Four years ago I made the mistake of purchasing a sofa from Bassett Furniture. I didn’t know it was a mistake at the time, but I should have. (Now, I’m kind of blue.)
Warning signs I should have considered:
- No online customer feedback mechanism – Does the company offer online feedback mechanisms and transparency? Bassett doesn’t and this omission should have spoken volumes to me.
- Plenty of irate customers making their voices heard anyway – A simple internet search would have yielded many vocal consumers. (1, 2, you get the idea.)
- Remember you are buying the brand – In my case I shopped for a product. Initially, I liked the product. My perception of the brand is much different now.
Advice for Bassett Furniture:
- Stop hiding behind your warranty – Instead, stand behind your products. A company like Bazaarvoice can help provide tools to enable a feedback loop with the purpose of developing loyalty. Companies that offer a way to communicate (good, bad, or indifferent) demonstrate their customer commitment.
- Find SOME way to satisfy the customer – Fact: the product is poor. I didn’t expect a full refund. However, some financial acknowledgement would have gone a long way towards restoring a rapidly fragmenting relationship. “Not our problem” may work in a monopoly, but it cannot survive in a competitive, transparent, and vocal marketplace.
- Own the problem – Local store management, who knew otherwise, suggested I contact the warranty company and indicate that I’d only recently noticed the problem. Helpful? Dishonest? You decide. A company willing to treat its business partners without integrity is unlikely to treat customers otherwise.
- Rename your “Customer Service” department – I suggest “Policy Enforcement” but only as the most expedient and honest course of action. Guaranteed your employees would rather that you improve the products and services instead.
In the final analysis, Bassett Furniture gets failing grades in Product, Service, and Honesty.The pivot point is that Bassett would be better served by treating customer complaints as gifts. From the looks of things, other customers have gifts for them too.
Before you go, please Tweet or post to Facebook or LinkedIn. I made a mistake with Bassett Furniture… help ensure others don’t make the same mistake.