Posted by: peterhact | July 2, 2012

Bailing out Business

Bail us out, the companies seem to cry to the Government. There seems to be a large amount of demanding the Government fix everything that goes wrong these days, from businesses in trouble, internet business that skirts the GST laws successfully and the belief that it is the Government’s job to keep australians safe. Safe from whom?

Why are the major retailers suffering? well, as I have pointed out previously, There seems to be a distinct lack of customer service. If you don’t provide it, then people won’t come to you when they want to purchase something. Myer, David Jones, Big W, Harvey Norman all seem to be going backwards in customer service. I don’t always wear a suit when shopping, so why discount my appearance as that of a person with no money? Sometimes, people in suits have less money than those in torn jeans and a t-shirt. It is the old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover”.

One of the things I have learned from retail is that the customer is often pressed for time. If they have to stand around, waiting to be served for up to 15 minutes, it may be that the 15 minutes lost is a part of their 1 hour lunch break. This is not an acceptable use of their time, nor should it be. If it is on a weekend, chances are that they didn’t think they would be spending most of their morning or afternoon in a shop, waiting for a sales assistant to get off the personal call that they were on when the customer came in. Mobile phones are fantastic for communication with friends and family. They have this little feature called VoiceMail. It is designed for calls that you can’t take, like when I am talking to you about a very large and expensive purchase. I don’t want you to answer your phone. I really don’t care who it is that is calling you, I am here with money to spend. Answer the phone at your peril, phone calls don’t give you commission, and ultimately, a sales person who spends more time on the phone and less with me or my fellow customers in a retail setting doesn’t make as many sales.

So the businesses of Australia are struggling. They are adopting Online presences, they are hoping this will buck the trend. If I buy something online, decide to nominate a store to pick it up from, come in and find that it isn’t ready, someone bought it off the floor, or you can’t find it, why did I waste my time to come in? I could have had it delivered from the head office, you would have missed an add on sale, but I would be happy, nevertheless.

I know that retail is changing. I know that it is getting harder to compete against online companies. So why is it that companies like Dell and Apple are bringing their products to the market in two pronged attacks? one via the internet, one via resellers or a branded store?

What do they get that the traditional retailers don’t seem to get?

Bailing out business. You can bail out a business, you can buy from their shopfront. Why would you if the service a person to person exchange fosters isn’t there? What the retailers need to realise is that in order to bail out a business that is suffering, we need a really good reason to come into the store. If the store has no customer service, is impersonal and sterile, well, we are actually on the internet without realising.

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