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Thread: Calling vs. Posting

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alexandria VA
    Posts
    13,178

    Default Calling vs. Posting

    Lately I've been getting a number of phone calls at my store by forum members asking me general furniture questions that really should be posted here. While I will be happy to answer questions via phone specific to the products I sell, I do not have the time to discuss various questions during business hours that do not relate directly to my business.

    Examples are: Problems you may have with another dealer; My opinion of other brands, How to best ship a family heirloom to your great Aunt, How to strip and refinish your old desk, Your Craigslist find etc. Please reserve those types of questions for the forum and the general membership. If you do call and ask questions of this nature I will politely terminate the phone call and refer you to post on the forum.

    Thanks for your cooperation.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alexandria VA
    Posts
    13,178

    Default Re: Calling vs. Posting

    UPDATE JAN 2010: As the forum grows in popularity I am getting more and more phone calls at the store because some of our members want the convenience of not having to type a question, or prefer to call rather than using the search function to find their answers in the forum.

    The forum is free for all to use. There are no membership fees, just a few no ads to help pay the monthly costs. Many of the posts I answer after midnight because I don't have time during the day to reply. But, I try to get to them all if I have a reply.

    If you call me at the store you are using my income-producing time. This is fine if you intend to order from me, of course, but there are some who say "I intend to buy at my local store but you are more knowledgeable than my local dealer, so I'd like to ask you all the questions before I go order from them." That is wrong, straight and simple. In the forum mode, you can ask away and buy from whomever you would like to. However, when you call me directly and intend to do business elsewhere you are stealing my time that I need to be able to use elsewhere. Please keep your inquires to the forum if you are not my customer, nor intend to be. If you absolutely feel you must call me to ask questions your local dealer cannot answer, then my consulting fee is $ 30 per 15 minute increments - have your Mastercard/Visa ready!

    Customers of my store are ALWAYS welcome to call and discuss furniture, and I am grateful for your patronage! If you want to know what that recliner is worth you saw on Craigslist, or how to handle your local dealer who abandoned you on a warranty issue, PLEASE use the forum and post in the appropriate topic forum.
    Last edited by drcollie; 03-07-2011 at 02:22 PM.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  3. #3
    Pickleman Guest

    Default Re: Calling vs. Posting

    I totally agree. I own a marketing firm, and I'm amazed that clients will call, ask a series of detailed questions about how I would handle a certain marketing situation - then have someone else carry out my recommendations. Owning a company that bills by the hour to provide its expertise, it's frustrating to have people call and expect free advice.

    I've learned a lot from this forum - and it hasn't cost me a dime. We all try to get our money's worth, and I for one appreciate that Mr. Collie volunteers so much of his knowledge here - free. He has earned my business.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    675

    Default Re: Calling vs. Posting

    I actually took my phone number off of my website, to keep people from calling all day long with minor questions, often premised "I know your website says you only represent people in Michigan, but..." or "This will only take a second...." It would have been more difficult had my business not moved away from direct client representation, but the extent of the calls - by people who already know they had no interest in hiring me or that I couldn't serve their needs - was overwhelming. I do offer an online forum for answering questions for free; that's not what my phone is for.

  5. #5
    Ezbuyfurniture Guest

    Default Re: Calling vs. Posting

    Duane, it looks like you have become the defacto furniture expert given the fact that you set up this wonderful forum, so I can see why people are calling you. Although, I agree that it would be best to only have conversations that pertain to the business of selling furniture. We often get a lot of people looking for 'advice' as well, however we like to help as much as we can in hopes that it will bring good will to us down the road.

    Keep up the good work on this forum and Im happy to be here to help answer some questions so as to keep the calls to a minimum

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alexandria VA
    Posts
    13,178

    Default Re: Calling vs. Posting

    The other day I was out unpacking sofas in front of the store. When I have 12 to 15 pieces to unpack and load in the truck, its a messy, sweaty procedure that takes up half the parking lot. I have to put down what I'm doing, come inside and catch my breath to answer the phone. I don't mind for customers, but some just come right out of left field. I had three calls in 90 minutes that afternoon that went like this (and prompted me to write up this thread update):

    # 1) "Hi, I'm on your forum and have a question for you. If I have a Brazilian Cherry hardwood floor, plum-colored walls and some white accessories, what color should my upholstery be and what do you think will fit in my room?"


