Retailers Share in Electronic Sales Prevention Award
By Mark Lilien, Consultant, Retail Technology Group (www.retailtechnologygroup.com)
This is the story of Marylou’s search for small stereo speakers for her den.
One afternoon, Marylou and yours-truly went driving around Paramus, New Jersey in search of said speakers.
Our first stop was at Electronics Expo (one of five stores in NJ). The salesman was very nice, but didn’t know how to get the right pair of speakers to play. There was a control panel on the wall, but the buttons weren’t labeled. By trying every button and walking around the room listening, we finally discovered the secret and heard what we needed to hear.
Next up on our expedition was Circuit City. The salesman who waited on us couldn’t figure out how to get the selected speakers to play, so after 15 minutes of attempted rewiring (I timed it), he got someone else to help him. After 30 more minutes, the right pair of speakers could be heard.
Number three on our list of stops was Best Buy. They have well-labeled push buttons for customers to try the speaker combinations. There were three different control panels and Marylou’s were connected to panel one. Unfortunately, it was broken. Having gone into DIY mode at this point, I connected the speakers to the third control panel. They sounded great so we went looking for a salesperson. The one we found demonstrated his customer service acumen by making us wait while he reconnected the speakers to the broken panel. He then went and found that the displayed speakers were out-of-stock.
Next up was P.C. Richard. They had the speakers Best Buy didn’t and we were thrilled. The price was not marked (they were priceless!), but after finding a salesperson in another department, we discovered Richard’s price was almost twice that of Best Buy.
Feeling a bit worse for wear (or is that hear?) at this point, we went back to Marylou’s house. She went online and found the speakers she wanted on Amazon. Within minutes, she had bought them for a price (including shipping) lower than Best Buy, with delivery made in three days.
For their service well below the call of their duty to their customers, we bestow the highly undesirable but richly deserved Sales Prevention Award for October to the consumer electronics retailers of Paramus, New Jersey.
Moderator’s Comment: How do businesses with successful customer organizations identify and then reduce impediments to better serving customers and correct
them? What does it take to build a culture of customer service and how is it that some companies have it and others do not? –
Mark Lilien – Moderator