Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shopping for a Fireplace Insert: Cold Customer Service

While shopping for a fireplace insert we visited a store that we had noticed because they advertised a lot on the radio and in the paper. It was a family run store so naturally I expected warm and friendly service.

Instead they greatly disappointed me.

We weren’t tire kicking. We had already decided that we would buy a fireplace gas insert. We had a beautiful fireplace and enjoyed sitting in front of a roaring fire. But we preferred the convenience of gas instead of logs.

We were willing to spend between $2500 - $3500. All we needed to decide is where would we buy and which model.

So how was our shopping experience at this particular store?

In short – horrible.

First, we were kept waiting about 10 minutes before anyone even acknowledged us. One sales rep even pushed by us (without apologizing) without offering to help.

The sales person who eventually talked to us - yapped and yapped.

I showed my displeasure with her approach and tried to ask her some questions. This is how she responded.

She defended - "No one told me about the special"
She made excuses, "I know my product - but I forgot that information"
She lied "everyone does it this way" when we had learned differently the previous day from a major competitor.
She interrupted me a few times while I was asking a question.

And the big trust stealer was - they wanted full payment before the work is completed. Their competitor only required a 50%`deposit.

I finally muttered "Never mind - we are leaving."

That sales person didn’t know what she did wrong. And that business owner didn’t know what they were doing wrong. They’ll probably blame somebody or something for their lack of business.

Curious that we next stopped at a Dollar store and spent $4. The cashier (who I assumed was the owner) was pleasant to both of us - even though I impatiently hovered while my wife bought. He spoke and looked friendly at each of us in turn and asked us both to come back.

I wanted to ask him if he had any fireplace inserts.

We eventually found a store where we bought our fireplace insert.

All the expensive radio and newspaper ads in the world will be defeated by poor customer service. Where should you invest your time and money first?

George Torok
Marketing Speaker


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