A Nightmare in Design: Why Service Is More Important than the Product

A recent experience reminded us why customer service, not furnishings, is our top priority.

While working with a national supplier, representing a handmade wallcovering line, we learned that customer service was not a top priority for them. Our order was delayed for over two weeks because they did not knowing the following:

  • The Purchase Order had to be made out to the manufacturer, not to the showroom.
  • The deposit had to be in check form, not a credit card, as was their usual practice.
  • For matching purposes, a cutting of the showroom wallcovering sample was required.
  • The correct sales tax rate for the ship-to location.
  • The item number was shown incorrectly on their Acknowledgement.

After final payment, we had the following issues:

  • The payment was received by the showroom where it was mistakenly sent to the New York headquarters. New York advised the showroom that the check was forwarded directly to the Texas manufacturer. In fact, it was returned to Chicago and then expedited to the manufacturer in Texas.
  • The check was delivered to an incorrect suite although the correct suite was listed.
  • Nearly four weeks later, the manufacturer, after we begged them to look, finally found the check sitting in another suite. They then shipped the order.

When the wallcovering was received, the client had the following issues:

  • Upon installation, the paper hanger discovered that the color was rubbing off and replacement wallcovering would be needed.
  • The manufacturer took over a month to create a replacement wallcovering.
  • Upon installation, it was noted that the material, when bent around the lighting soffit, broke open and exposed the white gesso beneath the blue/green surface color.
  • The touch-up kit, supplied with the wallcovering, matched the first product not the replacement wallcovering.
  • The manufacturer claimed to be preparing a replacement color kit, which they never did.
  • The client could not find a painter/paper hanger with the skill to modify the original touch-up kit.

After weeks of unanswered phone calls and emails, the showroom admitted they were helpless in solving the problem and dropped the line. The manufacturer never responded. We settled the client issue with a $500 credit and many apologies.


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