There’s few things that upset me more than arrogant sales people. Unfortunately, on an island where there are few options and a distinct lack of viable competition, arrogance is rife. There seems to be an underlying feeling that if you don’t like it, tough, because there are no more options.
Like Nick, I have also come away short following a recent Customer Experience. For me, it was while trying to buy a TV/Video/Remote sender and then a Blu-Ray player.
I don’t like shopping at electornic goods retailers. The staff are basically out to pay their commission and whether you get the product you actually want and require is not always a priority. I can deal with pushy sales people, so I’m fine with that. What I can’t stand is them giving out incorrect information. Unfortunately, though, thinking about it today I realised that if they knew what they were doing then they’d probably be in another job.
So, experience #1. Buying a video/remote sender. I have bought these previously, and I know that despite the marketing on the pack you cannot watch the source in the two rooms at the same time, that bit of information is strategically “ommitted”. You need to split the signal off and then send it to the second room. Despite arguing this with the salesman at Waltons last week, they were quite insistent. Got it home, tested it, oh what a surprise. So I bought the necassary kit from Maplin instead. No biggie.
Today took the biscuit, however. I am after a Blu-Ray player, a very specific
model of Blu-Ray player. I’m after the Panasonic DMPDB55 Blue-Ray player,
because having done my research I find it is the most affordable player on the
market and has oustanding reviews. It’s also one of a very few players that have
Blu-Ray Profile 2.0. Unlike the DMPBD3x models, which everyone seems to want to sell to me. So having done my research, printed off my bit of paper, I
reluctantly decided to give a local firm a chance to bag £400 from me. I stood
around at the counter for about 5 minutes while 3 staff argued about the maximum length of a USB cable for another customer and a fourth stood around in the office at the back. Someone finally came to see me and I said I was looking for “that” player, handing over my sheet. I was brusquely told “no, we don’t have that one”. I had to ask about when they were going to get it in stock, “not before Christmas”. I didn’t actually need it for Christmas, but a date would have been nice. Then, he
tossed the piece of paper back at me. Such contempt for me as a
customer is misplaced.
In these uncertain times, if someone came in to my shop and said “I have £400
burning a hole in my pocket, and I want to buy this player”, I would be all over
that sale. No knowledge of the product is needed, no effort is needed, the sale
is already made! All that needs to happen is for the stock to come in. An “I’m
sorry Sir, that player isn’t currently in stock. Could I put one on back order
for you? Would you like to secure it with a deposit?” would have been much more
useful. (As it happens, I was more worried about the length of queue in HMV when
getting the Blu-Ray discs than when I would get the player!)
So, I’ve decided to buy it from Superfi, a company I bought my amplifier from when I was back in Manchester. These guys were VERY good. They talked to me, helped me identify the best speakers to use, and even stayed open later so I could pick it up after work. THAT is customer service. So instead of investing £400 in a player and giving a local business a hefty commission/return, I am going to spend £350 on a UK company’s web site – and wait for delivery anyway. Now who’s the idiot?
After the Waltons experience, I did go to Colebourns for an almost as useless
response. No “can we order it in?”. Just “No, we don’t stock that”. All I got
when I tried to engage in conversation was a grunt. Then I went to M&S and
the quality of service was markedly different. The salesman behind the counter
knew what he was talking about and when he asked his colleague about whether the player was in stock, his colleague actually said “No, but we have these models.
Can I ask why you want this model?” I was then able to say I needed the Profile
2.0 feature, he was told by myself and his colleague why I needed this and we
both came out of that experience positively. They didn’t have it in stock, but
my was it an improvement on Waltons!