Word of Mouth and Buying Local
What is missing from the shopping experience today, February 8, 2012? Generally speaking, and I speak for a bald, mature (some might take issue with the mature thing), sometimes grumpy, 5 mile per day runner, experienced marketer, and most importantly, lifelong consumer and purchaser of the following: cars, clothing, jewelry, electronics, food, coffee, vacations, toys, flowers, investment vehicles, homes, hair care products (for loved ones); I could continue, but will end with VERIZON PRODUCTS!
What’s missing in far too many purchasing experiences is the positively wonderful experience delivered by “companies” that sincerely care about the customer. Yes, I said companies because the customer experience delivery is in large part a result of the corporate culture that, in this case, allows the customer – me, to be treated like the young steer in the team roping finals during the PRCA in San Angelo, Texas…over and done in 3.5 seconds, next! Corporations today seem to think they, from their corporate board room chambers, have such an unlimited supply of consumers that they can treat us like that aforementioned steer, quickly tied and on to the next.
Details: six months back I purchased a Samsung Droid, upon recommendation, from our local Verizon store. My family has been a Verizon customer since they took over what it used to be and a customer before what it used to be took over the previous what it used to be. We have been “good – really good” customers. For the most part every interaction has been very nice and we know some of the staff well and like them. Incidentally, I have purchased communication products from other companies as well but this rant is about Verizon corporate.
Some 60 days ago Samsung sent out an update that prevented my cell calendar and contacts to continue syncing with our company’s exchange. This was a disaster in the making (technology – I miss my Rolodex and Day-Timer.) I went to the local Verizon store to seek relief only to find their hands were tied and I was “forced” to deal with the dreaded 800 number, complete with the way too long animated voice-delivered list of options, the agonizing decision of which option was appropriate, eventually reaching a person that could only put me on hold, followed by another transfer to another person that insisted asking me technical questions beyond my level of knowledge (Geek Squad at Mach 10). I eventually decided to make a hopefully more productive call the next day with one of our IT Tech support folks on the call with me. We make the call, Verizon eventually agrees to make a product switch (will not allow me to up grade via cash to an IPhone) and they send me a replacement phone. The call concludes with the instructions that I must return my now worthless Samsung within 5 days – no ‘sorry for the challenges you have experienced’, ‘thank you for your LOYALTY to our company’, no nothing but 3.5 second wrap up and next.
I’ll stop now.
If Verizon had half as many brains as they think they have, they would allow the local team members to fix problems instead of just selling crap. When you get to fix problems you have real engagement with customers and build strong relationships that allow customers to, with word of mouth, recommend to others that buying local from great people was a worthwhile effort. (Here, take so and so’s business card).
Best Buy has great Geeks – so I’m told…