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There is something thrilling about being in the presence of someone who is brilliant at what they do. In my role as Associate Editor of betterRetailing.com, I have the privilege meeting many fantastic independent retailers. It is, however, much rarer to meet people who work of the high street multiples with the same qualities.
I know they exist though because my wife and I met one in the Currys/PC World store in the centre of Bath (not to be confused with the Currys in Slough where I did not have an ideal sales experience). My wife has been on the hunt for a new laptop for more than six months. Our first attempt just after Christmas proved to be well below par – it refused to connect with our Wi-Fi so it ended up back at the store.
Since then, my wife has tried out our daughter’s Apple MacBook Pro. The laptop is much more powerful than what she actually needs, but it suits her most important priority: it’s very light weight. We travelled to Bath with an expectation of buying a laptop from the Apple Store in the city. On the way through the shopping centre, we spotted the Currys/PC World store and decided to pop-in. That’s when we met Jason.
Jason is the store’s general manager who has worked in the retail electronics business for many years, including a spell with Apple. While my wife was checking that she was comfortable with the MacBook Pro, Jason came and stood beside her. His conversation can be broken down in to five parts:
I assume that Jason knows his customers by age, gender etc. and how they are likely to use their computer equipment. I got the feeling that my wife did not fit his expectation of a high-end MacBook purchaser. He first focused on the high price of the laptop and then moved on to the fundamentals of why she was looking for a new computer. My wife has arthritis in her hands and problems with her back which is why she was looking for an ultra-light laptop. He then inquired about how she uses her current computer: mostly for visiting websites, family history, emails and photographs. This brought the initial discovery phase to a conclusion.
He next asked about my wife’s vision and wanted to know how good it was. He set up a MacBook Air with the same photo as the Pro for a screen comparison. The Air has a lower definition to the Pro and Jason asked my wife which one she was more comfortable with.
Having broadened the potential choice to two laptops, Jason next challenged my wife by suggesting a desktop with the bigger screen and a smaller laptop. Both ends of the scale were rejected, but not before he had asked why they didn’t fit with my wife’s requirements.
After talking for around 20 minutes, we said that we needed to find some lunch and have some time to think about the purchase. Jason had done his job and although we had not bought anything on that visit, it was clear that my wife was now ready to decide. We did visit the Apple Store on our way back through the shopping centre, but with young children in there using it as a playground, we didn’t stay long.
We returned to the Currys/PC World store and this time we were greeted by Joe, a recently employed sales assistant. We told him that we had a conversation with Jason earlier and my wife had decided to purchase the MacBook Air. Unfortunately, the version she wanted to buy was out of stock. At this point Jason joined the conversation and suggest that they could order one in for delivery to the store the following week. When we told him where we live he offered to deliver it to our home.
As an observer of retail, this was a totally unexpected and amazing experience. What do you do to give your customers a brilliant shopping experience in your store?
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