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Consumer Delivery - Part 16 - One Equals A Dozen

Furniture World Magazine


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One angry customer will tell twelve of her friends.

Mathematically, one is one and a dozen is a dozen. And that's that.

Axiomatically, however, when it comes to customer relations, one often equals a dozen or more.

One customer-satisfied or dissatisfied-is apt to express her feelings to at least a dozen people. It's anybody's guess how many people they'll pass the word on to.

The one-to-one-dozen word-of-mouth ratio is a good reason to make sure your delivery operation is flawless-to make sure your crews close every sale on a positive note.

In survey after survey. a vast majority of retailers-often upwards of 40%, cite reliability as a prime factor in choosing a specialized furniture delivery service.

It figures, because the most frequently heard customer complaints about delivery involve carelessness-including damages to the home as well as to the merchandise.

Damages also prove costly. For one thing, damaged pieces have to come back and have to be repaired or sold at markdowns. Replacement delays don't make for good customer relations either. They in fact give customers an incentive to shop your competitors.

Damages to the customer's home are worse in some ways. Even a small damage seems enormous- especially in a new or freshly- painted home. And you can't send in just anyone to patch plaster and match paint. The touchup has to be perfect.

What a specialized furniture delivery service charges and how often it's on time are important considerations. How careful and how courteous its crews are-the impression they make when they represent your store and close your sales, strike me as even more important.

That's why a growing number of furniture merchants regularly monitor delivery operations by following up deliveries with phone calls the same or the next day. Most customers will usually say good things about their deliveries. But every so often one will tell you something that's not so good-something you really ought to know about.

When your customer tells you before she tells a dozen or so friends, you have a chance to make things right-a chance to give her something better to tell people about your store and your service.

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.