As I wrote last week, my wife and I recently purchased new mattresses. Though I have received many emails asking which ones, I am staying clear of naming any brands, since selecting a mattress is a personal decision. Some people prefer to sleep on top of the bed, others prefer softer designs where you sleep in the bed. Regardless of your preference, the fact is that my wife and I ended up with a mattress that we did not like. There are lessons about the sales process and follow through that are valuable for any business.
My wife and I each slept for a couple of hours each of the two first nights. By the third night, I slept in our guest room. So, saying "we did not like it" was like hearing from someone in a serious auto accident that they had a rough commute that morning... a bit of an understatement. We purchased from Mattress Discounters, part of the same company that owns several mattress stores. Part of their sales pitch is that they offer a comfort guarantee. They say that they are committed to ensuring that the customer is happy and that they "wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready for the day. "
About Follow Through
The first person we spoke with, initially encouraged us to give the bed a bit more time for us to get used to it. Upon seeing that this was not an option for us, our salesperson intervened and triggered the comfort guarantee. The regional manager contacted me to ensure that we found and selected a replacement mattress as soon as possible. When I told him I was traveling, he located stores in my area where I could try the mattresses.
The lesson in this part of the story is something that we discuss in our upcoming Same Side Selling book which illustrates how the sale does not end with the purchase, but you must follow through to ensure your client achieves a successful outcome.
Negative Moments Can Spark Incredible Recoveries
At one point, the manager sent me an email and I drafted a response. But, I forgot to actually press send. A day later, the manager left a voicemail message that he had not heard back from me and wanted to ensure that we quickly found an acceptable replacement mattress. By continuing to follow-up, he turned what could have been a negative experience into a very positive one.
The lesson here is that if a client raises an issue, do not assume that everything is better just because they have not contacted you again. In other words, "not news is not necessarily good news." Your goal should not be to simply ensure there are no complaints, but rather that your client is truly delighted.
Do Not Use Customer Service to Upsell
In finding a replacement mattress, the manager wanted to help us find the right mattress regardless of price. The replacement is dramatically less money than the original one we purchased. He made it a point to tell us that the difference had already been credited to our account. He certainly could have tried to convince us to buy a more expensive bed. But, he did not.
Sales and Customer Service was the Differentiator
Let's face it, there are a limited number of major mattress manufacturers. Each product can be purchased at specialty stores or big box retailers. There is a ton of competition. The company took a novel approach in that they use their sales training and comfort guarantee to differentiate their business. I'm sure that I might have been able to pay a few dollars less initially, but would have likely been stuck with the purchase.
Since the buying experience and customer service were both exceptional, I have already referred two other customers.
What things do you do to ensure that your customers are wildly happy?