It doesn’t happen very often. But I’m ticked off.
It was time for me to get a new laptop, and I’d been looking forward to it for awhile. It’s exciting, even though I wasn’t buying high end. I had $500 to spend, or maybe a bit more if I fell in love.
Right after the store opened on a Monday morning I trotted into a well recommended store. I’d studied their helpful website for a couple weeks, and done my other research. I was ready to shop, make a decision and get out the door. I figured I wasn’t going to spend a lot, but I wasn’t going to take much of anybody’s time, either. (Marketing if anything, teaches empathy for salespeople.)
My 30+ year career in advertising and marketing has revolved around luring people out of the house and into specific stores with messages of good values and experiences. Driving store traffic is difficult and expensive. Need we mention today’s economy? Didn’t think so.
So I was kind of thinking this store would be glad to see me and my humble $500. I was thinking that this might actually be, dare I say – fun! Not this time. The Sales Dude who approached me in the laptop corner clearly didn’t care. I wanted one of the laptops displayed, but it was out of stock. He wasn’t sure when or if it would be restocked. He informed me they didn’t have a laptop in the screen size I wanted in my budget, which was in conflict with the impression I had from the website. He oozed boredom while I wondered if he’d spent too much time watching Sunday football with his friends Captain Morgan and Jack.
I’m a hasty sort, and I wanted to get the buying ordeal over with. I agreed on a model with a smaller screen. Needing a mouse, I was pointed to that aisle. While looking at mice, I realized I didn’t want that laptop and I didn’t want to negotiate for anything with Sales Dude. I went to tell him, couldn’t find him and walked out.
It took less than fifteen minutes.
This isn’t a new story. But it reminds me how tough it is to get new customers and how easy it is to ruin the chance to build a relationship with one.
Fresh in my mind? I wanted this relationship to occur. I wanted to have fun at the store. I wanted the Sales Dude to help me feel good about my modest laptop. I wanted to start a relationship. I wanted to fall in love, so to speak.
But we broke up before we even got started. I wonder what that cost corporate? Today the consumer has a lot of choices and does her research before she comes in. You need to make sure your corporate story is the same at every customer touch point. A bad sales experience doesn’t just reflect poorly on that individual, it reflects poorly on you – and chances are, more than a few people are going to hear about it.
Personally, I can’t wait to tell my friends. And name names.Sandra Matthews, looking for love in all the wrong places - or at least one wrong place.