a normal Sri Lankan service experience (outside the hotel) – from the August Leisure Times
Today I went shopping for some Christmas Gadgets to recommend in the next Leisure Times, but before I get into that I would like to give a little constructive feedback to Sri Lankan customer service.
1. Stop staring at me
I walk into computing store at Majestic City, 2nd floor. Service is talking to someone so he ignores me. Good. I’m looking at stuff – shopping I think it’s called. He finishes his conversation, stands up and starts watching over my shoulder from 5 feet away. I move to another corner. Still staring. Ask a question. Still staring. The sense of being stared at is very strong and usually unpleasant. It gives me a very urgent fight-or-flight instinct, which in this context would be buy-or-leave. I leave.
These are some prices. They suck and the store sucks. 128 MB Flash Drive: 3,500 Rs. 30G MP3 Player: 35,000 Rs
2. Do not force the customer to leave the store
I’m peering in the window of a Cell Phone store on the 2nd floor and I see some interesting stuff. Unfortunately, when I walk in I can no longer see anything since the phones are facing out the window. This means that my requests for info about ‘that phone’ get met with a doubly blank stare – which I’ll refer to as blank-stare². I ask if they have the Nokia 7610, and surprisingly they do. The 7610 is cool cause it has a 1 Megapixel (not crappy) camera, and it’s fully integrated with the innovative Lifeblog software (which Service knew nothing about). However, it costs 55,000 Rs and looks like a brick..
To look at the phone I have to leave the store and look in the window. If there’s one basic rule to store design I would think it would be keep the customer in the store. I try hard to form a good sensory impression of the merchandise and go back in. Now Service is talking on the phone, to a friend sounds like. Whatev. I’ll wait a minute. Of course, there are no phones in the store so I’m kinda bored, but no, I’ll make the extra effort to stay in the store. Then another couple walks in and they’re waiting too. And the guy is talking. Waiting in a competive non-line gives me a very strong kill-or-leave instinct, so I leave.
3. If the customer is in the store, do not show him the catalog.
This was the only time I lost my temper. I see a small MP3 Player thru the window, and go inside to ask about it. I am of course met with blank-stare², but I work through it. This time it’s extra odd cause the guy reacts like I pulled the headphones out of his ear and asked about them. He gets all brusque and pulls out a catalog and points at a picture of the Sony Network Walkman, S70D, I think. The thing costs 37,000 Rs and I’m 5 feet away from it.
“Can I see it?” I ask.
“Can I look at the MP3 player?”
Points to catalog. “You see here.”
“Can. I. See. It”
“You buy it you see it.”
Here I’m faced with the instinct to spontaneously-combust-or-leave. I leave.
4. Do not display imaginary products
If you’re going to display items you don’t have why not display one of those TVs that turns into a mirror, or a fucking unicorn or something. I look in the window and I see that this store has the box for the Casio Exslim, which is a sexy little camera. I go in to ask about it and the guy says it’s not in stock. I explain that I’m researching an article for December gift ideas, and will they have it in stock by then. He says no. This store is displaying a product which is not in stock and never will be in stock. I can enter this parallel-universe-or-leave. I leave.
5. Go fuck yourself.
I think this is, perhaps, self-explanatory.
|Sony Z200 Phone||16,900||Abans|
|Sony DSC-U50 Camera||24,500||Majestic City|
|128 MB Kingston Flash Disk||2,500 Rs||Majestic City/PC Partner|
|Picoshot MP3 Player/Flash Disk||16,000||Majestic City/PC Partner|