Saturday, May 14, 2011

Salesman tries the cram down and loses any chance

Acute back pain that becomes chronic has to be among the worst things in life. It affects everything. You can't sit. You can't sleep. You can't do much of anything. Trust me, Pam's had this now for 6 weeks. It's not pretty.

Since her life involves sitting in her chair at work for 11-12 hours at a time, last week we decided to explore the idea of a special supportive office chair at Relax the Back in Encinitas. Sunday morning, two sales guys are on - one sitting in a massaging chair and the other greeted us, reeking of stale smoke and seeming a little pissed he had to be there.

Here's an account of customer service that I thought
I'd never have to suffer through again, with all the focus on the customer, and the importance of any customer and any sale during this economic hazing. He went from standoff-ish and impatient to trying to help. Showed Pam many chair options from $600 to more than $1,200. All the while, we discussed the fact she'd need to get our employer's approval to bring a new chair to work, for WCB reasons. HINT: not likely to walk out of the store with one today, but could be a returning customer.

One was too short in the seat. One had a back support that worked, but an angle that didn't. And so on. There was no one else in the store. Still, we were aware of the fact the sales guy was hot on a sale and we weren't going to deliver, so didn't want to waste his time. About 8 minutes in, Pam spotted an ergonomic seat cushion on the wall. Price? $60. We discussed buying it, since she'd need chair approval anyway, maybe this was an interim option.

Sales guy, after doing nothing to offer her the chance to try it, and doing all he could to not tell us the price says, "It might work, but if you ask me, really you should invest in a good chair for the long term." No kidding. He's paid to sell. What he forgot in that critical moment was that includes the $60 seat cushion. And it includes listening to and understanding your customer's constraints so you can be there "for the long term".

We walked out of the store, and Pam said, "I think that cushion might have helped, but there's no way I am buying it from that guy." Wow. He lost the sale. And that store forever lost two customers in a textbook example of not listening to your customer.

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