr C recently had spinal surgery and we were advised that whilst many people don’t think of it, a good bed is really vital for back health.

Again, despite the fact that what we paid for that thing could easily have paid for a good second hand car, the delivery men just dropped it off without unpacking it.  “We don’t do that,” they said as they carted off the old mattress, for which we had to pay a further fee.

I recently read a quote by Roger Staubach who said that “there are no traffic jams along the extra mile”.

Seth Godin, a highly regarded marketer, constantly talks about how a business can add value to the customer experience, highlighting that it is through this added value that customers become loyal to you and your brand (think Apple here).

Is it that hard to go the extra mile these days?  Is it that hard for a business, no matter how small, to ask “How can we make it easier for the customer to buy from us.  How can we make them want to buy from us?”  Is this not a fundamental thing businesses should be asking themselves?

These are big ticket items which makes it very difficult to dispose of the packaging.  We can’t just pop it in our waste.  We have to take it down to the dump for which there is another $40 fee, after having already paid a $90 delivery fee.  This inconvenience has certainly taken the shine off the purchase, not least because I can’t do anything with the furniture since I am not able to unpack it on my own.  It was just unceremoniously dumped in my house.  And I am not happy.

Where has the customer service gone?  Why is it okay to take hard earned money off people, but not leave them with the feeling that they made a good purchase full of value for money.  All of these items came from a spread of stores so it isn’t unique to just the cheaper items.

Why is that?

Is it that we need more competition, forcing businesses to go the extra mile to satisfy their customers?

Is it any wonder that people are turning more and more to online purchases, where the price is cheaper and often times, the service is better.

Retailers, I think it is time you woke up to the fact that competition is fierce and that simple things, like removing packaging for those really big ticket items, can make all the difference.

This may seem like a “first world problem”, a term I absolutely abhor, but I am living in a first world country, spending hard earned money that helps keep the economy in this first world country ticking over.  A little bit extra for that I don’t think is a lot to ask.  There are companies that do offer the “unpack and remove” service, as it was done with our lounge suite a couple of years ago, which is probably where my expectation of this service began.

Rant over.  I’m off now to make a cup of tea and wait for Master J to get home, so he can help me get all the packaging off!

Until next time,

SHW Signature