Okay, it’s been awhile since I ranted about the concept of good service but I’m full to the brim with disgust at the moment. Since I am down some posts this month (ugh), figured it was time to let off some steam. So, let’s do some associative math.
Profit = Money Gained – Money Spent
Money Gained = Customer Money Spent
Customer Money Spent = Customer Satisfaction (yes, this is dependent on the industry since there are clear examples of customers spending money that are not happy about it at all)
so by association:
Profit = Customer Satisfaction.
Are there really any business people out there that do not understand the fact that satisfied customers lead to more profits? Granted a loss may not be realized at the time the bad service is experienced (again, because there are some transactions that occur because there are no other options at that point in time), but looking forward, is that same customer going to subject herself to another bad experience or seek a more customer friendly vendor? Thinking this is probably covered in Business Class 001. I write that, yet I now have had 4 experiences this week alone that brings that into question (actually it should have been 3 but I broke my rule which allowed one of them to happen – more on that later).
Three of these experiences are directly related to a decision to increase my zombie survival coefficient – well, that and disgust over reading public statements by Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel who apparently hasn’t read the US Constitution and thinks he can restrict my rights to bear arms – but I digress. Needless to say I did some research and had a general idea of what I wanted to purchase. There were some questions on features and model variations but figured those could be easily handled by the expert at the store. So off I went with Linda to check out the local offerings. First off was Gander Mountain, a chain Sportsman/Outfitter that generally carries a number of different makes and models. Up to the counter we went with a pretty high degree of excitement (well, I was excited, Linda .. not so much). Their clerks were busy with other people so I walked over to the area I was interested in and started looking at the different options. After exhausting everything I could find out about the different models and trying my best to match them up with my catalog, I turned back to get some help. Still nobody available – more time to double check the catalog and pick a few up to check the weights and feel… anybody? nope… guess I’ll try to figure out which one was posted in their ad we saw at the entrance to the store… ummm .. can’t even match that one.. finally I caught the attention of a lady working behind the counter. Great, now to get down to business.
and to do that you need to hit the jump
“Can you tell me which one of these are on sale?”
Response was in the neighborhood of “we do not have any of those on sale.”
Ugh, we get the ad and I show her the one in there that says it is $100 off. Turns out it was just a factory rebate, but they were definitely advertising it as if it was a sale price. Anyway she now knows what we were talking about so went to the same area to find it… no luck – she was then forced to ask the other young clerk which one it was. “I think we’re out.” and then picks up a tag off the counter and confirms their out of it. That was not a big deal for me since I really wanted another model.. which I couldn’t find there either. After two more questions were met with blank stares she finally punted and asked the guy to come take care of me. What followed was the second most unhelpful discussion of the night.
“What model is that?”
“What’s the difference between these two models”
“One is more expensive”
“How does this other brand compare to the one I wanted”
“Well, the police are using it now so it must be good”
“What does this button do?”
“I don’t know, but a military friend of mine says he’s never had to push it.”
My patience had worn down by then and decided this was a total waste of time!
So off to Presley’s Southside Worm Ranch. You probably just laughed, but it is a great local store for everything redneck. After a 15 minute+ drive we walked up to the door only to realize the clerk was locking up for the night – It was eight, they close at eight I have no problem with that but kicking myself for wasting so much time at Gander. We were out and the evening was on a downer so we decided to head over to Bass Pro Shop to see what they had. I was not that optimistic based on the comments of others who had been there. It may be a huge chain, but they apparently are not passing on their buying power to their customers. At least they should have a decent variety of inventory to check out. 20 minute drive later we were walking up to the counter. Correction, Linda was done with this for the night so headed off to check out some other departments. The clerk there was helping out another couple so I patiently took up a position down by the section I was interested in. Eventually another older guy came by and asked me if I needed some help. YES! “Can you tell me if you carry this model?”- pointing to a page in my catalog. He proceeds to turn back to the racks behind him and turns over a couple of tags, glances at them and then and turns back and looks at me. Meanwhile, I’m saying to myself “He didn’t even look at the model number on the page, what is he trying to compare to?” I took his silence to mean they didn’t have it so I asked him which one was the one in their ad. He turns back, rifles through the tags again and pulls one out and proceeds to aim it up at the ceiling… and then it turned really bizarre. He lowers it and proceeds to spout of all the knowledge he has on it –
“Well, you know this is really just company X”.
