Business & Internet Forums

PC World, flash memory sticks, and customer service

October 29, 2004

Categories: Business

My mum has been badgering myself to get a memory stick. As I’ve got a friend’s wedding over the weekend, getting a good memory card for journeying seems like a good idea.

So I drove to PC World to check them out. After looking around I asked a sales rep where I could find memory sticks. He pointed myself to a kiosk and stated that they were in a cabinet there and he wandered off. I came to the kiosk and didn’t immediately see them so I asked abother rep a short way off. He redirected myself there, and pointed out that the cabinat was around the corner from it, then wandered off.

I got to the cabinet - it was locked.

I figure that the staff didn’t expect myself to smash the glass just to look at the packaging and find out what a memory stick is, and whether a USB 2 one is fully compatatible with a USB 1 port. So I asked another member of staff putting out software boxes on the next kiosk.

He found a security guard to open the cabinet, told me USB 2 would be fine with USB 1, and handed myself a box for a 1 Gigabyte and 512 Megabyte flash memory sticks.

Getting a price at the till, the 1 Gigabyte memory stick was over what I planned to budget. However, the 512 MB memory stick was in a box in appalling condition - it looked as if it had been left in the rain and then kicked about. The packaging was battered and very poor quality.

I hadn’t yet asked the staff member what the “40 times faster!” claim on the 1 GB memory stick meant, but he’d already wandered off, leaving myself with an unknown product, a broken box, and a security guard who figured he may as well just lock up the cabinet again.

Let’s recap - 3 staff members considered it more important to do something else but sell myself a product, and when I did have a product in my hands, the cashier expected myself to be happy with a smashed up box.

Did the memory stick still work? She told me if it didn’t I could bring it back. Sure, like I want to chase PC World just to get a working product.

I left the shop pretty disgusted, without making a sale, and went next door to Currys. Their sales staff are also variable, but when I finally found a member of staff, he talked to me, and answered a few simple questions on the product without wnadering off.

I purchased a memory stick, some blank CD’s, and a camera battery - just under ��100.

I constantly find it incredible when big brand retailers depend on low-trained minimum wage staff to represent their interests. In my opinion, well-trained staff who believe in what they are doing, and care about what they are doing, are absolutely essential to make sales.

I should never have been allowed to go into a retailed such as PC world, looking to buy a product they had, only to leave dissatisfied. Staff should have considered it more important to take myself to a locked cabinet, see it unlocked, and then answer a few simple questions - rather than wander off or put software on the shelves.

The fact that it took requests to 3 staff and a security guard, just to be handed a tattered product, shows a most appalling failure of business method, marketing practice, and sales strategy.

I certainly won’t be looking to PC World for my next PC, nor future peripherals.

(Feel free to enter the forum discussion on Customer Service.)

Link: PC World, flash memory sticks, and customer service