Is Customer Service Dead?

Last weekend my laptop screen gave out.  I decided to check out a couple of retail stores to see what was on offer before making a decision on getting it repaired.

At the first store we went to the salesperson schmoozed over and proceeded to tell us the specs of the laptop we were currently looking at (which were also written on a card beside it). We moved on to the next one, and the salesperson followed, explaining the differences to the first one. We moved on, and the salesperson followed. At no time did the salesperson ask me any questions. He was trying to sell me something without knowing what I wanted, or why I wanted it. Sorry buddy, but that won’t work with me. I wrote down the prices and specs of the ones I was interested in and left.

We went to the next retail store. Same story. No questions about whether we wanted a dedicated graphics card for gaming, or whether the latest processing speed was important to us. Using the information near the laptops we figured this out ourselves. The prices here were however cheaper than the previous store.

The last store we visited, didn’t even bother to acknowledge us, so we left.

And this reinforces the point in my last post. Successful communication (and customer service) requires three things:

  • Ask – what my current situation is, and why I want to change it.
  • Listen – don’t try to sell me something I don’t want.
  • Respond – show me what you have that meets my needs.

Why would I go to the trouble to visit a retail store when I can get better service and information online? Is in-store customer service dead?


  1. Chirag says:

    I worked in Retail Sales ages ago. I always wondered how can i differentiate between people who are just “looking around” and the “genuine customers” who are actually interested in buying rather than just taking a detour into the shop. There are some obvious ones. But in general if retail sales assistants could answer that question somehow then you might have been able to get better service. But it shows the traditional marketing/sales method have not learnt anything from the new online marketing revolution where everything is expected to be free and that ofcourse includes great customer service!

    1. Sally says:

      I agree, Chirag. It is difficult for retail sales assistants to spot a genuine customer from a browser. If I had been asked “What was I looking for?” I think it may have gone a long way to solving my dilemma. It could have saved both mine and the assistant’s time, and got a sale as well!

  2. Steve Smith says:

    I totally agree with you. We have based our company around service and our systems are developed for customers rather then us and some forget that.

    Listen to what your customers want, not what you think they want

Comments are closed.