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Customer Service Experiences - Good and Bad

Before I tell you this story, I have to confess, that I don’t know much about wall-to-wall carpet. But despite this shortcoming, I need to purchase new wall-to-wall carpet for my home. Since I have to replace all the carpet in my condo, I consider this a big sale (at least it is big for me)! So I set out to purchase some new carpeting and had two totally different customer service experiences - and I think they provide good lessons about customer service. Here’s what happened:

The first place I tried is a trendy carpet company in Boston called Landry and Arkari. They have all kinds of fancy carpets. I went there because my sister told me that they often have special sales. I walked into their store one Saturday about two weeks ago. There were several people working in the store and one other customer (I think the other customer was an interior decorator). I walked over to the carpet rack (clearly clueless) and started poking around. After a while a sales rep came up to me (the same sales rep was also helping the decorator). She asked one or two questions and then pointed to a few racks of samples and said, "The wool carpets are here and the sale carpets are over there." I didn’t get any advice, assistance, or help on pricing.

Now, I really needed some advice because I don’t even know where to begin. Carpet selection can be overwhelming! What kind of carpet? Wool or synthetic --- pattern or plain??? But the sales rep wasn’t interested in helping me. It was clear she was interested in helping the decorator. She didn’t want to answer my (clearly very basic) questions. So, after about 20 minutes of poking around (and waiting for help) I left the store with no better idea of what I wanted or how to proceed.

Fortunately, I had the name of another carpet company, Harry’s Carpet One in Quincy Mass. This store was a referral from some friends who had purchased their wall-to-wall carpet there last year and I even had the name of their sales rep. I walked in this store last Saturday... and wow! What a difference! Phil, the sales rep was incredibly helpful. He explained the different kinds of carpet to me, the difference between wool and synthetic, and the difference between different brands. He offered to send me samples and was patient with my questions. I left the store with a good idea of what I wanted, what everything cost, and how to proceed. I was a very happy customer!

My friends had the same experience at Harry’s when they purchased their carpet last year. They even told me that when a seam started to appear in one of their rooms last month, the people from Harry’s came right over to fix the problem. That customer service follow-up closed the deal for me... Harry’s really cares about its customers.

So needless to say I’ll be buying my carpet from Harry’s. I know they deliver great service, and I know they are interested in me as a customer.

So what are the lessons from this story:

  1. Every customer counts - even if they are just a "walk in".
  2. If you have lots of sales reps in the store, maybe they should approach a customer.
  3. Ask the customer questions and give them advice. Be patient.
  4. Good customer service leads to referrals. My friends had a good experience at Harry’s and told me and probably many others about their positive experience so I went there and will buy my carpet from them too!

Posted under Customer Service, Miscellaneous Thoughts by Stewart on Mar 27, 2008 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

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