After a recent experience at two competing retail stores giving me such a vastly different experience to the point of never wanting to return to one store, I feel compelled to share the experience and show how much customer service makes a difference no matter whether you are a retail B2C business or a B2B service business.
The story goes…
It was late one evening when I wandered into a Harvey Norman store on my way home from work to make initial research as to a particular product to see what my consumer options were. Within moments of entering the store, I was greeted by the sales specialist in that department whom promptly assisted me with the questions I had to find the correct product to meet my needs. Armed with all the information I needed I thanked him for his time and said I would be back once I reported my findings to the boss for a decision, as it was a business purchase. He smiled and told me I was welcome.
A week later I was back in the same store, this time with a different specialist as I was purchasing a different product. He sat me down at a desk to enter the purchase details and in the meantime inquired into my business, since he was entering it as a business purchase, and found that he, in fact, needed our services! He asked for a business card, which I happily produced and as he reinforced his first name, Desmond, to me walked with me to the counter to ensure the transaction went smoothly with the lady at the counter. It was then, with a positive frame of mind following my current experience that I thought I really should take advantage of their stocktake sale and make my purchase following last week’s research. I walked back over to that department and the sales specialist remembered me and my queries from last week and assisted me in my final purchase and ensured I was confident I was getting what I needed, to the point where I ended up buying double the amount I initially enquired about – yet another happy experience.
Only a week later I was sitting at work and needed to make a quick purchase, so being closer to The Good Guys I dashed down to the store. As soon as I walked in the doors the entrance was crammed with a couple of staff members, a trolley and several boxes of goods, which all had to be reshuffled while I waited just so I could get into the store. As I glanced around I couldn’t make out initially where to find the product I needed, so I casually walked the edge of the store trying to find that department. Not once was I greeted or assisted by a staff member.
Once the product was located I wasn’t sure what size I needed so had to walk around the store to find a staff member to assist, and even when it was obvious I was walking towards him he continued packing shelves and didn’t give me his attention until he had finished the task at hand. We walked back over to the product in silence, I explained what I needed and he pulled a product off the shelf and handed it to me saying “this will do it”; despite the fact I knew there were several products that could have fulfilled my need in various ways. Being in the rush I was and the lack of assistance present I decided not to question it and walked back to the register to make my purchase, still unsure if I had been handed the correct product. After waiting several minutes a disgruntled checkout lady opened up another register and put my purchase through whilst complaining about the queue behind me she had to serve and forthwith closed the register as soon as my transaction was put through, walking away in front of them. I walked out vowing I would never return.