A Tale Of Two Sofas…

“Hi Mate – Got Your Sofas!”
“You’re Four Hours Late … And I’m Not Your Mate”

This was the brief exchange that accompanied the arrival of my new sofas, more than four hours late, just a few days ago. However, this was not quite how you would have pictured it if you had been stood next to me in the showroom a few week before..

It all started when ‘She Who Must…’ decided we needed some more sofas – words that will no doubt fill most of the chaps reading this with a familiar  feeling of dread, as they will know the hours of ‘joy’ that awaited me.

True enough, there followed many visits to several ‘too trendy for words’ showrooms full of breathtakingly expensive furniture  and salesman with perfectly managed facial hair (but curiously enough, no socks) and a few trips along a great deal of the M4, before it came down to a choice between the final two…

One of these was from one of more down to earth boutiques and the other from somewhere we had discovered online , then popped over to to take a closer look. The only difference, it seemed was that the boutique sofas seemed to be about four times the price of the other ones.

As you know, I don’t exactly have to watch the pennies … but it is only common sense, regardless of how much money you happen to have, not to pay rather a lot of money for something when you can have what appears to be the same thing for a quarter of the price elsewhere.

Of course I had my doubts, but I am also fully aware that often high end retailers of various housewares are not above getting a manufacturer to put their logo on a bath, chair or whatever and then charge seven times the amount the manufacturer sells the unbranded item for.

To be fair, the ‘cheaper’ example piece was very nice indeed, and the chap who showed us round managed to answer my questions until I was moderately satisfied (apparently the savings were to be found by limiting the options on the range, buying those few materials in bulk, and not having a big shiny shop draining the profits … but I still had my doubts.

Still, the result of a conflab with ‘She Who Must…’ was that we would opt for the cheaper version, and with the assurances that our order would be of the same quality as the one we had seen at their HQ, we left to await delivery…

Which brings us to just a couple of evenings ago when they were delivered four hours late… and on arrival had very little in common with the one we had seen first hand – the pattern on the striped material didn’t line-up between sections, the seat filling had been replaced with something inferior to what was ordered without any notification and the legs weren’t even on straight.

Of course these issues are in the process of being sorted out, but the lesson for us here is to always make sure that, unlike this bunch of rudderless buffoons, what you deliver in your business is every bit as good as whatever it was you showed them prior to taking their money.

Whilst you will always get those who have an almost microscopic knowledge of your advertisement but almost no familiarity with, or willingness to follow, any instructions you may have provided for them to achieve the advertised results … you have to ensure that you at the very least give them what you said you would.

I know it seems like quite a basic thing to say, but if you planned to sell fifty of something and you end up selling five hundred, I’m sure you can imagine there must be a temptation to cut a few corners to lighten the workload a bit … however if it was the quality of what you were offering that got you those five hundred orders, subsequently abandoning that quality is not the way to go.

Better to talk to your customers to let them know the situation, or get in extra help (provided they can also offer the same level of quality as you advertised) rather than do a rush job, and potentially damage your relationship with your customer more than asking them to wait…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Tim Lowe