“Really, I was not aware of that I thought they were their own company”
“I know that because it comes in a different box in the back”
“Interesting” [not really, I could not care less and for the record, company X does not OWN them, they are sister brands under a conglomerate]
“You know, this company and this company are really the same too” – which might have been remotely interesting if either of those companies pertained to my inquiry
“What size ammo that chambered for?”
“You have to look on the barrel because that is where they put that information” as he starts looking all over for it
“Turn it over and look just past the trigger”… or look at the damn tag hanging off the trigger guard
“Oh, there it is”
“Can I se…”
and this is when he literally turns his back to me and replaces it back in the rack! Now I am furious. This was suppose to be an enjoyable event and now I’m extremely aggravated that not one, but two large chain stores have totally failed to deliver expected levels of service – especially since I was there to actually BUY a fairly high priced discretionary item.
I opted to swallow a comment and instead I turned away and went to find Linda.
The next day I went back to the Worm Ranch and had an incredibly satisfying experience with a very knowledgeable employee that was able to answer every question I had! I thanked him for his attention and mentioned how much better it was that my experiences the other night. His response “That is why we are STILL in business”.
Now I have to chastise myself for a stop I made a few days later. The Worm Ranch is a significant drive and since I only needed a small item decided to stop back in at Gander Mountain since it was literally on my way home. I gathered up my one item and decided to check out what they had for ammo. Once the proper caliber was located I became intrigued that there were two offerings from the same vendor but one was 10 bucks and the other was 20 for the same count. Each description was scrutinized for any indication of a difference that would justify the premium price. Nothing on the box gave a clue … well that I could decipher. A glance towards the counter I was at a few days before discovered a different person working that looked older .. and therefore assumed more knowledgeable. A chance to redeem themselves. I took the two boxes up to the counter and asked them (there was now two back there) if they could tell me the difference. With eager anticipation I awaited their wisdom. Response “Don’t know, but everything in that bright green box is always higher” . You have got to be kidding me. Another try “What does this UMC mean on this box?” Clerk – “Umm Marine Corps?” With a crisp thanks, both boxes were scooped up and placed neatly back on the shelf and off to the register to pay for my few items and get the hell out. It will be damn hard for me to go back in that store (but still not as hard as it will be to get me back in Pass Bro). I felt bad I had not taken the time to go to Presley’s but I’ve already made up for that.
Which brings us to the tipping point event. This post ended up going waay to long so I’ll just highlight the last offending experience. Linda actually has the one who experienced this… but I was home with a gurgling tummy so in essence we both suffered. After some discussion, we decided to get a carry out from Double A’s – a local bar/eatery. Linda headed off to pick up the order while I went to work on the mulch pile from hell. After an eternity I began to worry that something had happened and stopped into the house to give her a jingle. She was okay, almost home… but there was an event – code for there was an episode at the restaurant. Based on the way this week has been going this wasn’t much of a surprise. Turns out she arrived to pick up the order and was told it wasn’t ready yet. After waiting for a significant amount of time and actually having a conversation with another lady who was also experiencing an issue with her pizza, Linda decided to check on the order “It’s been 40 minutes now, can someone go check on my order?” They came back and admitted they failed to get the order to the kitchen and they were just now getting to it. Nice! After more wait she noticed the manager give the order to the cashier and tell her something. This led Linda to expect some level of compensation for the wait. The manager takes off and leaves the girl to inform Linda that they are sorry for the trouble and here’s five dollars to use on your next visit. Umm she just waited over an hour for a take out order and for that they offer her $5 to use on her NEXT visit. I appreciate the fact they did something, but a) if they think her time is that insignificant and b) the manager is too inconsiderate to apologize himself, then I question their level of customer appreciation. The good news is there are a lot of food options in this town and a quick reshuffling of the menu drawer now has Mickey’s Pizza on top!
Whew.. I feel much better now! Sorry for downloading on you but I am officially tired of the “we are losing money because of those evil people buying on the Internet” editorials that is becoming the shield for failing brick and mortar businesses. I’ll gladly buy from local stores such as the Worm Ranch because they offer a level of service that isn’t available from an HTTPS interaction. If I can get a better answer to a question from a Google submission then I might as well hit that convenient link at the top that takes me to an online store.