Brick and Mortar Stores Aren’t Enough, You Also Need Customer Service

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Customer Service

This morning on the news, I heard a report of a retailer who has thus far been an online presence only. Now they are opening a brick and mortar store because they understand that customers like to see, touch and compare the actual products. Fortuitously, an experience I just had at Best Buy served as a reminder that bricks and mortar are just the beginning. What really makes the difference is… customer service.

That was what was lacking during my recent shopping experience at Best Buy, and it is why Amazon.com got the sale.

No Sale

I went into Best Buy to purchase a Sony NEX mirrorless camera. When I walked up to the camera area, there were four or five different customer reps standing there speaking with each other. I looked at the cameras, but then when I looked up to ask some questions there was no one to be found. I stood there for five minutes. Then I stood there for another five minutes. No one was to be seen. So I walked up to a Best Buy salesperson and asked a question. He replied it wasn’t his department, and they really couldn’t help. So I walked up to someone who had appeared in the department but was looking at the computer. I asked him something, but he never even looked up.

15 to 20 minutes had passed by this point. Someone finally walked over and said, “Can I help you?” I said “Yes, I’ve been standing here for about 20 minutes, and no one has come up and been available; I’m looking to make a purchase.”

His response? “Okay.”

“Okay?!?!” I thought … and I started to walk away, but decided that there was a point to be made. I walked back to him and said, “I’ve been standing here for 20 minutes, and no one came up to help me. I tell you that, and your response is, “Okay”? It’s not okay. The proper response is ‘I’m sorry, can I help you with something?'”

His reply? “Okay I’m here now, can I help you with something?”

“Yes,” I said, “you already did. I wasn’t sure if I should buy here or through Amazon. You helped me decide.”

My camera arrives from Amazon tomorrow.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.