Crate and Barrel Gets It

Posted on by in Business, Customer Service, Remarkability

Have you ever wondered why you ordered something online?  I did two weeks ago.  My father was having his 70th birthday and wanted a home entertainment sound system.  It was a week away and I wasn’t sure if the holiday rush (and snow storms across the country) might hinder online delivery.  So, I thought I would try Best Buy‘s online service (where you can order online and then pick it up at the store).

In my mind, I thought, with all of the Christmas shoppers out, if I ordered my father’s gift online and paid for it online, then my time in the store ought to be shorter.  WRONG!  Online shopping actually lengthened my shopping experience.  When you order online for Best Buy, you’re told to wait until you receive confirmation.  Once you receive confirmation, you’re supposed to bring the e-mail confirmation with you to the store you designated to pick up your merchandise. 

Now, if you had done the above, wouldn’t you have assumed that the store would have pulled the merchandise you ordered and had it waiting for you?  Of course!  But then you too would have been wrong.  Here’s what happened to me. 

When I arrived at the store, though the store was crowded, no one was in the line for pick.  "Ah, my lucky day!"  But then the nightmare began.  They hadn’t pulled the entertainment system (of course I’m thinking, if they didn’t pull it, what if someone had taken the last unit before I arrived?).  The attendant made the first call for someone in the TV department to bring the system over.  Then a second.  Then a third (confirming the order and system number again).  Several times I offered to go over and get the system.  Finally, the attendant from in-store pick up was willing to walk over with me to pick up the system from the aisle I could have gone to the moment I walked into the store. Basically, it took me three times as long to get the system, plus the time I spent online to order the system in the first place.  It was TERRIBLE!

However, Crate and Barrel is a different kind of company—a more remarkable one!  Crate and Barrel actually believes that when you order online for in-store pick up, your order should be packaged and ready to go before you arrive.  That doesn’t sound so remarkable, does it?  Just doing what seems right.  Yet, these days, you can be remarkable just by doing what seems like the right thing to do. Make it easy and convenient.  And then deliver remarkable service.  Moreover, to make it even easier this week, Crate and Barrel has even extended the ordering times to 7:30 a.m. (even though the stores don’t open until 9:00 a.m.).  Like I said, Crate and Barrel gets it!

So how about you?  Does your company or organization actually deliver remarkable service?  Do you follow through on what customers expect? Do you exceed their expectations? Would someone blog about having such a great experience with your company or organization (a la Crate and Barrel) or would they tell a Best Buy horror story?

Afterword:  My father pulled a "No No!.  He actually bought the entertainment system he wanted, the week of his birthday (Rule of thumb: Never buy something other people know you want before a birthday or Christmas!). So, after my terrible Best Buy experience, I got to experience the pleasure of returning the system.  Fortunately, Best Buy didn’t disappoint me (he says with sarcasm in his voice).  It took over a half hour to return the system even though there were only two people in front of me when I arrived.  At one point, for about ten to fifteen minutes, there wasn’t anyone (not one Best Buy employee in the returns or in-store pick up lines.  Best Buy just doesn’t get it.

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One Response to “Crate and Barrel Gets It”

  1. Larry T 11 January 2006 at 9:35 am #

    It won’t surprise you to know this is standard operation procedure with Best Buy. I was going to purchase a very expensive TV. The rep asked if I wanted to take advantage of 18 months no interest(I remembered one of you sermons about if you don’t have the cash now, why do you think you will have it 18 months from now?). I bit, and started to fill out the forms. No problem. The nice young rep took me to “Customer Service” and even asked to make sure I was in the right line. After waiting for 15 minutes in line with all of the after Christmas returns my dear wife walked up and asked what was going on. I pointed to the line. She walked up to the same person my rep had asked to make sure I was in the right line. She was told the credit lines have been down for a while and may take another hour to come up!?! I purchased the TV from Circuit City and paid $200 less because of an error in their ad, remarkable!

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