Tuesday, 22 April 2008

A Bad Brand Experience

We have all had painful customer service experiences.
Yesterday I had a very painful one.
A case study in a retailer over-complicating something.

Too many organisations are guilty of over-complicating procedures. My experience yesterday – buying a new laptop in PC World - should have been a simple process, but the retailer put so many obstacles between Enquiry and Fulfilment, it’s a miracle I stayed.

A culture of unwieldy systems and a lack of urgency turned what should have been a simple transaction into a painful one.

It should have gone like this:

Me: I would like a laptop please – the Eee PC. Do you have any?
Sales Assistant: Yes sir, I will get you one right away.
Me: Thank you.
Sales Assistant: Here you Go Sir.
Me: Good bye.

6 minutes max, not 60 minutes.

Instead I wasted nearly an hour dealing with the Business Centre which promised to offer a ‘better service’ than the shopfloor (I only dealt with them in the first place because there was no shopfloor staff available).

The Business Centre explained that I had to register for a business account. This was tedious and took far too long. The system wasn't working properly. ‘Phonecalls were made to head office. I'll just pay credit card I suggested, I don't need an account.The salesman went off to find my laptop for me which took an age; he had to find a manager to let him in to the warehouse. He came back with the box. He couldn’t break the seal. I lent him my car key to break it. Even with me paying by credit card he still had to put it through a business account. He spelt my company name wrong. He had to 'phone up again to get the account number to put it through the system. He was friendly enough and tried his best, admitting it was the first time he used the system. He was polite and apologetic. But the brand experience was zero. One of those times when you think this has taken me half an hour but if I walk out now I really have wasted my time, at least if I walk out of here with what I want, then I have a result.

The culture of the organisation needs re-engineering. It needs to be a case of 'back to basics'. Like this:

PC World sells boxes.
Customers want to buy boxes.
A customer walks in and asks for a box.
PC World fetch him the box and sell it to him.
Customer hands over his credit card.

End Of Story.

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