I’m there for the service
This may sound funny coming from me, a tech geek that suffers from serious ringxiety and is connected to the Internet 24×7, but I like physical stores better than I like virtual ones. Of course, I’m not talking about convenience. Or price. Buying stuff in my pajamas during a snow day for a few bucks less than I would pay around town is always great. Obviously.
Savings aside, something gets lost in that transaction. It is the difference between shopping and purchasing. I still have an affinity to be treated as a person and not account #189320. When I visit a store, or a restaurant or a veterinarian (ok, not me, my dog) I am actually looking for something beyond the goods or services that I’ve decided to purchase. I want the service. As in… from a human being; a living, breathing, real, live human being. Who wants me to be satisfied.
Now competing with online shopping, it shocks me that some retail companies still don’t get that. How they can’t recognize that I can make my purchase online but that I have decided instead travel to and visit a real place with real human beings in order to receive “service” is baffling. I recently had a couple of experiences that caught my attention.
One was at a restaurant where I was utterly ignored by the servers. My presence was not acknowledged for almost 20 minutes until someone finally asked if I was ordering from the menu or going for the buffet. In their defense, I’ve not had much luck finding online buffets. But I’m sure they’re coming.
Not too long after, I went to a huge book store where the salespeople just didn’t care about the people coming and going. In and out. In and out. In and out. Not so much as a simple “Can I help you”?
It shouldn’t get to a point, I don’t believe, where the “in-person” retail experience feels like you’re asking for a favour instead of paying for a service. It was shocking. How do those people stay in business? I, for one, will never go back to those places.
We can now buy pretty much everything over the Internet. From groceries to ATV’s to cell phones. Restaurants are everywhere and “food” is not what I’m looking for when I go to one of them.
When I go anywhere I’m there for the service. If I go to a book store or to a restaurant it’s not because I can’t buy online or can’t cook my own food. It’s because I want to enjoy some good service provided by knowledgeable and friendly people. I want to feel special.
It was Dale Carnegie who said: “Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.” and boy, the world was not that competitive during his time.
What do you think about internet vs in-store shopping? How do you entice customers to come to your store?
Posted on November 24, 2011, in 'We Get Retail' Business Tips and tagged business, consumer, customer service, internet, marketing, online, retail, service, shopping, VIP. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.