BY JEFF GIAGNOCAVO
Delivery teams from brick-and-mortar stores can wow customers in ways a boxed bed left on the porch never will
Given the buzz and excitement in the mattress world being created by direct-to-consumer online mattress retailers, I have a timely message about delivery to share.
Thankfully for traditional retailers, when it comes to mattress delivery, online retailers have set the bar for exceeding expectations very, very low. Their delivery service literally ends at the customer’s front door. But if you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer, your delivery service only begins at the front door and ends in the bedroom. (And for a moment, I want to remind you that by going into a bedroom, your delivery team is entering likely the most private room in the home. Think about it: When was the last time your friends or family members were in your bedroom? Likely never, yet your delivery team goes into bedrooms every day.)
Considering that you have a huge opportunity to impress and delight customers with your delivery service, I’m going to share the steps we take at Gardner’s Mattress & More. Use these tips so your customer can rave about your store and send more of their family and friends your way.
Step 1: Be equipped. We have our delivery team bring to the door of every customer:
- The delivery ticket
- A cordless battery-operated vacuum
- Booties to cover footwear and keep dirt out of the house
- A floor mat—for every delivery we literally roll out the red carpet.
Step 2: Knock on the door or ring the doorbell and greet the customer. Before our team walks through the doorway, they tell the customer, “We offer something special that the salesperson likely didn’t mention. If you would like, we can do a quick vacuum of the floor under your bed and behind your nightstands. Would you like us to do this?” Asking this before the team enters the home means there’s no perceived judgment by us on the customer if it turns out the home isn’t tidy.
Step 3: Ask the customer if you are removing any old mattresses.
If so, the mattresses must go in a bedbug protection/removal bag.
If delivery bags are not on the invoice, we remind the customer we charge $10 plus tax per bag. They can either give us a check for $10.60 for each bag or call in a credit card number to the store.
If they push back on this, we remind them they were informed about this at the point of sale and agreed to the charge. We also remind them we do this for the protection of their new mattress and our team’s health, as well. A customer’s new mattress will never ride on our truck beside an uncovered, possibly contaminated used mattress.
Step 4: After you understand everything the delivery team needs to do in the home, give the customer a thank-you bag. We let them know this is a small gift of thanks from us. It’s a wonderful mechanism to delight the customer and gives her a nice surprise. Our thank-you bag includes treats, so our team tells the customer if she isn’t going to look at it right away, she should put it in the refrigerator. Our bag also includes:
- A thank-you letter from us, personalized using the customer’s first name
- A sleep mask
- A testimonial feedback form so they can tell us in their own words about their experience
- A referral form. We typically get 18 to 24 names a week sent back to us this way and nearly all of those people eventually become customers.
- A coupon to use in-store toward a future purchase.
Step 5: Set aside the old bedding and install the new bed set to the customer’s satisfaction. Remember, time has passed between when the customer made the purchase and when you arrive at her home. If the customer has any concerns or disputes, simply call the store and have her speak to her retail sales associate or a manager. We should never leave the customer questioning a purchase with us.
Step 6: Remove and bag all bedding coming back to the store. No used mattress ever rides on our trucks without being in a removal bag. Also remove all plastic, nuts and bolts, twist ties, and other trash. Leave nothing behind. Have the customer sign off on the ticket to acknowledge her acceptance of the mattress set and her agreement that all items are in good condition and working properly.
Step 7: Always tell the customer thank you: “Have a great rest of the day and enjoy your new mattress set!”
You might think, “Our team doesn’t have time for these steps,” “We don’t have room for these items” or “I can’t afford to send out a delivery bag like Gardner’s.” Maybe not, but delivery problems still will arise, and it’s less expensive to be prepared the first time rather than send out a truck a second time to fix an issue. Plus, if you solve a problem right away, you and your delivery team will be heroes.
The reality is these steps have saved us untold thousands of dollars—maybe even tens of thousands of dollars—in second trips to customers each year. And the thank-you bag is worth every penny. After six years of giving them out, we have amassed more than 750 handwritten testimonial forms and have acquired customers via customer referral at a greatly reduced cost. (You can see our library of testimonials by visiting GardnersMattressAndMore.com/ThankYou.)
If you implement these steps and your delivery teams follow them, you will see your customer satisfaction levels soar.
Retailing is no longer about satisfying what I like to call the exchange. Gone are the days when simply being on time to deliver what was purchased is exciting enough to a customer to earn her reviews, referrals and repeat business. Retailers that choose to impress and delight in every area of the sale will succeed and win business. And by doing so, you certainly can out work and out sell a box left on the front porch.
Jeff Giagnocavo is co-owner of Gardner’s Mattress & More in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He also is co-founder and co-publisher of Mattress Retailer Weekly (MattressRetailerWeekly.com), a weekly publication that shares tips, strategies and insights so you can sell more mattresses.