Saturday, December 27, 2008

Retailers still don't get it.

Hey Retailers - want to know why Amazon and Apple are kicking your ass? They give a customers a pleasant experience. Learn from it or go extinct.

Today I give you three examples of how out of touch companies are with their customer base.

The first - cell phone shopping. Let me preface this by saying that if I'm in a store, I have a hairline trigger on my credit card. I'm 90% sure I'm buying something. I don't spend my days in the malls browsing. I'm an honest to God paying customer.

The only thing left for a sales person to do, is not talk me out of a purchase. All I want to do is smell the factory air, and make sure there isn't something obvious that doesn't suck. Or else I would have just bought XYZ product online. So, you can understand my amazement with this interaction at the Verizon store this morning. Which BTW was completely empty.

Mr S. and I walk over and start checking out the new Blackberry Storms. I was actually delighted to see they had two models working. Last year at this time we bought new cell phones, and you were lucky to get a working model of anything. Remember my Helio story? And, just as an aside. Do retailers even get why Apple stores are packed? Let me give you a hint. They let the customers touch, and play. Not some dumbed down version of a working model. A full working user model of their products.

Anyway, Mr S. and I are starting to play with the features of the Storm.

Mr S. - (asking the hovering sales Dude) what do these things run?

Verizon Sales Dude - They are 30 bucks more a month.

This Readers - stops me in my tracks. I look at the sales guy with a raised eyebrow and say "well, how do you know how much we are paying now"?

Verizon Sales Dude - Well, there is a 30 dollar a month charge.

Mr S - For what?

Verizon Sales Dude - For the data plan.

Now Readers, I'm going to be honest here. When everyone tells me the economy is in the shits, and I walk into a store and the sales guy immediately tells me I'm going to pay more for something - it isn't a good start.

Firstly, I've already got a data plan. Secondly, I'm paying Verizon 277 bucks a month for 2 phone lines, a wireless card line, and an OnStar line. So f-u, to start a sales pitch that way. Are you people out of your minds? I basically give them the equivilant of a car payment each month. And, the sales guy hovering over me the whole time I'm playing with the phone is so irritating. So irritating!

Next - my MIL bought us something from I won't even go into it, but we can't use it. We just wanted to return it for store credit. We are a captive customer. We don't want the money - we will just buy something else. The item costs 120 bucks. But, doesn't give store credit. You can send the item back, and they will send you a check. Or you can order something else. If the item costs less, they will send you a check for the difference, if it costs more, you have to send your credit card number off in the mail for the difference. As they have no stores here to walk into to return items. Readers... who conducts business this way in this day and age? Why are they making it difficult to just buy something else from them? Why?

Last - this morning at breakfast. I'm not a big comparison shopping person. Something has to really stand out to attract my attention. Which is what happened this morning. I was looking at omelets.

Me -
"Hey Mr.S. Did omelets always cost 10 or 11 bucks here"?

This was IHOP for Christ sakes. We don't eat there often, but 11 bucks for an omelet might have attracted my attention before.

Him - I don't think so. Look, just a plain ham and cheese omelet costs 10 bucks.

For that price, I'm expecting a gourmet omelet. Which is not what IHOP does. I just do not understand why companies think that raising prices when business is declining is the answer to their problems. If I have a bad meal, I might give them another chance. But, I never think businesses are going to lower prices, and that is going to stick with me longer than crappy food.

And! I'm going to present you with this crappy picture, because the Verizon Sales Dude sucked so hard. I couldn't get a better cell phone camera to take a better picture. You will just have to trust me that omelet costs 10 bucks.

Truthfully, the whole thing annoys the crap out of me. I'd hoped that the rough economy might teach retailers how to satisfy their customers. But, it isn't. It is just giving them a reason to be in denial about their products and services. If you just gave us what we wanted without a lot of extra bullshit, people would buy stuff. But instead, they loose sale after sale to people who have their credit card extended at the door. Yet they manage to get customers to silently slip the card back into their pockets because the sales people are so clueless.

1 comment:

  1. Two years ago, Keyser had the misfortune to go into a Sears and try to buy Mrs. S. some fancy pots and pans. At the check out place (not exactly a line), no one seemed interested in taking Keyser's money, and Keyser inquired as to whether it would possible to conduct such a transaction. When someone answered, without much interest in the situation, that Keyser could try over there, Keyser walked way, loudly wondering to himself how ef-ing hard it seemed to be to spend $300 (on the Lair, Keyser would give the unexpurgated version, but things seem to be a bit more subdued over here, so when in Rome...).

    When entering the mall the other day through a large local department store, the line for sales seemed to be thirty people long. Keyser asked Mrs. S. what the people running the store could be thinking in this day and age to have two people on cash register two days before Christmas Eve.

    Generally, Keyser's attitude is that if stores aren't too interested in making it easy for Keyser to spend his money with them, Keyser would prefer to spend it elsewhere. Too bad you can't say that to the IRS!