Planning & Furniture
Arranging Kits - Color Planning- How to Buy Books - Wood,
Metal, Leather Care Products
FOLLOW THESE GUIDE LINES TO RECEIVE THE BEST SERVICE POSSIBLE
WHEN TO INSPECT! The absolute best
time to inspect your merchandise is at the time of delivery
or pickup. Furniture stores often use contract delivery services
that are held accountable for damage or handling problems.
If the delivery company asks you to sign off that your product
is in good condition, then you must inspect it carefully. A
signed acknowledgement that every thing is okay may limit your
ability to receive service . The inspection process when picking
up your product at the furniture store is equally important.
The time spent at the loading dock confirming the quality of
your product could save you countless hours of phone calls
WHEN TO CALL! If you discover
a problem with your product, it behooves you to call during
hours. The temptation to call the salesperson immediately
is legitimate but ill advised. It is better to call when
you can speak directly with some one in the customer service
department. The fewer times you have to tell your story,
the better your chances of a speedy resolution. Before you
call, reference your original paperwork to determine special
service department hours and possible people to contact.
WHAT TO SAY! The method by
which you describe your concern is critical to a proper resolution.
Explain the problem in as much detail as possible. If the
area is the " size of a quarter" then say so. Specifics
will quickly gain the attention of the service representative.
Generalized statements like " It is not comfortable " or " I
don't like the way it looks " can send the message that
your concern may not be valid or at the least sound highly
subjective. If appropriate, indicate that you think it came
from the factory that way. It is important that your description
be accurate and product related. Leave your emotions out
of the conversation.
WHAT TO ASK! If you are unclear
of the warranty on the product or the service process, then
The service representative or the technician should be able
to explain the process for receiving service. Verify in advance
what happens if you are not satisfied. Discuss any costs
that may be incurred by you during this process. The questions
you pose will better educate you as well as protect you from
hidden surprises. Presuming that the salesperson told you
about the service process, one should verify that the process
from the service department will match up with what the salesperson
DOES YOUR FURNITURE HAVE STRUCTURAL OR COSMETIC PROBLEMS?
|The difference between structural and cosmetic
problems is significant. Loose joints, broken boards, wobbly
arms, etc are certainly more important than the cosmetic issues.
The ability to properly correct structural problems in your home
is severely limited. Cosmetic problems ( missing stain, dull
spots, loose fabric, etc.) are usually quite correctable by an
in home service technician. If you suspect a structural issue
exists, it is recommended that you
WHAT SHOULD YOUR ATTITUDE BE WHEN YOU CALL?
|'The temptation to go in with " guns a blazing" will
be hard to resist. Furniture is a very personal item that is
usually purchased from a base of emotions. The furniture you
buy represents more than just function, it represents you and
your home. It is strongly suggested that you adopt a firm but
factual approach while explaining your concerns. It is important
to remain calm and polite. Retain your composure and listen carefully
to the options presented to you. It is our experience that most
service departments want you to "be happy". It does
not benefit you to create an adversarial environment.
WHAT ABOUT A BAD ATTITUDE
FROM THE SERVICE DEPARTMENT?
|Furniture stores are filled with frustrations.
The products they sell are hand made, man made, and subject to
natural imperfections. The process of selling furniture and getting
it delivered in good condition can be difficult and tenuous.
The consumers in today's world are diverse, harried, and demanding.
The attitude of the service department may be one of skepticism
or possible irritation. If this occurs, then simply ask to speak
to their supervisor. In most cases, this will shock them back
to reality and their desire to serve you will quickly improve.
If the initial approach you take is firm, factual, and friendly,
it is unlikely that you will encounter a bad attitude.
SHOULD I ASK FOR AN EXCHANGE
OR A REPAIR?
|The decision to ask for an exchange versus a repair
is difficult. If you can clearly determine that the problem is
structural, then the exchange is the answer. Cosmetic or minor
problems are usually corrected by a service call to your home.
Remember that furniture is man made and hand made out of natural
products. It is possible that the piece you have is as good if
not better than the one they may exchange for you. A properly
trained furniture repair technician can do incredible things
with wood and fabric. Minor mechanical adjustments can be made.
Squeaks can be quieted. Fabrics can be tightened and adjusted.
The process of having an exchange is not pleasant for you, the
furniture, or the furniture store. Unless the situation is very
clear, avoid the exchange.
SHOULD I ALLOW THEM TO ORDER
A REPLACEMENT PART?
|If your new car had a broken windshield wiper,
would you demand a new car? Furniture manufacturers are very
open and generous with replacement parts. The furniture technician
will indicate if the problem will be corrected by using a replacement
part. The reality exists that certain parts on your furniture
can be easily replaced. A new drawer for that dresser can be
ordered. The handle on the recliner is replaceable. The door
of the china cabinet can be removed and replaced. Replacement
cushions, foam cores, and pillows are easily ordered and installed.
In fact, many parts can be sent directly to your home. Furniture
stores will quickly commit to ordering parts and install them
for free. Parts are parts, do not fear this process.
WHAT ABOUT FINANCIAL COMPENSATION
FOR MY PROBLEM?
|Furniture stores and furniture manufacturers do
not want to lose your business. They do not want to deal with
exchanged and returned merchandise. The cost of liquidation for
returned or exchanged merchandise is very high. If you have a
legitimate problem but feel that you could probably "live
with it", then you may want to suggest some form of compensation
to keep the item or items as they are. The furniture store will
many times pursue reimbursement from the manufacturer for this
process. The furniture store may often be willing to make their
own financial adjustment. The costs associated with sending trucks
and technicians to your home are high. The decision is yours!
If the problem is tolerable in your opinion, then suggest a financial
settlement. The best leverage is to ask for a store credit towards
other merchandise. The furniture store sees this as a win win
situation. The flexibility in this scenario is greatly improved.
Be advised that you may be asked to sign a waiver of future service
as a result of this agreement. Be honest! Be fair!
WHAT IF I BOUGHT MY ITEMS "AS
IS " ?
|If you bought items on closeout/ clearance and
agreed to take them "as is", your options may be limited.
If you signed a statement stating this, then your recourse is
limited. It is assumed that you bought these items at substantial
discount with complete awareness of the condition. If you discover
something that you were not aware of, it never hurts to ask.
However, be prepared to hear a firm but polite "no".
WHEN SHOULD I GO "UP THE
LADDER" FOR HELP ?
|If you feel you have been fair and patient but
do not feel satisfied with the results of your service process,
then you may need to seek a higher authority. The same approach
suggested earlier (firm , fair , and factual) is still the best
way to go. It is the experience of the staff at Furniturebrains
that managers really want you happy. The next level manager does
not want you to have to go higher. Lay out in careful detail
all of the steps taken up to this point and your concerns. If
you have some suggestions to resolve the situation, by all means
vocalize these to the manager. Remind the manager (in a non threatening
way) that you want to speak positively about your experiences
to your family, friends, and co-workers. As a consumer in this
competitive world, you wield a large stick. A simple non-threatening
reminder will move many a manager to quick action.
WHAT DO I DO WHEN ALL ELSE
|We sincerely hope that it never gets to this point.
Life is way to short ! However, if it you reach an impasse and
feel your are in the "right", we suggest you start
with the Better Business Bureau in your area. Television and
radio "consumer troubleshooters" usually get quick
response. Be assured that the furniture store does not want bad
publicity in the market place. Lawyers and legal processes are
always there as a last resort.