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Consumer Delivery - Part 9 - Delivery No-Shows

Furniture World Magazine


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How would you like it if...?

"I couldn't take my kid out because I was waiting for the delivery..."


"You could at least have called and told me the truck broke down..."


"How'd you like it if you lost a whole day?"


These are typical customer reactions to delivery and service call no-shows; readily understandable expressions of annoyance with promises un-kept. The "How'd you like it" question is worth close consideration. All of us who sell, deliver and service furniture are also consumers. Chances are we've all experienced and been damned burned up because of no- shows.

I, and probably you too, have dealt with plumbers who kept saying, "First thing in the morning," while the drain backed up, up, up. And with building contractors who, in the middle of a job, said, I'll be right back" and forgot the address. And with salespeople who've been masters of the extravagant delivery promise.

If you agree that delivery is the close of your sale, put yourself in your customer's place. You'll see that most customers are anxious about furniture deliveries... and for good reasons.

  • Furniture purchases involve emotional as well as financial investment.
  • Orders, other than off-the-floor sales, can take weeks, or even months to fill.
  • Like your time and mine, customers' time is money too. In fact, single people often have no alternative but to take time off from work to sit and wait for deliveries and service calls.

Asking "How'd I like it if...?" encourages a more consumer oriented delivery approach. Most stores now give customers a reasonable estimated arrival time, if they call late the day before. More and more stores will, if a truck breaks down, phone to explain and arrange another delivery. Even if it means sending out a truck for just one or two customers, make-up deliveries are scheduled at the customers' convenience. They've already paid their "dues" in waiting time.

Industrial psychologists who advise taking a "How'd I like it" attitude call it empathy. Savvy furniture retailers call it common courtesy and good business. Everybody's right.

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.