(The following is a letter emailed to RC Willey Customer Service on February 27, 2010)
To Whom it May Concern,
I have been an RC Willey customer for many years. Since buying a six-bedroom vacation home in Utah a few years ago, I have purchased over (X) dollars in furniture and electronics from your Orem RC Willey store. I have always been very pleased with my sales associate, Alan Hunsaker, and, until yesterday, I had always been pleased with your delivery personnel. Yesterday, however, I had an extremely negative experience with two of your delivery drivers.
This past Tuesday, I purchased just over (X) dollars of furniture at the Orem store, consisting of a little girl’s Doll House Loftbed and a Build-a-Bear dresser and mirror. While that’s nowhere near my largest purchase at your store, I feel it’s a significant purchase nonetheless. The order number was XXXXXXXX, and delivery was scheduled for Friday, 2/26/10.
In an effort to find the positive, I will say that the delivery drivers called in the morning to set up a delivery time, and then called again 30 minutes before that time to say they were ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, that’s where any positive from this experience ends.
Immediately upon arrival, the drivers began to complain to me. They complained about having to carry furniture down a single flight of stairs (even though the stairs are extremely wide, and I’ve personally carried couches down there without problem). They repeatedly complained about the fact that neither of them had assembled this type of bed before. They complained that they normally only spend 15 minutes per delivery, but that this bed would probably take them at least an hour to assemble. They complained directly to me, and when I left them to their work, I heard them continue to complain to each other. I found this behavior to be extremely unprofessional. Delivering and assembling furniture is their job – and complaining to a customer about having to do that job (particularly in an economic climate where steady jobs are growing increasingly scarce), is completely inappropriate. If they want to complain to each other, in the privacy of their truck, as they drive to their next delivery, that’s completely understandable. But complaining to, and within earshot of, a customer should be unthinkable.
About an hour after they had arrived, I had to leave your drivers alone in the house when it came time for me to pick up my daughters from school. I came into the bedroom to inform them that I was leaving and found them both sitting on the floor, re-reading the assembly instructions. When I asked if they still had my cell phone number so that they could call if they had any issues while I was gone, they both merely groaned “Yeah” – without even looking up from their instructions.
As I was on my way home with my daughters, your drivers phoned me. They informed me that they had finished assembling both pieces of furniture and that they were leaving. I asked if everything had gone smoothly, and they said “Yes.” I thanked them and told them that they were making some little girls very happy.
Upon arriving home, my girls rushed into the bedroom to see their new doll house bed. They were excited to play on it right away… until I noticed something that upset me far more than having to listen to the drivers’ non-stop complaints. Your drivers had neglected to install a large piece of the bed: a 6.5 foot by 3.5 foot board, designed to lay under the top bunk’s slats to hide them from the view of the lower bunk. They took advantage of the fact that I was not in the house and had attempted to hide this board by sliding it between the wall and the rear of the bed, hoping that I would never notice. I believe that they realized they had missed this piece after screwing down the top bunk’s slats and assembling the roof of the dollhouse, and rather than spend the time necessary to fix their mistake, they attempted to hide it from me. Had it been a smaller piece, they may have been successful. But an almost 23 square foot board is not an easy piece to hide.
As I examined the bed to figure out how to install the missing piece, I realized why your drivers tried to hide it. The top third of the bed would need to be disassembled in order to install it properly, and that was going to take significant time – time your drivers were already complaining about within 5 minutes of their arrival. With the help of my 12- and 8-year old daughters, I removed the top mattress, removed all the screws from top bunk’s slats, removed the slats, disassembled and removed the roof portion of the bed, installed the missing board, re-installed the slats, re-assembled the roof, and then lifted the mattress back into place. The fact that your drivers attempted to hide their mistake is disappointing, but nowhere near as disappointing that their dishonesty caused my daughters to spend their first hour with their new doll house bed helping me take it apart and put it back together, rather than playing in it.
As I stated earlier, I have been a long-time and, until yesterday, very satisfied customer of RC Willey. I know that RC Willey has a reputation for excellent customer service, and as a business owner myself, I would want to be informed if one of my customers experienced such a negative interaction with my company.
I would also like to inform you that I am posting this letter on my personal blog at http://stevejenkins.com/blog/2010/02/customer-feedback-regarding-rc-willey-furniture-delivery/, and will also post an update on my blog after receiving your reply.
Received an initial reply to my email which simply read “Your e-mail has been forwarded to our Delivery Manager in Salt Lake Joanne Hamblin at (email address)@rcwilley.com.”
Lots of action today. I received two voicemails (although I didn’t check my voicemail until 3/2): one from Joanne Hamblin (the delivery manager) and one from my sales Associate, Alan Hunsaker. Both were very gracious and expressed a desire to talk with me further about what happened. I also received an email from Larry Smalley, the Manager of the Orem store, asking me to give him a call. I plan on calling everyone tomorrow afternoon.
Lots of action today, too. While I was out of the office in the morning, I received a second voicemail from Joanne, and a voicemail from Larry Smalley. Once again, both were very gracious in their voicemails. Larry also sent a second email (which is the best way to get a hold of me, since I’m terrible with voicemail) apologizing for the sub-standard service, and informing me that he had mailed me a $100 gift card, hoping that I would come back into the store and have a positive experience. I called Joanne back and left her a voicemail, then called Larry back and spoke with him in person. We had a very friendly 5 minute conversion, in which he thanked me for being a long-time customer, apologized for the sub-standard experience, and told me that Joanne was still very interested in talking to me for more details so that she has all the information she needs before speaking with the delivery drivers.
I’m impressed with with RC Willey’s follow-up, and appreciate the gift gard. It doesn’t take much today for a company to salvage a customer relationship. This is an example of exactly how to handle it (other companies… are you listening?). Mistakes are bound to happen in any organization – and the best way to address them is to be proactive, own them, fix them, toss a token apologetic gift card to the customer, and then move forward. Clearly, RC Willey didn’t get where they are by accident.
I received a phone call from Joanne today, and she seems very concerned with making sure their delivery personnel maintain a professional image for their company. She was very courteous and pleasant to speak with, and she also apologized on behalf of what she calls the “delivery associates” (she said that she doesn’t like to have anyone refer to them as drivers, or they’ll act like just “drivers”). She also mentioned the gift card, and hopes that I will have another chance to test out RC Willey’s customer service in the future. Based on the excellent response to my issue, I’m confident I will.