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James Weekly Rant - Customer service or lack thereof

By JamesRL ·
I recently experienced some bad customer service at a computer retailler. Now unlike many complaints, this isn't about Best Buy or CompUSA or any big chain, this happened at a small store that has a web business. I used it a number of times out of convenience, they had competitive prices and their store is very close to my office.

The email I sent is below, and explains my position.

"You have lost a customer.

I will admit I'm not a huge customer, but I work for a global company and I am often asked who I recommend. As of now, it won't be XXXX.

My first experience was fine - I bought a card on sale and had no issues.

My second experience, I walked in and bought an an OEM copy of Vista, and a HD. I was treated rather condescendingly. I had asked for 32 bit, and was brought 64 bit, and when I asked to have 32bit, I was treated like I made the mistake and got the old sigh and moan.

I called today to ask about a new video card and was told the card wasn't in stock but it could be in the next day. When I asked to reserve it, I was directed to the website. I had already waited 10 minutes on the phone.

I did try to buy it on the website, but the order flow didn't work and I had to start over again. Your site was slow and many times I hit the buttons with no result. I will now take my business to some place that values my time and my experience.

I've been in retail sales, in cameras and computers and I've managed others doing the same.

I know my sales don't account for a tiny fraction of your sales, and my taking my business elsewhere won't shut down your business. But think of this. You know that most people don't take the time to complain, they just take their business elsewhere. "


My point, and there is one, is that good customer service doesn't just happen. Management in a store (or an IT help desk or many other places) has to create the right atmosphere, provide the right environment, and encourage the right behaviours to let their staff provide great service.

And let me be clear, I wasn't looking for great service at this store. I know what I want, and I just need to know if I can get it. I don't need staff to teach me, and I don't mind at all if they don't know everything, but I do expect they will make an attempt to satisfy my needs in exchange for my money.

Its experiences like these that will drive people away from to internet buying - if there is no personal service from buying in store, then price is all there is, and many internet retaillers have better prices.

Have you made the switch to webpurchases because retaillers don't provide good service?

James

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Companies don't get it

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to James Weekly Rant - Custo ...

You look at the state of the American flight industry, and see airline after airline suffering financial losses and cutting back on staff and flights. One airline bucks the trend: Southwest. Coincidentally, they routinely have the highest customer satisfaction and on-time percentages...by a far margin. They also have the lowest fees of any of the major carriers.

Last night on ABC Dateline, they did a little story on Zappos. They treat their customers like royalty (I haven't used them myself, but I have yet to hear anything bad about them...and toured their facility in Vegas as part of a trade show event earlier in the year); and apparently, treat their employees even better. The founder was was almost shocked that the reporter asked about the possibility of outsourcing his call center; pretty much said that outsourcing the helpdesk is the fast track to p!ss poor service. Amazingly, they keep turning profits, and are ever expanding.

Imagine, two companies that treat customers well. Two companies that turn profits, even in tumultuous economic times.

Go figure.

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Yep...

by HimDownStairs In reply to James Weekly Rant - Custo ...

Customer service comes with professionalism, common sense and at least a high school diploma. If the reps don't at least have the first two then there's not much left to be said.
I do, however, understand that there's only so much complaining (not saying you were complaining) a person can take before he or she snaps.
To the contrast, though, I also have worked in a tech sales job. Tech sales people feel entitled to one of two things : (1) You need to know what the He_ _ you want when you come in or call or (2) They need to teach you everything they know about technology. This attitude is part of the problem with tech companies. They want to prescribe before diagnosing.

It's all about what happens when you assume..

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I used to sell computers and cameras.

by JamesRL In reply to Yep...

In cameras, there tended to be a lot of snob appeal - people wanted a name.

But we tried to find out, briefly, what they wanted to do with the camera, what level of experience they had, and what the required technically. Then we would use our experience to show them a number of cameras that might suit them, and by doing that we found out even more.

What this took was not only a technical apptitude, but experience, and empathy. We "borrowed" the demo cameras at lunch and went out and shot a roll of film. When the store wasn't busy, we played with the cameras to get to know how they handled. But the most important sales skill we had was the ability to listen.

One company I have worked for had a slogan that they were "easy to do business with" and thats a goal many should emulate. What that computer store did is make it hard to do business with them. The salesman on the phone could have taken my name and phone number, ordered the part and called me when it was in. That would have brought him the sale and continuing business. Instead, to him answering the phone was an imposition, and it showed in his tone.

James

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For some things

by w2ktechman In reply to James Weekly Rant - Custo ...

others I prefer in store. I also happen to research a bit before a big purchase, to make sure that I know what I want. If I go to the store, I will have 2 or 3 models in mind, if they dont got it, I go elsewhere or get it online.

Luckily for me, I have few issues with the local stores. If Micro-Center pisses me off, I'll go 4 blocks to Fry's. If Fry's pisses me off, there are plenty of other places around here (including 3 more Fry's -- lol).

I prefer the Micro Center here mainly because they are very customer service oriented. However, there are times........
Usually they are very good though.

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I'm kinda nuts about research.

by JamesRL In reply to For some things

I read multiple reviews and pour over benchmarks on video cards. In the end I know what I want, and I know what it costs. I use Tigerdirect as my benchmark price - you can often get it cheaper, but they usually have it in stock. And in video cards, I'm pretty flexible about the manufacturer since there really isn't a huge difference between brands when you are talking the same graphics chip and amount of memory.

I prefer not to buy by web/mail because of delivery charges and I like face to face contact in case I have to return something.

James

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I see this more in younger employees

by jdclyde In reply to James Weekly Rant - Custo ...

The ones that haven't "got it" about a career yet, and this is just a job. One that is dreadfully cutting into their party time, at that.

They don't want to be there, and it shows.

I find that much more common than the know-it-alls that look down upon you.

Our local white-box store usually takes good care of me, because we get the lions share of our parts from there. Sure, we can save buying on-line, but we usually need the part NOW and can't wait the 3-5 days for delivery. That, and if there is a problem, it is so much easier to walk into the store for a replacement than to mail it back to a vendor.

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