Friday, May 29, 2009


Last week I had two quite distinct experiences with the customer service offered in retail stores.


In the first store , I was looking at the video cameras, because it would be nice to have a videoblog as well, isn’t it? I was looking whether they had the Flip Video which was featured in the last FC issue. I was the only person in the store, but he didn’t pay any attention, as he started to vacuum clean the entrance. So, I decided not to wait and ask for help. When I told him that I was looking for the Flip Video, he asked me whether I knew the part number, so he could check it in the computer….?! The computer did not know about this product. Then I checked the other cameras. For which he had to open the special display. When he handed me one of the cameras I tried to use it, but it didn’t work. He said that is because the battery is not inserted. As he made no effort to correct this, I stopped my search……..


I have nothing personal against this young man. There is a lot to improve for his boss though. It looks like that all the management effort is geared towards getting the  right products with the right prices and discounts on the shelf. However, it is key to understand that the consumer needs help in buying the electronic articles. Most articles are quite complicated, so it helps me in my buying process when someone shows me how they work. It is like having a test drive. Just looking doesn’t give me the right experience. This means that the young man who helped me needs training. Training is needed on how to socialize with the consumer and on how to showcase the usage of the products. This small investment in time will have a great pay off.


The opposite of this experience was when I visited a new supermarket, which just opened. I was looking for certain products but couldn’t find them. So I asked one of the girls where I could find it. It surprised me that she walked with me to the right place and showed me the article. That was fine. I went ahead with my shopping and I couldn’t find another article, so I asked again. And again she walked with me to the right aisle and shelf. I asked her whether that was not a nuisance, as many customers would be asking her this. She replied that it was very understandable that this happened and that after some time it would no longer be needed, as the customer would know their way around. Another pleasant surprise was when I checked out. Because I had bought for a certain amount I did receive a free box of apples. I liked the apples, but it is hard to take it with you on a bike. So, I asked whether she had another idea. As a response she put the apples for me in a plastic bag, so they would be easier to carry. This store clearly has understood that you have to train your people on the right behaviour. And that pays off!


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