3 Simple Ways to Keep Customers Happy

I posted a while back about the amazing customer service I received at a local furniture store. You may recall how impressed I was with their personal service and attention to the finer details, such as having a plate of warm cookies and a vacuous TV show available to bribe my children into temporary silence.

#1 – Follow Through

We’ve all heard this maxim and it’s true: the gold really is in the follow up. Or not.

Picture me all giddy and pampered at my new favorite store of all time. I choose a set of sofa, chair, and ottoman for my children to watch TV on at home (noticing a theme?). Because I am with my highly talented decorator friend, we settle on some special order pillows to go with the set. Had I known what I was getting into, I would have taken the whole thing along with the plain brown pillows right then and there off the showroom floor. But no, I was assured that all my pieces would arrive in a mere 4-5 weeks. Yay.

That was April.

At the end of May I started to get excited anticipating the arrival of my new furniture. I called and found out it should be in by mid-June. At the end of June I called to ask where it was and was told there were some delays due to the fabric not being available. Near the end of July I was getting seriously miffed, but just in time the store called to schedule my delivery.

#2 – Deliver More Than You Promise

When the truck showed up at my house I was thrilled. That is, until it took me 30 minutes to convince the guys that yes, the sofa would fit through the hall and can we please just try it even though I know you think it won’t but I measured and I’m pretty sure it’ll fit. Finally I had my furniture. But wait, what are those plain brown pillows? Didn’t I order Robin’s Egg blue with Chocolate piping?

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My call to report the error set off a three week round of back and forth communication between me and three other people the outcome being that they just couldn’t get the pillows for me because that particular manufacturer doesn’t do special order pillows.

Really? Because nobody mentioned that when we were all high on the scent of chocolate chip cookies.

#3 – Solve the Problem

It might not have been so bad if the woman hadn’t mentioned over and over how I could keep the brown pillows – the ones I didn’t want.

After calmly explaining that I would like to have exactly what I ordered – after waiting almost five months for the privilege – I was once again told that it was not possible. Because I find it hard to believe Robin’s Egg blue with Chocolate piping is all that impossible to come by I asked if they could not simply order the fabric and send it to a local sewing workroom so that I might have my pillows?

We’re talking $50.
If it were your business, wouldn’t you eat $50 to make a customer happy?
I would. I have. It’s what you do sometimes.

In the end, they ‘called in a favor’ for me. Turns out the manufacturer does custom order pillows after all. However, they are not yet actually here, at my house. On the bright side, I’m keeping the brown pillows too – bonus!

Am I wrong for expecting great customer service? How far do you go to make sure a happy customer stays that way?

  • Drea

    Ugh. Why is it that some people cannot process simple requests? In this case, you were absolutely justified in your stance. When I work with clients and make a mistake, I instantly fix it. If the mistake is bad, I’m quick to offer them a refund. Their loyalty is worth more to me than a few bucks. I consider good service an investment. Plus, this was specialty furniture store, right? Good service should be one of their mantras. If it was McDonald’s or something, OK, that’s a little different…

  • GrizDave

    I would say getting what you want, in a reasonable time frame that they set, is not asking for ‘great’ customer service, it is just customer service. Good or great is doing more.