Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mattress Ranch, Puyallup, Washington "Our Personal Experience"

The Jeff Morton Report (jeffmortonreport@yahoo.com)


My wife and I went into one of the many Mattress Ranch outlets in Western Washington because...well, because of these commercials that run throughout our area. Take a look:


Well, I am a customer service nightmare! My thinking was, anyone who could do this sort of commercial has to make up for it with "Excellent Customer Service" and a good product. This post is about our experience with Mattress Ranch, Puyallup, Washington.

We purchased our king-mattress/box set 8 months ago paying over $1800.00. Our sales person was Brian. At that time I was appreciative of Brian's knowledge. (I will talk more about Brian later in this post) We were greeted upon entering the store, very nice store. The presentation of the showroom floor was pleasant. The mattresses yet to be sold were also visible offering a warehouse feeling but one that did not detract from the over all show room experience. We were invited to test several mattresses without being followed around the store. We spent a considerable amount of time doing so. We eventually purchased the set that my wife wanted. Of course, it was more than I wanted to spend!

A little bit of background about me
I developed a seminar several years ago whereby I taught to businesses, (Service related) customer service. I titled my seminar, "Customer Service Excellence." I taught to employees and business owners various techniques to implore when a customer walks into your business or when you arrive at their home or business [answering a service call.] I also taught to employees what to do when the experience starts going in the wrong direction. My goal, "When the customer chooses your business, YOU can never be the reason they regret doing so!" I live, breath, and sleep this slogan or more aptly, my personal tag line. Within the first five years of my former company we had ten thousand customers. I credit my personal philosophy with helping to achieve this accomplishment.

I also believe the customer is always wrong and should never come first but, is never stupid!....Allow me to explain. They chose YOUR company looking to fulfill a need. You have to provide everything within your ability that, in my mind, supports having a business or product in the first place. This often includes education, answering questions, and demonstrating confidence in the product or services offered. In other words, you add to what the customer is already looking for or needing. As stated above, I have never believed the customer comes first. I actually hate this cliche, if you will.....

When you have employees, they have to come first. They have to be the first consideration when promoting your business. If they are not treated just as important as is the customer, they will make sure the customer never returns in one way or another. I always maintained a perfect balance between the customer and the employee. The employee is often the highest cost and the customer pays for it. Yelling and screaming at customers is a death sentence in business. Treating employees any different is just stupid! Involving your employees in paying the bills, keeping the doors open, making sure the lights stay on and most importantly, serving the community or location of your business vicariously through YOUR example is wisdom! (I have a 30 minute talk on how to do that) They come first or your customer wont come back...this I can guarantee! The balance is achieved through the needs of your employees not your customers. The simple truth: If everyone of your employees takes care of the customer in the manner you represent YOUR business will either thrive or collapse. The manner YOU represent is a  critical component.

Back to the Mattress Ranch
Puyallup, Washington
My wife insisted that we turn the mattress often, following the manufacturers recommendations. Eventually, she begun to notice an impression developing on her side of the bed. We turned the mattress which made the impression now at my feet. The mattress is not designed to be flipped over. Each time we turned the mattress back my wife's complaint returned. She contacted "Place of purchase" Shannon is now involved. Shannon heads up the warranty office. My wife followed her instructions taking pictures and filling out a description of the problem. We received an email from Shannon agreeing that the bed did in fact look defective...My immediate thought was, "How in the heck can a photo determine this?" They offered to replace the mattress. Knowing that they do not offer a delivery service "A cost savings to our customers" was their explanation,  I had to now make arrangements to return the mattress (8 months later) My wife, as her replacement mattress, chose a less expensive mattress.  The cost difference is $423.00 from our original purchase. Here is where the issue of principal mattered most to me.

For me, having Mattress Ranch agree in principal the mattress to be defective a warranty issue is now superseded. For me, we were sold a defective mattress. In my mind we would be handing to Mattress Ranch $423.00 after spending 8 months sleeping on a defective mattress that I had to now return of my own accord, retrieve the replacement, taking an additional loss. Remember, we lived without the quality and comfort of our original $1800.00. Yesterday, I am in the store to get this matter behind me. However, while there I made my complaint known having spoken to our lawyer prior to going to this store. Up until this point my capable wife was in contact with Mattress Ranch concerning this matter.

Brian stated well, company policy as he listened to my issue. He began to repeat himself based on my responses.....I wanted him to hear my complaint as opposed to repeat policy. In defense of his company and based on his knowledge he defended well his employer. I would hire him in a nano second having hired and trained management for most of my adult life. Nevertheless, I persisted with my complaint. As an employer, my one criticism of Brian would be to listen and to noticeably be interesting in hearing the customer. For me the issue was now principal this is what Brian was not hearing...
I am standing in YOUR business having a difficult conversation about the hassle of doing business with YOU...I mentioned my Lawyer! Brian stopped all negotiation at this point saying, "I would have to call our corporate people for guidance;" Adding, "Today is Saturday so I might not have any luck." I responded, I can wait for as long as this takes but I am not leaving until we resolve the reason that I am standing here. Namely, I have a mattress to be returned, on a truck borrowed, with a friend helping who took time to help me. I also had another friend waiting at our home to assist once we returned getting the mattress up a very difficult staircase.

Brian proceeded to make a call. Eventually, he walked away so as to have a somewhat private conversation. This was proper and I would have thought less of him had he had not done so. He reached the owner, a Mr Rich Kassuhn as I later found out. I did not know that this location is franchised, owned by Rich Kassuhn and not the individual doing the dance in the above video. Brian spoke with him at the opposite end of the store. At the conclusion of this call Brian said, "We need to inspect the mattress being returned to ensure no stains or problems caused during the 8 months in your home." My friend and I unloaded the mattress. Brian removed the plastic that they provided a few days earlier (They will not take back any mattress not covered in plastic) Brian was satisfied. He then said that Mattress Ranch would agree to refund the $423.00 or the difference in cost. I thanked him, signed a receipt to that effect, we loaded up the replacement mattress and left.

Resolution
I was not trying to take advantage of Mattress Ranch. My position, professionalism, and personality made Brian obviously uncomfortable. During our discourse it became painfully obvious that Brian was very, very uncomfortable. In fact, I even said to him, "Brian, I am just having a conversation, I am sorry to make you feel so uncomfortable, not my intention." Nevertheless, and despite his lack of ease, Brian represented his company, their policy and his position extremely well. He never caved nor was I trying to cause him to do so. I paid close attention to his every word spoken, his mannerisms and his disposition. At the end of this ordeal, I shook his hand, not only because I was satisfied but Brian demonstrated and supported the integrity of Mattress Ranch, maintained professionalism, and self respect. I was not there to belittle, berate or make for an unpleasant scene knowing that as a business owner this is just stupid. A customer, to me, becomes something entirely different at that point.
[Brian confided that he was dealing with on going health issues, explaining that his body produces too much insulin which he was dealing with prior to my arrival. I understood, apologizing for adding or possibly exacerbating his condition.]

At the end of the day my issue both, at home with my wife, and Mattress Ranch is resolved. This blog post is my personal recommendation to shop at this location and to do business with Rich Kassuhn and his staff. His company is a problem solver and practices, "Excellent Customer Service" This is what I will tell our attorney and this is what I am sharing with you. Finally, Mr Kassuhn represented to his employee, support! We are deeply appreciative and thankful.
 
Puyallup
12704 Meridian E.
Puyallup, WA 98373
get directions

Phone: 253-841-8990
Hours: Mon - Fri 10 - 7, Sat 10 - 6, Sun 11 - 5
At the corner of Meridian and 128th.

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