Every couple weeks, Sean sends a survey out to customers who have recently had our Vermont made furniture delivered to their homes. We want to make sure that we’ve met & hopefully exceeded customer expectations. And of course if we’ve fallen down on the job in any way, we have to ensure we’ve made things right with the customer and upgraded our systems so mistakes don’t happen again. Surveys also give us a chance to ask our customers what changes they think we should make to better serve their future needs. Occasionally though, we slip in a question that quite honestly, could be seen as a little self-serving… like:
What were the most important factors in your decision to buy from Us?
Quality craftsmanship is always a recurring theme in response to this question. Here are some other specific responses that Sean and I were reading today:
“We wanted to support a local business when its price-point was the same as large online retailers. The personal touch was important as well”
“Styles available; quality and source of woods; friendly, knowledgeable, helpful sales person (Rebecca)”
“The guarantee; that it was made in the U.S.; the pleasant people who responded to our question”
“You build with walnut and cherry. Best woods for furniture. I had just finished a walnut table and needed the chairs to be of the same wood. The combination is spectacular!”
“Price and having a basic design that you were willing to alter, and having had a sale that covered the cost of the alteration to the design. It was also a help that you’re close enough to Boston that I could go arrange the alterations in person – we looked at a several of tables.”
Then there was this one from Phyllis W:
“I am not a wealthy person, but when I buy something, I want to love what I buy”
To me, that says it all. It’s the bottom line and the reason we work so hard to keep this small business in business. We want our customers to love what they buy. To Phyllis and everyone who has invested their valuable time in responding to Sean’s customer satisfaction surveys: thank you for helping us to continually improve and further our mission of furnishing a greener world. We hope you love your new furniture!
The best part of our work at Vermont Woods Studios is seeing photos of our handmade furniture after it’s been installed in a customer’s home. I’m happy to say that we’ve put Vermont’s handmade furniture into homes in every state in America (including Alaska and Hawaii) as well as a handful of other countries. But the drawback to serving such a wide-spread customer base is that we rarely get to install the furniture ourselves and see how it looks. That makes our customer testimonials and reviews all the more important.
Last week we received this note from Mallory and Craig of Fort Worth, Texas:
Vermont Woods Folks– I wanted to let you know (at last!) how much we’re enjoying our stereo cabinet, coffee table, and console table. They’re gorgeous pieces and they’re perfect for our living room. I’ve attached a few photos, so you can see for yourselves. We’ve been getting constant compliments and questions from friends and family members–so we’re hoping to send some new customers your way! Many thanks, Mallory and Craig
Yesterday I mentioned our Vermont Woods Studios Furniture Customer Satisfaction Survey. As far as I know we are the only company in the furniture industry that's willing to publish candid customer reviews and survey rating results.
It's not all perfect and I'll admit, I'm more than a bit uncomfortable publishing it. Not because we're doing badly (we're actually doing great and getting better every day), but because there is much discussion needed to interpret the results.
I'll be writing a number of additional posts over the next few weeks to discuss the details behind the numbers as well as our plans for improving them as we move forward. I have to ask you to read the whole series of posts or you won't have an accurate picture of our customer reviews, and how they fit in with the broader context of the furniture industry.
I welcome your comments and suggestions throughout the process. You can post them in the comments section below or on our Vermont Furniture Facebook. To all of those customers who contributed to this assessment, we say thanks as we continue to work through implementing your input.
So… here's how customers rated our performance in the following areas:
Excellent or very good – 86.95% (many online orders require no interaction with customer service personnel, thus the 13% response for NA)
Neutral – 0%
Needs improvement – 0%
Unsatisfactory – 0%
No answer or not applicable – 13.04%
So there you have it– the good, the bad and the ugly of our customer satisfaction survey results. Please check in over the next few weeks to see further details about what's behind the numbers and how we're working to continuously improve them.