December 7th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
As fate would have it, a customer called Vermont Woods Studios today with a serious and urgent problem, just as I was in the middle of writing this blog about customer reviews and ratings. Although our ratings are generally excellent (see yesterday's customer review ratings) occasionally something goes awry. So we constantly push ourselves, our craftsmen, our shippers and our vendors to do better and avoid future errors.
I thought today's issue might be a good illustration of what can go wrong with furniture deliveries and what our process is for resolving customer complaints. Here's what happened: a customer in Arizona ordered a king size Vermont Shaker Moon bed. The next day a customer in Sacramento ordered the same bed in California king size. Somehow, the beds were switched and today the CA king bed was delivered to the wrong customer… clearly a huge mistake on our part.
So getting the beds un-switched and delivered to the corrrect customer is the (relatively) easy part for us. The hard part of resolving this issue is compensating the customers for their time, frustration and inconvenience. People often have to take time off work to accept and inspect deliveries. Understandably they can get angry over this kind of mistake.
Since every issue is different, we try very hard to understand each customer's situation and needs as we're seeking a resolution they'll be happy with. Today, after discussing options with the customer we offered an immediate full refund if the customer wanted to return the bed or a cash payment of $400 to compensate for the inconvenience of having to wait for the correct bed to be delivered. The customer thought it over and decided to return the bed for a full refund.
We're now working with our shippers and craftspeople to fine tune our systems and make sure this error doesn't happen again.
I'd be interested to get your feedback, either in the comments below or on our Vermont Furniture Facebook. You can see from our customer reviews and ratings that Shipping and Delivery are our greatest challenges. This is true not just for us, but for the furniture industry as a whole. What I can say, is that even though there are occasional shipping issues, we'll do almost anything the customer asks to make things right. That includes complete replacement, repair, refund, cash compensation and a bunch of other things that customers have requested. I think that's reflected in the results for this question: Would you purchase from Vermont Woods Studios Furniture again? 98.53% of customers said yes. We're trying to improve that too.
She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. She believes in the future and in the people who will build it. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.