The Customer Service Survey

The Assembled Grill

by Peter Leppik on Mon, 2013-04-15 19:57

Assembling a new gas grill can be a pain, and for many customers, it's a definite plus when the store will assemble it for you. So many stores are now offering free assembly as a way to sell more gas grills and provide a better customer experience.

But free assembly isn't what every customer wants. The problem with gas grills in particular is that once assembled, the grill is a lot bigger than it was in the box. So some customers quite reasonably prefer to take the grill home unassembled and put it together themselves, because they couldn't fit the assembled product in their car.

Unfortunately, that's not how some stores view things. As several articles from the Consumerist from 20132012, and 2011 attest, shoppers at Sears, Home Depot, and Sears have all encountered situations where they needed to buy a grill still in the box, but every single grill in the store's inventory had already been assembled. The store had no unassembled grills to sell.

In this situation, what was supposed to be a benefit to the customer can be transformed into a major headache. Worse, in the case of the Home Depot customer, the customer feels like the store is making a sneaky ploy to push truck rental.

These stories illustrate the pitfall of assuming that every customer wants the same thing. The three stores all assumed that every customer would prefer their new grill to be fully assembled, and didn't anticipate that some customers would have different needs. They had what they thought was the right impulse--better customer service!--but managed to turn it into an expensive liability.

The lesson should be obvious: different customers have different needs, and the customer experience which delights one customer may be the same experience which annoys another. Your customer experience has to serve different populations of customers, pay attention to what each customer needs, and have the flexibility to adjust when customers require something unexpected.

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