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Tie A String Around Her Finger

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Solve your "not-at-home" problem.

While there's no known cure for delivery's biggest headache-the "not home" problem that for some stores is as great as 20 to 25 percent-there is a good way to cut down on troublesome, costly bring-backs.

Tie an imaginary string around your customer's finger by spelling out your delivery policy at the time of sale, and by phoning the day before to remind customers of deliveries.

You don't need a fancy brochure to spell out your policy. You can write the information, make copies and staple them to sales receipts.

Here are some things that most stores spell out:

(1) Second Delivery Cost: Even stores that make free deliveries-a vanishing species-charge for re-delivery. Say so. Appeal to your customer's economic self-interest. It helps.

(2) Delivery Time Is Approximate: Customers appreciate being able to call the afternoon before to get an idea of when your truck will arrive.

(3) Deliveries Can Be Postponed: The customer must phone by a certain time (the day before) to reschedule a delivery.

(4) Pave The Way: Ask customers to remove old furniture, skidding rugs, and pets before delivery. Be sure to tell them it's against store policy-perhaps even a violation of your community's health code-for your men to cart out old furniture.

Also, let them know it's their responsibility to be sure the furniture can get through doorways, down corridors, and into elevators. If a piece is especially cumbersome, your sales people should check out the logistics at the time of sale.

(5) Accentuate The Positive: A delivery information guide is one more opportunity to build goodwill. Use it to remind customers of free or minimal fee services you provide such as setting up RTA pieces, installing hardware and the like. Be certain to point out that your men will give each piece a final on-site inspection and will remove all packing materials.

Spelling out your delivery policy at the time of sale and a phone call a day ahead are efficient, inexpensive ways to tie an imaginary string around a customer's finger.