January 12, 2016
This is the first article in an occasional series of stories told by COPC Inc. employees about their own positive customer experience. This story is from Kathleen Jezierski, president and chief operating officer.
How Tuft & Needle Made Me A Believer Of Their Customer Care
I heard about Tuft & Needle mattress company on a podcast where a guest was talking about how the little things can impact individual performance, and he mentioned getting a good night’s rest. He then went on to describe his sheets, pillows, and mattress, and why they were so good.
He said he got his mattress from Tuft & Needle, a relatively new company founded by two guys from Palo Alto, CA. One of the founders had recently married. When he and his new wife went shopping for a mattress, he just knew the whole process could be better.
Tuft & Needle only sells foam mattresses and they only sell online. Shipping is free and they claim their prices are better than competitors because they have eliminated many of the layers involved in getting a mattress from a factory to you. They have a 100-day money-back guarantee.
I needed a new mattress and did not have time to shop, so I decided to try it, even though I’ve never had a foam mattress. I placed my order through their website on a Friday night. On Saturday night, I received what was likely an automated email from one of the founders. He thanked me for my purchase, told me why I was going to love the mattress, and said I could reach him directly by responding to that email.
On Tuesday, I received another automated email from the founder telling me my mattress had been handed over to FedEx and provided the tracking information. It also described how to unpack the mattress and gave set-up suggestions. While four days from ordering to shipping may sound like a long time in today’s world, keep in mind that I placed my order around 9:00 pm on Friday night, so two of those days were the weekend, and FedEx had the mattress on Tuesday. For shipping something like a mattress, I think that’s pretty darn fast.
The mattress arrived in an unbelievably small box. I unpacked it and set it up in my home. It was very pretty.
I couldn’t sleep on it.
I really wanted to like this mattress – it had a great story and the company made me feel good about the world. And it came to my door in a little box!
I couldn’t sleep on it.
I tried for a month and finally gave up.
Here is another cool thing about Tuft & Needle – they don’t take returns. If you decide that you do not want to keep a mattress, they ask you to donate it. They refund your purchase price when you submit the donation receipt. How cool is that?!
I’m pretty sure the cost of shipping it back would be more than the returned mattress would be worth to Tuft & Needle. Instead of requiring the return of goods like almost all other retailers do, donating your mattress saves the environment by reducing emissions associated with shipping and provides an almost new mattress to someone who needs it.
Just for kicks–since I work at a customer experience consulting company– I emailed their support group to ask how to get the donation receipt to them. I sent my email on a Sunday morning and a customer care agent responded that day. He wrote that he was so sorry the mattress didn’t work for me and provided information about how to donate the mattress locally, including one option that had free pick up. I chose that option, donated my mattress, and received my refund on my credit card a few days after sending them my receipt.
Although I did not care for the mattress, this was a great experience because Tuft & Needle did everything they said they would, which is the basic function of any customer care program. They responded to my inquiries quickly and provided the information I needed.
What made my experience with Tuft & Needle spectacular was the little things, such as including the email address for one of the founders, making me feel like I’m a part of changing an industry, and helping the environment. Through my purchase, I felt like I was a part of the company’s story and that made me feel good. Of course, this was a spectacular experience only because Tuft & Needle did the basics of customer care quite well. Without that, these things that pulled at my heartstrings would have been meaningless.
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