What it does have is a network of fanatically loyal customers who volunteer their homes and their time to show off and talk about their furniture with new prospective purchasers.
"Our customers want to see us succeed," explained Jeff Frank, owner of Simplicity Sofas. "We are an American furniture manufacturer offering outstanding and unusual products combined with a level of customer service never seen before in the furniture industry. Customers respond to that."
How are these volunteer customers recruited? The company keeps in close communication with its customers to establish a relationship. From ordering a free catalog through delivery of the furniture, customers receive 5-10 personal emails, including one the day after their furniture is delivered. The customer is asked whether they like the product and how they feel about the customer service received. Most customers respond enthusiastically.
In response to one of these emails, Stephen H. wrote "I have to say that your customer service is excellent; your company is a pleasure to deal with. I had some reservations about purchasing a sofa I had never seen or felt in person; I decided to buy because of the terrific reviews I found on the internet (and the way you describe your manufacturing process). I am really glad I did. But if you ever have any prospects in the DC area (we're way out west) who would like to see and touch one of your sofas before buying, please do put them in touch with me. I would be more than happy to show them your fine product."
How many of these volunteer customer showrooms does the company have? According to Mr. Frank, they tend to be clustered in urban areas such as New York City and Washington DC. "I have enough in those areas that I don't need to call on the same person more than once or twice a year. The volunteers in smaller neighborhoods around the country are rarely called on."
A customer from Minnesota, Amanda C. wrote, "I have purchased furniture from many retailers in many venues. This purchase has been the most satisfying to date. What you say on the website is all true. The furniture is well constructed and easy to assemble. The style and fabric choices are excellent. The customer service is phenomenal. My husband is in logistics management and we are both MBAs and we are very impressed. We understand how good your business model and staff must be to pull off your operation so successfully. Keep up the good work."
This emphasis on customer service is not an accident. Mr. Frank spent 2 years at Call for Action, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping consumers resolve disputes with retailers and service companies. "In my time at Call for Action," Mr. Frank said, "I saw every customer service mistake it is possible for a retailer to make. And I could see how those disputes could have been avoided."
How does he avoid disputes? "Immediate action!" Mr. Frank said, "You don't put it off for the next day. "You view the situation from the customer's perspective,"
Why doesn't the company offer to pay these volunteers? "I did offer to pay back in the beginning" Mr. Frank answered. Every one I spoke with refused to accept any payment."
And is this new marketing tool paying off? According to Mr. Frank, more than 50% of prospective customers who have viewed the furniture in a former customer's home, end up buying.
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About Simplicity Sofas: The company is an American manufacturer of custom-built Ready-To- Assembly sofas, sleepers & chairs featuring100%
Sofas can be assembled in 15 minutes with no tools and disassembled in less than 10 minutes.
All sofas are guaranteed to fit through any door, stairway, hall or elevator wider than 15".
The company ships nationwide, usually in 4 weeks or less.