What an online mattress retailer can teach brands about top notch customer service

Malika Bowling

Photo bySaatva

Buying a mattress online? The idea sounds pretty wild, especially back in 2010 when Saatva launched. Considering how much time we spend on our mattresses and how important sleep is, it is hard to imagine making this decision sight (and feel) unseen. But Saatva has changed that, becoming the largest online retailer of mattresses. Beyond that, they have fantastic customer service, as I experienced.

I was intrigued by their standards. All of Saatva’s handcrafted, eco-friendly mattresses are made to order in the USA with premium materials that meet the highest health and environmental safety standards. Saatva mattresses are always hand-delivered and set up in the customer’s home, never compressed in a box for doorstep shipping. It included 24/7 customer service, complimentary white-glove delivery, and 365-night in-home trial.

I got my Luxury firm mattress in 2019. However, after 6 months the mattress became somewhat uncomfortable, my husband frequently woke up with back pain and there was hump in the middle of our mattress several inches high. By 2022, it was getting worse, and I called Saatva, seeing if there was anything that could be done. The CSR, Amber, who I reached on a weekend, was kind and empathetic. She told me they absolutely wanted to make things right and I could at the very least pay a small fee (like $150) to get my mattress fixed or an upgrade fee to get a new mattress. After 3 years of having the mattress, I was thrilled with the offer.

But it got even better - she called me the next day to tell me that since their return rate is so low, and they wanted to go above and beyond, they were giving me a brand new mattress. The mattress was made and delivered within 2 weeks. How am I sleeping? I've slept well since.

I was so impressed with this level of customer service, one that seems to be missing from so many businesses, I asked to interview Saatva and find out what makes them so great.

Photo bySaatva

Interview with Marty Ehrlich, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience at Saatva, the Smarter Luxury Sleep Company

How do you see Saatva as different (in their marketing and customer service) from other online-only mattress brands

As a brand, Saatva is built on great customer service and delivering comfort. We value customer service highly and we empower our employees to do little things to delight our customers. As an example, many of our customer service representatives will send hand-written thank you notes to their customers. Sure, it's a small thing, but it's also an increasingly rare gesture of gratitude.

Every company says they put customer service first, but Saatva commits to it. This is evidenced by our 24/7/365 call center. It is important to us that we have live, well-trained Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) available at any hour of the day or night to communicate with our customers, in the medium in which they want to be communicated with. We strive to align our employee experience with our brand. An essential tenet of our brand is the consistency of experience, whether on our website, over the phone with a customer service representative, or in one of our beautiful Viewing Rooms nationwide (Saatva is now branching into physical retail).

Can you share a bit about the training customer service reps go through? I could definitely feel Amber empathizing with me.

It all starts with the hiring process. We always look to hire "nice." To us, this means hiring CSRs who care about people and quickly adopt our mantra of "thrilling the customer" at every contact point. From there, we have a pretty comprehensive training program we like to refer to as "Mattress School." This training is conducted with new hires for their first six weeks, but it can exceed that time frame depending on their level of product knowledge, customer service skills, telecommunication skills, etc. With this, we ensure our CSR's and Flex CSR's (the CSRs who work out of our Viewing Rooms nationwide) are ready and equipped to work with our customers and provide what is expected of their role. A major goal in the recruiting process and Mattress School Training is to ensure that the service and experience given to our customers are aligned with our brand and how we present ourselves.

What makes for satisfied employees? Is it pay?

We believe our CSRs join and stay at Saatva for reasons other than a paycheck. They truly enjoy helping others. Everyone's efforts at Saatva are recognized and appreciated. Our CSRs are encouraged to have professional but fun conversations with our customers. This, hopefully, makes for not only a great experience for our customers, but for our staff as well.

Does someone really answer the phone on nights and weekends?

It's true! Give us a call sometime and say "hi"!

Anything else you'd like to add about Saatva customer service?

When we hire CSRs at Saatva, we all ask questions designed to understand if a prospective employee is likely to delight our customers or their coworkers with small acts of kindness. Are they the type of person who does the right thing even when no one is looking? Are they willing to impart wisdom to others--to help others rather than sell to them.

For instance, one of our CSRs once spent a half hour on the phone with an elderly woman who called, thinking she was calling Walmart. The woman was lost, and could not find the Walmart store, and our employee called up the woman's location on google maps and provided turn-by-turn directions. Stories like that are common at Saatva.

We endeavor to offer the best value in the online premium mattress space, and in turn, have the greatest customer base you could ask for. By hiring the right kinds of people, we make it more likely that our customers will experience Saatva at its best. With that combination, it makes customer service's job a pleasure!

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