Customer service, and how it factors into the entire customer experience, is important when making any purchase. With large purchases, and purchases made from retailers you’re not familiar with and far from your home, the company’s reputation for stellar service is even more important. So, when I spotted a sofa I loved on Pinterest (where else would a person who handles social media shop for their new furniture?), my first stop was the manufacturer’s website, where I found a lot of information on The Comfortable Couch Company‘s history, warranty and manufacturing process. But my second stop was Google, looking for real-life examples of their customer service.
What I found was really intriguing, particularly to a person who talks to companies every day about a “multichannel” approach.
The company had a customer order two very large custom sofas in a vivid teal color (the same one that caught my eye, pictured here). However, when she received them, they were too large for her space. Despite having a policy against returns on custom items, they found a clever solution:
We came up with an idea. We started a store on the site called Etsy that specializes in hand made items produced here in the US. Mindy’s sofas certainly qualified as that so we gave it a try. The response was tremendous and not only did we sell Mindy’s sofas, we sold two more in the same Pavo velvet and found a new place to show our furniture.
Their desire to help this one customer led to the discovery of a completely new distribution channel for their products, one that reaches a completely different market segment from their direct-sales audience.
We think the channel analogy holds true to customer service, too, not just sales – if you take a look at your business from the customer’s perspective, you can probably think of a way an additional channel can add value, whether it’s outbound IVR or SMS for appointment reminders or delivery notifications, mobile web applications that make it easier for on-the-go customers to access information, or Twitter solutions that can do anything from administer surveys to take orders and make reservations – increasing customer satisfaction, retention and generating additional sales.
What can channels do for you?
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