In a post a couple of weeks ago on his blog, my friend and colleague Andy Hollyhead wrote about PC World Sutton Coldfield and the quality of service along with the attention that he was given by the staff.
Yesterday I wanted another external disk drive and surfed round to find that the one (I wanted Maxtor 1TB) was out of stock on Tesco Direct but in stock for the same price at PC World, when I could get to collect in-store. Normally I’d hesitate, but I need the drive to back up my increasingly large range of machines so that I can upgrade to XP-SP3. Most people are content with a single PC, and maybe a laptop. I’m having to run various configurations and purposes, so different machines for different tasks is the norm in my office. Anyway, back to the story.
In the afternoon I’d reserved the drive, obtained the email receipt with confirmation number, printed it and called on on my way home. The store lighting is blue. Maybe they think it looks hi-tech but to me it just looks blue. I couldn’t woirk in that environment. It’s not pleasant at all. Having located the correct area I was accosted by a young man in a PC World shirt who took my email printout without many words and started looking for the disk on the shelves behind him. A colleague of his, a young lady (although I use this term advisedly) then managed to persuade herself to wander back, almost snatched the printout with the number and wandered (not walked) across the store to fetch my reserved item from the retail shelf. So much for the reservation system.
During the remainder of the transaction the staff kept up banter, if that it the correct term, between themselves. One phrase that I remember was that the young lady (remember my use of the word, advisedly) offered to “punch the face in” of her colleague. I, as the mere customer, felt like I was interrupting their ongoing conversation by daring to want to actually buy something from the store. Looking round I didn’t see many other customers, the only person not in PC world garb was a rather bored looking security guard on a pedestal beside the door.
When I was eventually deigned to be spoken to a rather strange sound emanated from between the lips of the young lady. I had to ask for a repeat, and failing to understand that then had to stress that I found it impossible to understand what had been said. Shifting the gum to the other side of her mouth I eventually ascertained that she was telling me the price – no preamble, just the price. I paid and left.
DSG, owners of PC World, are finding that profits aren’t what they used to be. The Guardian on June 26th reported that “DSG made a loss of £193m – compared with a profit of £114m last year and more than £300m a year earlier”.
Judging by this performance is it any wonder things are going the way they are? It was just as well that I wasn’t offered extended warranty, the Techguys services for transferring data or anything else I can do better myself because if I had I would have refused and given my reasons which would have been connected with their level of customer service – I just wanted to get out.
Maybe it’s the light that’s attracting them.