One of the things that I’ve long talked about is the fact that loyalty of customers is not simply attributed to perfect service. You can make a mistake as long as you quickly respond and fix the issue. Last year, I was singing the praises of Pottery Barn for doing just that. But, now they’ve blown it again. [BTW – Pottery Barn is owned by William Sonoma.]
In 2008, I bought a couch from them. Love the couch. Loved the store. Felt it was over-priced, but I was okay with that for the quality and service. But, when it was delivered, there were a few issues. Honestly, pretty small, but I had high expectations. I sent a few messages and got a flurry of activity leading to a 10% discount on my purchase. I was happy.
A year later, I decided that I was going to buy another couch and went back to Pottery Barn. This time, it was a comedy of errors. The 6-week delivery took 16-weeks. The deferred payment terms which were supposed to be 12-months from delivery started immediately. So, again I raised the issue, saw a flurry of activity, felt it was fixed, and received a discount (credit) on my purchase price. I felt happy until after getting my next month’s bill only to find out that everything was still messed up. They had simply gotten me to go away without fixing anything. And, I also found out from the new installers that the original installation on my couch from last year was messed up and that was the reason why it constantly was disconnected (it’s a sectional).
So, this time, my anticipation was another discount. Would that have really made me feel better? I’m not sure this time. Now, I’ve actually spent time and been frustrated dealing with lots of credit people and customer service people. It’s actually cost me money (in time). But, I didn’t get another discount. For a company that offers it’s employees a 40% discount, I know there’s lots of room to “reimburse” me for my time.
Yes, I know this isn’t at all about healthcare, but it is about communications and customer service which are important. [And, yes...I'm using my "bully pulpit" to voice my frustration.]