Inflexible Policies? Bye Bye Potential Customers

New Year’s Resolutions generally involve improving oneself in some way — often by losing weight, saving money or doing more for the community. If someone was observing my behavior of late they would swear my resolution for 2012 must be buy lots of furniture. While not exactly a resolution, it is a reality in my world.

Much of my furniture is 15+ years old and is showing its wear. With the kids getting older its time we started to invest in household furnishings. For obvious reasons this isn’t urgent. I’m taking my time, looking around. But I am a serious buyer, with very specific needs. Anyone who knows me will verify, once I see what I want I buy on the spot.

I was thrilled when Bob’s Discount Furniture moved into Woburn. Reasonalby well made, family friendly furniture at decent prices. They even have a mini-ice cream bar in the back where the kids can eat for free while I shop. Good marketing – check!

After looking around I found a bunk bed set that was perfect for us. I even ordered it. Then the trouble started. They could not narrow down my delivery schedule to less than a day, and I wouldn’t know what time of day until 48 hours before delivery. For a working mom this was not pleasant. But I resigned to work with their inflexible policy. Unfortunately about two weeks before delivery I recieved a message the furniture would be late. Frustrated I cancelled my order. Poor operational planning — negative check!

In fairness they promptly refunded my money without any hesitation. Excellent customer service – check!

A few weeks later I needed to buy a coffee table. My experiences with customer service were good so I decided to give Bob’s another try. I walked in, was pleasantly greeted and promptly shown a coffee table that met my exact needs – storage for blankets, hard surface, dark wood stain. But then a problem – they would only sell the coffee table with two end tables; end tables I don’t need or want. It’s a shame, I left without buying anything due to another inflexible policy.

Two strikes for inflexibility. I won’t likely go back to Bob’s. Nice sales staff, the right inventory and an easy return policy aren’t enough. Their inflexibility turned away this would be buyer.

Some simple employee empowerment could have made me a customer for life. I guess it’s back to Jordan’s for me.