    ANSWER: "I really have no idea. I cannot advise you how decorate over the phone with no room layout, no photographs, and no idea of your style. You have to give me more to work with and post photos, layouts, and designs you like via email or the forum."

    # 2) "Its me again, calling for the third time. I almost have my local dealer to agree to match your prices, and I intend to buy locally from him, but I still have a few more questions for you that he doesn't seem to be able to answer."

    ANSWER: "If you are buying locally, then your local dealer should be able to answer all your questions."

    # 3): "I saw this Hancock and Moore piece on Craigslist and I live in Raleigh NC, and I want to know if you think its a good deal or not. Are you on a computer where you can look at it with me and tell me what you think?"

    ANSWER: "Sorry, I'm unloading freight right now. Please ask in the forum and post a link."

    That's what I'm talking about.....
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  7. #7
    Ezbuyfurniture Guest

    Default Re: Calling vs. Posting

    Wow, I cant believe someone actually had the nerve to ask you to look at a Craigslist ad. Thats kinda like people calling us asking if we will match an eBay price (on a used item)!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    NW Pennsylvania
    Posts
    334

    Default Re: Calling vs. Posting

    I have asked my share of questions on here both in public and private but never have I thought of calling you for anything but the one time I did which was to order some Oz polish.

    One would hope the only people calling are looking to do business with you, or have asked if it's OK to call you with their questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by drcollie View Post
    The other day I was out unpacking sofas in front of the store. When I have 12 to 15 pieces to unpack and load in the truck, its a messy, sweaty procedure that takes up half the parking lot. I have to put down what I'm doing, come inside and catch my breath to answer the phone. I don't mind for customers, but some just come right out of left field. I had three calls in 90 minutes that afternoon that went like this (and prompted me to write up this thread update):

    # 1) "Hi, I'm on your forum and have a question for you. If I have a Brazilian Cherry hardwood floor, plum-colored walls and some white accessories, what color should my upholstery be and what do you think will fit in my room?"


    ANSWER: "I really have no idea. I cannot advise you how decorate over the phone with no room layout, no photographs, and no idea of your style. You have to give me more to work with and post photos, layouts, and designs you like via email or the forum."

    # 2) "Its me again, calling for the third time. I almost have my local dealer to agree to match your prices, and I intend to buy locally from him, but I still have a few more questions for you that he doesn't seem to be able to answer."

    ANSWER: "If you are buying locally, then your local dealer should be able to answer all your questions."

    # 3): "I saw this Hancock and Moore piece on Craigslist and I live in Raleigh NC, and I want to know if you think its a good deal or not. Are you on a computer where you can look at it with me and tell me what you think?"

    ANSWER: "Sorry, I'm unloading freight right now. Please ask in the forum and post a link."

    That's what I'm talking about.....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Calling vs. Posting

    Good morning to all,
    I totally agree with Duane,
    He has been wonderful in answering all of my questions on this forum. I really don't know how he does it. He is very knowledgeable, and with the correspondence that he and I have shared in the last several days, I feel that he has done a tremendous service to me, free of charge. And it is not really free for him. He has invested a lot of time, and time you can never get back. It is lost forever. And as such, I feel bad because I have asked a lot of questions here. And even though I feel that he is getting to know me better and my lifestyle, I would never presume that I could just pick up the phone and ask stupid questions like the ones I have just seen. The gawl of these people.
    Just my four cents.
    Later.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alexandria VA
    Posts
    13,178

    Default Re: Calling vs. Posting

    I'd always glad to help when I can, whether you make a purchase from me or not. You'll notice a lot of my posts are done in the evening hours, because I don't have spare time during the day. I run a 1-man operation, which means I do everything in the store from ordering to sales to cleaning to accounting to unpacking to customer service and regulatory compliance. Not a lotta extra hours in the day that way. I get about 100 phone calls per day, half of which are telemarketing, a couple of dozen from suppliers, and a couple dozen more from customers. You can hopefully see why I don't have the time to talk someone through a buying decision between a La=Z=Boy recliner or a Broyhill at some store in Florida....so when I get those calls I decline to speak to them, and folks get upset sometimes, but we gotta keep it real.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

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