The right customer delivery
There was really no reason to get my teenage son a new bed. Sure, he complained that his bed
was too small and uncomfortable. True, it
was the same bed he’d slept in since he was
six. But also true was that the bed sat in the
middle of his room — a foul cesspool that we
call “the hole.”
In “the hole,” things move on the floor.
Clothes stick to the wall. Pets defecate. Ants
construct mini-cities around the remnants
of donuts and potato chips. This is my son’s
room. Why on earth would we want to put a
brand-new bed in the middle of it?
Well, as parents often do, my wife and I
caved to his demands, naively thinking that
maybe a new bed might in itself motivate him
to fumigate, clean and de-fungify that place.
So we ordered a new bed for him.
Other parents of teenaged boys will recog-
nize “the hole.” But whether you’ve got kids
or not, you’re going to recognize the next part
of this story. It’s about what happened after
we decided to buy my son a new bed. That’s
because we made the colossal mistake of or-
dering our son’s bed from Ronald & James.
Dear reader, be alert. Here it comes.
Ronald & James is a made-up name for a
real-life furniture store. Excellent selection.
Very nice staff. Reasonable prices. We bought
the bed and were happy with the purchase.
We paid up front. We were told that we would
be called when the bed was delivered to the
store and we could set up delivery from there.
We actually felt bad for the delivery guys. We
paid extra for the Hazmat suits they needed
to enter the hole.
And sure enough, a few days later, we got
the call from the store to schedule delivery.
Know what’s coming next?
“Would you be available next Thursday?”
I was asked.
“Sure,” I said. And then I asked a silly ques-
tion: “Can you come by at 10?”
Dead silence. “Hello?” I said again.
“I’m sorry, sir, but we can’t confirm a
“We just need to know the day you’re avail-
able and then we’ll call you the night before
I got my
in the end,
to give you a window of time for when the
delivery truck will arrive.”
It took a few seconds for this to sink in. The
nice girl from Ronald & James was asking me
to keep next Thursday, the entire day, com-
pletely free and clear. And then the night be-
fore they’d give me a “window” when they’d
be coming by. I was being asked to re-arrange
my life for Ronald & James. And worse, for a
bed likely to be covered in mold within a few
weeks of arriving.
Of course, Ronald & James had lots of
good reasons for this policy. The nice girl explained them to me. They have many delivery
trucks to schedule. Their computer system
Gene Marks, CPA, is the owner of the Marks
Group, which sells customer relationship,
service, and financial management tools to
small and midsized businesses.
won’t let them lock in a date until the day
before. That’s because it works out the most
efficient ways to schedule these trucks. These
are all good reasons. For Ronald & James. For
Ronald & James’ profits. For Ronald & James’
Hooray for Ronald & James. But what about
me? Don’t I have a life? Don’t I have a job?
I’m going to re-arrange my whole schedule
so I can accommodate them? The nice girl
on the phone didn’t seem to care too much
about this. Not her fault. She was just following policy. Ronald & James’ policy.
CUSTOMERS COME FIRST
Good companies don’t have policies like
these. They wouldn’t treat their customers
or clients this way.