Customer Service: the great, the horrible and the unexpected

Like so many people, 2020 has seen me working out of my home way more than normal. Sitting in the space more often than I do made me realize that it wasn’t motivating me or serving a helpful purpose – filing cabinets? Really?! My important docs were all in the cloud, so it was time to take my office look to cloud 9, too.

Wondering how this relates to real estate? Just like real estate, ordering great new office furniture, or anything retail, really comes back to customer service. So let’s dive in!

The first thing I did was hire a designer. As with most things, it’s important to recognize where your skills are and also what you enjoy doing and have the time to do. While I enjoy nicely designed spaces, I wanted someone who was going to be able to suggest a very specific look for me and narrow down exactly where I needed to go for the items, as I didn’t have the time to be searching everywhere. Similar to real estate, there are many different ways to look for a home, however, not all are reliable, or offer good quality.

I ended up ordering from a few different companies – and had VERY different experiences.

The great: CB2

Fast, easy, and white glove service, meaning they’ll set everything up for you, and even take the packaging (a huge plus for condo dwellers!).

The confusing: IKEA

The notification system was way off – my order arrived the day after ordering (awesome), but the notifications kept saying it was arriving soon. At one point, I thought I was receiving double the items.

The frustrating: West Elm

My order took more than two months to arrive – and when it did, it arrived broken and required another two months to finally be delivered. White glove service was required, but when the driver arrived, he asked if I wanted to pay more for him to install it (essentially just trying to earn a bit of extra cash).

The I’m sorry, what?!: ROVE Concepts

Due to Covid, Rove declined their white glove service. Instead, delivery was $150, which included my furniture only being delivered to the lobby of my building. My conversation went like this:

Me: I’m not sure why you can’t deliver right to my front door – every other delivery service is doing that.
ROVE: Covid.
Me: But you don’t need to come into my suite, you can just leave it outside my front door.
ROVE: Covid.
Me: If this was a house, would you just leave it on the driveway and run away?
ROVE: Yes.
Me: How am I suppose to get it upstairs to my unit?
ROVE: Hire a delivery company.
Me: …But that’s what I’m paying you for?
ROVE: Or go on social media and find a stranger who can help you carry it up.
Me: But COVID?!

The lessons learned

  • Don’t just think about what will look great in your space – think about how you’re going to get your item set up. King-sized headboard going up two flights of stairs? Three-piece sofa you need to book your elevator for? Plan ahead and make sure you have space, a plan, and the help you need.
  • What are you willing to pay for? Do you love puzzling out IKEA directions, or would you rather someone assemble things for you? Double-check what’s included in your shipping price, and what options are available. Nothing’s worse than a new office chair sitting in the box because you’re dreading putting it together.
  • What perks come with your order? Do the delivery drivers remove the packaging? Take your old refrigerator with them? Read the fine print, or ask questions ahead of time so you’re not stuck with piles of styrofam and two appliances.
  • Plan ahead – I can’t stress this enough! Due to supply chain issues, many items are taking far longer than normal. Ask for clear timelines, and where available, look for companies that offer text updates or live tracking so you know when your items are on their way, and where the drivers are. Planning ahead includes once the item arrives: most companies only offer a wide delivery window, which can make it difficult to reserve a moving elevator if needed. Tip: if you ask nicely and explain the situation, some companies can accommodate a smaller window for you.

In updating my home office I experienced the highs and lows of furniture and delivery companies, and it all came back to one thing: great customer service.

Customer service isn’t limited to furniture, or even retail (special shoutout to Sephora and Nordstrom, who have fueled some pandemic online shopping with amazing online service!). It matters in every field, even yes – real estate!

Your quest for the perfect home doesn’t end when you sign your paperwork. So whether you’re buying, selling, or wondering whether you can really fit an L-shaped sofa in your living room, just reach out – I’m here for all your home questions!