Lee's 'Better Communication Results' blog

A blog to help YOU communicate better for better business results!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

How to lose business

I had to pay my 6 month-old notebook's vendor a third visit recently.

The first visit was because of the motherboard frying; the second because the internal battery was stuffed.

The third was because the power block gave up life just when I really needed it. Argh!

Whilst waiting in the shop for one of the staff to see if they had a spare 'out the back' I listened in to the shop manager attempting to explain to a customer why he didn't copy over some programs from an old hard drive to a new drive she had purchased.

The customer's 'passion' levels were rapidly rising, her 'frustration meter' going off the scale. No matter how he attempted to explain his position, she was getting more and more aggravated.

In the end she stormed out, yelling that she was never coming back again, and to be honest, with the way she was handled, I don't blame her.

The manager spent all his time defending his position, talking at her rather than with her. Obviously not a devotee of Covey, he failed to 'seek first to understand, then to be understood'. Instead he just launched into a vigorous and patronising defence on why he didn't/couldn't do it.

The staff at the shop, I have noticed, are very good at selling you stuff, but not so good at helping you solve a problem when there's no direct financial incentive for them to do so. At least the chap who was helping me had helped me out in the past and was friendly and helpful to the limits he was allowed to be.

Additionally, they are no doubt very competent technologists, but their people skills are lacking.

The assistant handling my case came back shortly after the female customer had stormed out and let me know that my power block would have to be sent to Sydney to be serviced. I had to ask if they had any spares, but there weren't any.

Reluctantly, it seemed, the manager lent me a universal power adapter, but with very strict instructions to take care of it and not scratch it (no doubt he wanted to sell it as new). He then launched into a thinly-veiled and patronising series of questions to see if I had 'destroyed' mine by negligantly connecting it to the power without a surge protector. I almost got to the point of asking him if he was accusing me of lying when I said I did have a surge protector...

With my notebook suffering repeated failures, I am very much in the mood of the female customer. Next time I think I will take my business elsewhere.