Cutting back on pointless in-store interactions

18Jan12

The battery in one of my electronic devices started acting weird recently, so I looked up the problem online. As I quickly learned, a lot of other people were experiencing the same issue. The general recommendation was to bring the battery into the brand’s local store and ask for a free replacement, since the issue reportedly arises from a defective battery design.

I proceeded to call my local store to explain the issue. They wanted me to come in and show it to a technician. I asked very specifically if the store offers free replacements for this type of battery problem, and they said it was decided on a case by case basis. So I made an appointment and brought it in.

When I got to the store, I received a very different story. No fewer than three employees told me that the store policy is never to replace this type of battery for free. They insisted that there are no exceptions, since it’s the “official policy”. That’s all fine and good, but why couldn’t they just tell me that over the phone?

Clearly, this was a pointless in-store interaction that wasted my time and theirs. The takeaway here is obvious: don’t make customers come into the store to ask a question that you already know the answer to. Instead, focus on conveying that information in the quickest way possible, such as on the phone or through your website. By doing so, you’ll avoid wasting everyone’s time, while freeing up store personnel to help answer those questions that truly can’t be addressed through other channels.



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