I Can Be Wooed with Candy...and Great Service

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Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
I love candy! But I love superior customer service even better. Last month, I was preparing for a visit from my aunt and cousin who live in Michigan. They were coming in for my graduation ceremony, and this would be their very first visit since I moved to Connecticut four years ago. I cleaned up the basement and threw away half of its contents; this was where my aunt and cousin would stay. I knew they couldn't sleep on a blow-up mattress, so I set out to find a comfortable, sturdy, stylish, and reasonably priced sofa bed.

I love candy! But I love superior customer service even better. Last month, I was preparing for a visit from my aunt and cousin who live in Michigan. They were coming in for my graduation ceremony, and this would be their very first visit since I moved to Connecticut four years ago. I cleaned up the basement and threw away half of its contents; this was where my aunt and cousin would stay. I knew they couldn't sleep on a blow-up mattress, so I set out to find a comfortable, sturdy, stylish, and reasonably priced sofa bed.

Normally, my new furniture quests would start and end at Raymour Flanigan. But I decided to take a friend's advice and check out Bob's Discount Furniture. I typically wouldn't give my business to a discount store--not because I'm pretentious in any way--because of a common perception, in which "discount" correlates to shoddy service, shady practices, or subpar goods.

Much to my surprise, though, Bob's did not serve up either of these. In fact, from the time I sashayed in the front door, to the time I signed on the dotted line, I felt like a queen. And not only did they serve me candy, they served my needs.

The personalized service I received from Alesia, my sales rep, was top notch. She didn't pounce on me the minute I walked in the door; instead, she hung back and let me peruse the showroom floor a bit before approaching me. She gently inquired about my motives, and I happily obliged. She asked me about my design style, and took notes as I described the basement with all the pertinent details. Throughout this exercise, she brought things to my attention that I hadn't even considered. And in a matter of minutes, we had narrowed our search to two ravishing, leather sofas. They had an impressive selection of quality furniture at amazing prices. How did I know it was quality stuff? They stood by it. Here I am almost a month later, and I still have the option to take the sofa back--for any reason.

I'd like to think of myself as a savvy consumer, ready to haggle at the first opportunity. But on this day, there was no need. The price was quite nice just as it was. And as a super-duper cherry on top, Alesia led me to an area where I could think things through and help myself to an array of old-school candies including, cherry balls, Tootsie Rolls, and Now-And-Later, not to mention the fresh coffee, baked cookies, and other delectable treats. Well, what can I say? Not only did I leave the place with a pocket full of gum drops, I was looking forward to lightning- speed delivery; complete with Bob-O-Pedic Memory Foam Mattress and a warranty that would outdate the carpet it sat on. So, you ask, did the candy really make the sale? Of course not, but it sure was sweet.

Two days later, the sofa bed came. The guys struggled at first to get it down the narrow staircase. But once everything was set up, they called me down to take a look. It was lovely, just as I had imagined it would be. They cleaned up after themselves, I signed the delivery receipt, and they went on their way.

I was overjoyed. The color of the leather matched perfectly with the room, and the mattress was just as comfortable as it was in the store. As I began to move the sofa to its rightful place, I noticed a sizable puncture in the left side panel. At first I panicked, because I couldn't believe that I hadn't noticed it while the delivery guys were there. A bit apprehensive, I dialed the toll free customer service number. I was certain that she would give me the runaround and tell me there was nothing she could do. She didn't. Instead, I was greeted by a sprightly representative who listened to my issue and put my mind at ease. She apologized profusely and arranged for an immediate in-home inspection by one of their furniture technicians. In the end, I got a new sofa and a sticky pocket from a melted gumdrop. But guess what Bob's got: a new customer who will never go anywhere else to buy furniture.

Have you been pleasantly surprised as a new customer lately? I'd love to hear your story.

Vanessa is currently the Senior Project Manager of client deliverables for 1to1 Media. Her experience in the publishing industry spans over 20 years. Vanessa is a graduate of Charter Oak State University where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Business. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, singing, and cooking.

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EXPERT OPINION