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Service stars at Simplicity Sofas

Ray AllegrezzaRay Allegrezza
Many retail consultants describe today's shoppers as cheap, conniving, disloyal and perfectly heartless ... and those comments are from the ones that like shoppers.
     But talk to Jeff Frank, president of Simplicity Sofas, a North Carolina company that makes and retails upscale ready-to-assemble sofas online, and you will hear the expected stories about how his company works hard to create the perfect customer experience.
     What I didn't expect was that these stories came from the company's ecstatic customers.
     According to Jeff, a perfect customer is one who comes back to buy again and again, and who actively encourages others to also become your customers.
     That sounds like a tough enough task in a robust economy, but how do you make that happen in these challenging times, and with no store to boot?
     Simplicity Sofas connects with the customer by using a level of customer service that I've rarely seen.
     In one case, it sent a $50 check to a customer who was upset with a botched UPS delivery.
     Then there was the customer who, after refusing to have fabric swatches sent before ordering, demanded to return the sofa, claiming the color was off. He also griped about having to return the first sofa. The company made him a new sofa (after insisting he look at swatches this time) and told him to simply give the first sofa to a friend.
     That kind of above-and-beyond service has even resulted in customers actually opening their homes to allow other potential customers in their area to see the Simplicity products first hand.
     The best story was from a customer who wanted to pay $400 more for the "extra customer service" he received.
     When I told Jeff that these stories should be included in business books, he smiled and said they have been. His company is profiled in a recent tome titled "Worth Every Penny - Build a Business that Thrills Your Customers and Still Charge What You're Worth," by Erin Verbeck and Sarah Petty.
     I can tell you this. That title is making sense and dollars at Simplicity Sofas.

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