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Consumer Delivery - Part 21 - Pre Delivery Calls

Furniture World Magazine

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A stitch in time really does save nine.

There's lots of wisdom-customer relations as well as bottom-line wisdom-in the old "Stitch in time" adage. A stitch in time really does save nine every time.

Take pre-delivery phone calls, for instance. This "stitch in time"-the day before or on Friday for scheduled Monday deliveries-saves a tremendous amount of time and trouble by eliminating "Not Homes." Stores that don't check out deliveries the day before report the "Not Home" problem affects five or six out of every 25 scheduled deliveries. The problem has expensive ramifications.

Furniture going nowhere takes up as much truck space as fumiture that's sure to go into customers' homes. Undeliverable pieces get into your men's way and slow down other deliveries. This could be a killer if a "Not Home" or two happen to hit early in the day. The pieces will have to be shifted out of the way for each subsequent delivery-until there's finally room to stow them out of the way.

Then there's the unloading, the re-warehousing, the paper work and, of course, the re-delivery.

It's best to make sure everybody on your delivery list knows you're coming and is home or has arranged for someone to let your men in. It's absolutely essential to call if a piece is big and cumbersome or is going far.

On the customer relations side, pre-delivery phone calls always make good impressions. They show that your store really cares about the service it provides.

Other "stitch in time" delivery ideas worth implementing include these time and money savers:

  • Foul weather "gear." Check the next day's forecast late each afternoon. Be prepared with plastic wrap and a "welcome" mat- an old scrap of carpet will do-for your men's shoes.
  • Anticipate problems. Sales people should act as "intelligence agents," gathering information such as door widths, elevator heights, number of steps, etc.
  • Instant touchups. All your men need are a few furniture markers.
  • Expedited pickups and replacements. The longer a rejected piece stares your customer in the eye, the more irked with you she'll become.

Taking a "stitch in time" attitude toward deliveries is good for both you and your customers. It s also an attitude that's quick and easy to develop-and extremely inexpensive to keep going.