Sunday, January 4, 2009

Customer Disservice

I honestly don't know whether I have too high standards, or expectations, or it was the crowd, or just a bad bad day. How often though do you get served poop on a silver platter two times in a row?

Story is, my parents announced to me that they wanted to invest in a home theater (love their choice of words). The only condition is wireless, because we don't have/don't want a rug in our living room, and with wires running smack across the floor, either you die, or the console crashes. Or worse, the whole TV. I don't like the idea personally, I want to avoid wireless as much as possible, but it is a very valid concern, and it's just too bad that this very valid concern is mine.

So we decide to go to Vivo City to check it out, and with the others trailing behind me I make a beeline for Best Denki. When I first reach the home theatre section we were attended to quickly. But I honestly dunno what was up with the sales guy. He was so slow and blur I started wondering if he was mentally challenged. Almost every question was returned with a "Hah? Err..."

Part of me wanted to tell him to find someone more competent please because you're wasting our time, but I didn't. I really, really, knnbccb really am too patient and kind for my own mental health -_-"

After awhile, while we were testing some of our music, he just disappeared and we never saw him again. An older guy came along and apparently was in charge of the entire section, but after awhile when my father kept insisting that he turn up the bass, he said, "I go call my sound guy." This next guy appeared but he was supposed to be in charge of the Yamaha section. He was honestly the most helpful and knowledgeable guy but he had an area to stick to and other customers to attend to, so he left us to find for ourselves another salesman. I randomly walked to the shavers counter and told one younger salesman that I wish to be attended to by someone from the home theatre section. After physically searching for some guy in mind, and paging him over the store PA for 10min, we were still unattended to. Someone else came along, and was equally clueless about wireless home theater products. He however introduced us to some new information, that some wireless technologies use infrared, which requires direct line-of-sight, which I think is fuck-you stupid, but anyway. My parents said "never mind, we'll take our time and research. No rush." So I walk out dejectedly of Denki (yeah it's not best). True, there was no rush really, but I had asked my parents and aunt to detour to Vivo for a solid purpose, and utterly failed to meet it because of a whole fucking store's incompetencies. We'd all have been chilling at home an hour earlier if we didn't go to Vivo only to find out that Denki's customer service fell to a new low.

As we were walking, my dad was chattering away about how Samsung came out with this new phone that looks even better than the Omnia (turned out to be the Pixon he was talking about). And both of us realized at the same time that Samsung had home theater systems displayed there as well.

So excited again we went to the flagship store. And great, this guy at least knows his products. Even if he can't recite the power distribution in middle left right rear left rear right speakers backwards, at least he could tell you immediately which systems supported wireless rear speakers, which is all we needed, not a completely wireless system. We tested a frankly sexy system, the X715. After I was satisfied with the stereo playback, I asked for a DVD to hear the 5.1. "Don't have." What the fuck is the meaning of don't have? You sell 5.1 systems without media to show of 5.1 capabilities? After repeatedly asking, he went to dig up the Cars DVD, and again the system performed well. My parents were ready to pay up after he's answered their million questions. Then I enquired about my Xbox and how it would be wired up. And though not his fault, I was disappointed because it seemed that I cannot retain my high def video and have 5.1 at the same time. The last time I clearly remembered a salesman show me an amp module with HDMI in and out, for configurations such as these. My father made a comment about how this set didn't have as much connectivity as the other set we saw in Denki, and I shrugged because shucks USB input isn't important to me. As I was playing with the console later though, I switched through the modes and landed smack on USB mode.

And true enough to my deduction, our friend apparently missed out on the cosmetically concealed side flap containing a USB port, Aux in, and Headphones out.

Ticked me off a little, but again, these aren't the most important features to me, so I told my parents "Go ahead and get it if you want. I'll solve my own problems after." After which I spied the Guitar Hero station empty and went to play. I haven't even gotten through half the song when my dad called to me.

"The guy says there's no stock at the moment, so you give him your number and he'll call you when he's checked."

We motherfucking stand there, excited for half an hour, and at the bloody END of it all you tell me there's no stock? NO STOCK??

I hide my anger and give him my particulars, and we go home, me still in a bad mood. I'd asked for a brochure for the system, and got more like a catalogue instead, but no matter. I get back home and my dad says "Hey look, this one does wireless too."

Following instructions I went to dig up their number from Vivo's website and the guy who answers says that the model is not on display in the store. Great, then? Don't need to know ah? Don't see don't know, is that the new policy now?

"Right well, then what's the price?"
"Ahhh that one we don't have it in store sir, so we dunno the price. You can check with Best Denki or Challenger for the price. I think Best would be a better place to check."
" ... Do they even have it?"
"Uh this oneeee.... You have to check with them, sir."

There. Picture-perfect don't-see-don't-know.

Is that it? Is that the state of electronics sale in Singapore? Try smoke your way through uninformed customers? Say you find someone else to assist us and disappear in the smoke? Not know BASIC features of a product and say it's not there? Know that products exist but have no information about them because they aren't in your showroom?

Utterly disappointing. Denki's bad enough, but this is Samsung's FLAGSHIP store we're talking about you know! Flagship store where Tech65 recorded. Where SMB5 was held. Whose space will be offered to many more events yet. Is this the sort of sparkling image you want to give customers? Worse, to bloggers who'd have no qualms about tearing your brand name apart letter by letter?

Something had better be done by management level island-wide. STARTING WITH THESE TWO STORES.


Jieq said...

It is not about your standards y'know. Afterall no one has a stock list tattooed on their forearm. I am curious as to their lack of knowledge but am not very sympathetic to ALL your points. Salespeople aren't perfect but you're definitely right about them trying harder. If a customer is seen to be trying so hard to purchase your product at least reciprocate. I mean its not like you are unwilling to part with your cash in the first place... Silly. Ultimately, classic apathy. Nothing to be done and nothing will be done.

French Blast said...

Sometimes I don't understand how salesperson do not know theirs products...

Aka Pamela S. said...

Hi! From a Fellow Calendar Blogger *July* to Another! Saying Hi and just popping by to visit your blog! So, till we meet for the 2010 Calendar... Have a great year ahead! :)

Claudio said...

Hi there,
I just stumbled on your blog and was smiling reading your story on trying to purchase a wireless system. If you dont mind, I'd like to make a couple of suggestions. Apart from a couple of proprietary (and obviously expensive) systems by high-end manufacturers, wireless home theaters still need another year to really improve on the technology. There are still some issues to be fixed.... (From a snooty hi-fi who would never be caught dead asking these questions in places like BestDenki or Harvey Norman), try paying a visit to the shops at the Adelphi mall, I am sure there are some options worth checking out. Good luck.

Farinelli said...

Claudio, thank you so much for your suggestions. My mother forgot me mentioning that Aldephi is an expensive place, so when she asked if we were going there to search I nearly choked on my food. But I think I'll have to go back there soon to get new earphones so I will take up your suggestion. Cheers! :)