Looking for the right kettle
My wife has been searching for the right kettle for a little while and has not managed to find one. This week she made another attempt to find that kettle – this time at the local Tesco Direct store.
Asking for help
She was looking at one kettle in particular. The label on the shelf gave the price of the kettle and listed various other features but not the volume. So my wife asked one of the shop assistants to find out what the volume of the kettle was. The first thing that the shop assistant did was to take the label of the shelf, putting on his glasses and then take a good look at it. Then he told my wife that he could not help as the volume was not printed on the label.
Feeling insulted by the sales assistant
By taking the label and looking at it, the assistant left my wife feeling insulted – as if she did not have the intelligence or the literacy to read the label herself. She knew that the volume was not specified on the label and that is why she had asked the assistant for help.
Getting help that is unhelpful and wastes time
Not being content with helping my wife by telling her the obvious, and failing to actually give her with the answer to the question she had asked, the sales assistant moved up a gear. He assumed that my wife wanted larger volume kettles and started showing her these kettles.
My wife responded by telling the sales assistant that she did not like her kettles to be too tall as that stopped her from cleaning them. Yet he continued to show her more and more kettles. Eventually, my wife ended the conversation by telling the sales assistant that she had the information she needed and no longer needed his help. Why? Because the assistant was not being helpful – he was actually wasting her time. Clearly the experience was not a great one for the shop assistant as he apologised and mentioned that he was new and not fully up to speed.
After some more looking around my wife finally found and chose the kettle that she wanted to buy. Actually, she found two kettles each with a different product ID. They looked remarkably similar and so she spent time comparing them: she figured out that it was exactly the same kettle – one with the base on and one with the base off!
The kettle has been discontinued and is not in stock!
After half an hour of looking around my wife found the right kettle. So she went to the kiosk and punched in the product ID (both of them) only to be told that the kettle was not in stock as it had been discontinued. This puzzled by wife. Why display a product if you have discontinued selling it and do not have it in stock? At this point my wife had had enough and simply walked out and then came home to tell me all about her frustrating experience.
If you want the customer to value you then you must value her: don’t waste her time and if she asks for help then give that help exactly – no more, no less. And please bear in mind that some customers will hesitate to tell your organisation of poor service because they do not want your staff to get into trouble.