If you want customers to buy don’t call them names. Now for most of us this sounds like sound advice none of us in any walk of life-like to be called names it’s not nice and doesn’t make us feel good. But when we are buying something we certainly don’t want to be called names. And I bet you wonder why I am stating the obvious.
Well I was called names yesterday when I went into the Co – Op NGT in Selkirk. Our washing machine has finally died on us. My husband unlike me is a researcher when it comes to buying so I always leave him to buy the more expensive purchases as I know that he will make sure he has thoroughly researched the product for value but also for customer reviews. This was no exception and after a visit to Comet and Currys in Galashiels and then a search on the internet he had come across a machine at the right price with the quality that we wanted on the Co-Op website. Now if it had been down to me I would have just bought it there and then. But my husband is a far more patient person and he wanted to give the business locally if we could.
So Sunday afternoon on our way home from a family event in Glasgow we stopped off at the Co-Op NGT in Selkirk. They did not have the model displayed in store so the sales assistant said he would look it up on the internet.
Well I don’t know if broadband is particularly slow in Selkirk on a Sunday but it took him forever to get the internet running. And as I have the patience of a newt I got bored and went off to look at other items in the shop. (Coffee machines ones that make Lattes hoping someone might take the hint for a future present). Anyway I was absorbed in this when across the shop I heard this shout.
“Hay Window Twankee over here.” I turned around. Well you would it’s not a cry you hear too often. And to my shock saw the sales assistant pointing at me. Then he shouts “Over here Widow Twankee it will be you using the machine.”
Well in reality he is right not about Widow Twankee but I do indeed do the washing in the house. But you can’t just assume this. I am obsessed with the washing and even when my husband has asked to help he has been told no. But you can’t take that to be the case. Many couples share the washing or indeed it might be the regime of the other partner. So in a few minutes he had called me a derogatory name and quite frankly been the biggest male chauvinist pig I have met in a long time. Did I want to buy from him? No I did not. Was I in shock yes I was.
More was to come from my sales assistant of the year. The co-op NGT could get the machine but it would be £65 more expensive, they can’t fit it and they wouldn’t take away the old one. So you get called names, made to feel inferior as a female and it will cost you far more as well. So why should you shop there? Why indeed.
This got me thinking why the shop exists as if it isn’t offering any added value why don’t the co-op close it and you can just shop on the internet? As to me they are offering no reason to shop there.
And before you tell me it safeguards local jobs. I know this that is why we went there in the first place. That is why I shop locally as much as possible and as far as possible in non big name shops. I work for retail clients and know fully the impact that internet shopping has on them. But you know if all shopping experiences were like that the internet would take over as number one for shopping. As quite frankly it offers value for money, you don’t have to travel and you get it delivered to your house. These are some of the main reasons I do shop on-line .
So yes I do buy on-line but I also shop locally. And why do I do that? Well to make sure we continue to have great shops in the Scottish Borders. But it’s more than that I like shopping locally as the shops concerned give me back something for doing so. The main thing is the friendly service and the quality of the goods. However it’s also more than that.
To take three examples of shops I am loyal to. Firstly Mainstreet Trading the bookshop in St Boswells. I love books and have done since a young child. Before Mainstreet opened up did I buy lots of books? Yes and where did I buy them? At Amazon. Do I still buy with Amazon? Yes but far less than I did and if you looked at my book buying habits the majority of the money is spent at Mainstreet. Now why is this? Amazon yes is cheaper. Well it’s because they have transformed my reading. They stock books I wouldn’t necessarily come across on Amazon . They hold a monthly book club which I love and again challenges my reading and they hold regular author events. Plus they take the time to listen to what you want. So when my son and I were having difficulties getting books we both liked for bedtime reading we got great advice from Ros at Mainstreet. Mainstreet create a challenging reading experience for me and that is why I shop there.
Cobblers of Melrose. Shoe shop with outlets in Melrose, Kelso and Haddington. Again if you want cheap shoes it’s not the shop for you. But that is not why I shop there. Initially I loved the shop as they stocked a Menorcan shoe designer whose factory I have been to and it brought back memories of Menorca. But now I like shopping there as I love the variety of shoes and boots they have. I love shoes Imelda Marcos the second I confess I am. However I like shoes that are that wee bit different and Cobblers provides that. It gives me my European shoe shopping experience without the travel.
Finally I love shopping in the fruit and veg shop in Melrose which is called Williamsons. Why? Well the produce is really good and the quality is far superior to supermarkets. But a huge factor is my kids. My kids are the centre of my world. If you are interested in them then I am interested in you. The staff at Williamson have known my kids since they were toddlers and whither I am with them or on my own they always ask me how they are and that makes me feel special.
So Mainstreet creates an experience, Cobblers makes me feel that I stand out from the crowd and Williamsons makes me feel special. That is why I shop in them and that is why I am a loyal customer.
And how did the sales assistant in the Co-OP make me feel? Angry, frusrated and that my time had been wasted. And inferior to be honest.
So it may be common sense but I say it again. If you want customers don’t call them names. You won’t get any business from them and like me they will let lots of people know about it.
However to end on a positive note a huge thanks to the many retailers out there who do offer friendly service and give us all our own reasons for supporting local businesses. Shop local is my mantra but only if I’m not called names.