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Consumer Delivery - Part 4 - Take The Ted Lewis Apprach

Furniture World Magazine


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"Is everybody happy?"

Ted Lewis never delivered furniture. as far as I know. But this master entertainer whose career spanned the years from vaudeville to television really knew how to deliver the goods on-stage.

He also knew his customers" and the value of taking their pulse. He would frequently and dramatically ask: Is everybody happy?" Everybody always seemed to be.

Taking the Ted Lewis approach to furniture delivery-taking your customers' pulse after delivery-can prove a quick. easy and economical way to:

  • Maintain high service standards.
  • Spot procedural or personnel problems early.
  • Make sure everybody who buys from you is happy.

Setting up a pulse-taking operation is as simple as having someone make random phone calls after delivery-within. say. 24 to 48 hours so that customers' impressions are still fresh in their minds.

Most customers will appreciate your concern in calling them. They probably won't have any complaints -people who do generally get in touch immediately, even while the delivery crew is still in their home. They probably will have favorable and valuable things to tell you.

With directed questioning-and often simply by listening-you can learn whether or not your men showed up as promised, if they made a neat appearance, how carefully they moved through doors, if they were courteous, etc.

Surely the most important thing to be learned is whether or not your customer was fully satisfied- whether she will buy from you again. A good delivery, after all, is not only the close of one sale-it's the start of the next.

Some stores have taken the questionnaire route, leaving behind postpaid cards or letter forms. Generally this method isn't productive. Most people don't answer questions in writing as easily as they talk. Questionnaire responses can leave things vague, while a caller can "feel out" a customer and encourage fuller, more useful responses.

Ted Lewis knew his audiences. When he asked "Is everybody happy?" he knew they were. He used the question to bring his "customers" and him closer.

If you take the Ted Lewis approach, you'll get to know your customers better-you'll bring them and you closer to doing more business.

Furniture World is the oldest, continuously published trade publication in the United States. It is published for the benefit of furniture retail executives. Print circulation of 20,000 is directed primarily to furniture retailers in the US and Canada.  In 1970, the magazine established and endowed the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library (www.furniturelibrary.com) in High Point, NC, now a public foundation containing more than 5,000 books on furniture and design dating from 1620. For more information contact editor@furninfo.com.