Color customers satisfied

Preaching customer service is a common marketing nostrum these days.But Color Your World, the Toronto-based manufacturer and retailer of paint and wallpaper, is putting its money where its mouth is.As part of the 'Ultimate Guarantee,' the latest promotion campaign from Color...

Preaching customer service is a common marketing nostrum these days.

But Color Your World, the Toronto-based manufacturer and retailer of paint and wallpaper, is putting its money where its mouth is.

As part of the ‘Ultimate Guarantee,’ the latest promotion campaign from Color Your World, customers not completely satisfied with the service they get at any of the national chain’s 285 stores are being offered a voucher equal to 10% of the amount of their purchase.

Nancy Douglas, merchandise manager at Color Your World, says the voucher represents real money, not lip service.

‘This is something concrete, more than simply telling dissatisfied customers we’ll try harder next time,’ Douglas says.

As well, in its effort to learn more about its customers’ concerns, the firm has placed questionnaires beside its cash registers, asking customers to rate their shopping experience.

The responses are to be tabulated by head office before being fed back to individual stores.

Douglas says the no-hassle service guarantee means any and all criticism is welcome.

‘People can even tell us they felt their products should have been carried to their car,’ she says. ‘The important point is, the customer sets the criteria for quality service, not us.’

The campaign is betting that disgruntled consumers, upon receiving a voucher in the mail, will return and spend more at Color Your World, rather than shop elsewhere.

‘The only thing worse than a customer with a complaint is a customer who doesn’t tell us their complaint,’ Douglas says.

‘We’re giving them an avenue to complain, so we can retain their business,’ she says.

Color Your World is advertising its new commitment to service via a series of 60- and 30-second radio spots, newspaper ads and flyer mailings coast-to-coast.

The radio spots, which began airing in mid-April, are partly based on earlier feedback from consumers asking what they wanted most from a paint and wallpaper retailer.

Further, in-store signage explains that customers are guaranteed immediate replacement of defective products and a refund of the price difference should a comparable product be sold for less in a rival’s store.

Color Your World’s ad agency is BSB O’Rourke of Toronto.

The media blitz included appearances by Douglas on radio talk-shows and noon-hour segments across Canada.

The ‘Ultimate Guarantee’ campaign is part of an on-going program Color Your World has been running to improve its overall customer service performance.

Before the launch of the program, most of the firm’s 1,200 retail staff members underwent a 10-week product-consultant course – which includes classroom instruction – to learn more about Color Your World’s products and to pick up home decorating tips.

Participants must achieve an 80% grade to pass the course and receive certification.

Douglas says staff knowledge of paint and wallpaper is key to Color Your World retaining success because customers buy solutions to home decorating problems, not just products.

‘Do-it-yourselvers often have problems that require advice,’ she says. ‘We can offer them advice.’