Does anyone else have a problem buying gifts for men?
With three sons and a Hubby, it seems like a constant challenge to come up with the right gift.
This year I wracked my brains right up until the week before Hubby’s birthday to come up with a thoughtful and caring gift – only to be talked out of buying it.
Do you ever get the impression salespeople don’t actually want to sell you anything?
Normally super organised when it comes to birthday and Christmas gifts, I was having a mental block when it came to Hubby’s birthday. Inspiration didn’t strike until the week before when I thought about buying him an electric shaver as his skin has become sensitive from having many skin cancers treated.
Filled with excitement and gratitude at finally coming up with something, I went to The Shaver Shop at our local shopping centre.
I told the salesperson what I wanted – an electric shaver that was good for sensitive skin.
WHEN THE SELLER REFUSES TO SELL
She pointed out one that was well over $300 and I explained I didn’t want to spend that much as I was unsure if Hubby would even use it, having always preferred a simple stick shaver.
Surely there was a cheaper alternative? Apparently not. That was the only one in a shop full of shavers, all of which were on sale (except that one!).
I pleaded a bit for an alternative (I was down to the wire time-wise) but she held her ground.
WHEN THE CUSTOMER IS NEVER RIGHT
“It’s not just my job to sell you something,” she said.
“I’m here to educate you as well”.
I resisted the urge to tell her if I wanted an education about shavers I’d go to the appropriate school – is there even such a place as shaver school?
Instead, I left the store empty handed, went to Big W and paid a third of the price for a shaver that advertises it is perfect for sensitive skin.
I did this without the assistance of a sales assistant.
Unbelievable that a person who is paid to sell actually talks customers who are desperately eager to buy, out of the purchase.
I truly hate to be talked into buying something that I’m not interested in, or that will not work for me, but by insisting on recommending only the most expensive option, this woman lost a sale. She also lost a customer, as I will not return to that store. She may lose other customers, as I will spread the word.
What ever happened to “the customer is always right”?
I’ve worked in retail and have dealt with the public enough to know how very annoying it can be. However, it’s a crazy time for stores to be losing customer service when so many people are already rejecting them for the convenience of online shopping.
WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR PRODUCT
One of my daughters-in-law recently went to Baby Bunting to buy a new car seat. This is a store that specialises in baby products so you would think the staff would know what they’re talking about.
DIL was looking for a seat that would keep her five-year-old daughter harnessed until she is eight. The shop assistant told her the Goddess was too big for a car seat and it was safer to have her in a normal seat belt, despite all evidence from doctors saying the opposite.
DIL, who has done a lot of her own research on the safest way for young kids to travel in cars, then showed the shop assistant how the car seat extended to cater for taller kids, something the salesperson should have known.
The experience left DIL wondering how many kids were in the wrong car seats because the shopkeepers had no idea what they were talking about.
AND THEN THERE’S THAT MISSING R
Do you remember my missing R? If you missed it, read R is for Ridiculous – remarkable rambling and raving.
Twice I went to the place of purchase, Harvey Norman, only to have that naughty letter behave perfectly – much as the sick dog makes a magical recovery when you get to the vet.
I typed, the staff typed, and that R was there every time.
The staff told me there had been similar problems with other laptops of the same brand. They decided the problem must be with my notebook and not the keyboard and recommended I do a total restore.
Fortunately, I listened to advice telling me not to do this as it is a major hassle and I would probably lose information.
Then someone I know at another branch went to bat for me. By now the notebook and keyboard were out of warranty but under a special product care, I had paid extra for.
When my friend asked for copies of my invoice at the branch where I purchased the notebook (Penrith branch), the computer salesperson asked her why.
She explained she would organise a replacement for me from her branch as they seemed unwilling to help.
The sales guy told her they had offered me a replacement but I had stormed out of the store and that I didn’t know how to type (I was hitting the keys too softly apparently) which is why it wasn’t working.
Aside from the obvious contradiction, this was, of course, a lie. My friend explained her relationship to me and was answered with a guilty silence.
The happy end result is that I have a new keyboard which works perfectly – no reset required.
The downside is that this is another store I won’t return to – one at which, over the space of a few decades, I had been a loyal customer for furniture and electrical needs.
It is interesting to note that statistics recently released puts Harvey Norman in second place for the top 20 most complained about businesses in New South Wales.
THE IMPACT OF BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE
Who knows what impact the way you treat others could have?
I’m reminded of a story about the Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer, in search of food after a late night at a casino.
The first restaurant he stopped at was closing and would not serve him so he went to the next one and the staff there did serve him, though that restaurant was also closing. Packer gave the waiter a £10,000 tip asking him to “make sure your mate down the road gets to hear”.
We don’t all have the luxury of such riches but we do have a voice and a choice.
As consumers, we can choose where to spend our time and money and we can let others know when we’ve been treated unfairly.
As salespeople, we have a responsibility to act with integrity and care.
To quote Robert Louis Stevenson; “Everybody lives by selling something”. You could be selling a product, a brand, a service, an idea, or a persona.
How we treat the people we sell to not only impacts our financial success in life but also our personal lives.
What has your worst sales experience been?
Have a gleeful week, Tamuria.