Now that the format of these posts is familiar, dear reader, do allow us to cut to the chase :
Impressive : Bose
The sales assistants at the Bose store are good. They are polite, know the products and their features, and encourage you to take a look at the products. Even if you tell them that you are definitely not buying, they are enthusiastic about demonstrating the superior quality of the product through a demo (vital to convincing customers in the audio equipment category). You select a song from their list, they tune the system for maximum sound quality, let you hear the entire song and ensure that you walk away impressed with the equipment and their behaviour.
Satisfactory : Sony
We’ve also noticed that the staff at the Sony showrooms tends to be helpful. They patiently took us through all the features of a few laptop models, and simplified details when one of us asked a few doubts in a very confused tone. Point in their favour – they never smirked, even when asked to repeat simple details multiple times, or to simplify them further.
While I wouldn’t say that salespeople at all Croma stores are as good, one gentleman at the Kandivili (Mumbai) outlet did impress me. He was especially polite and reassuring to an elderly man nervously buying a laptop, explained all the details to him, helped him fill out the form for a data card and install it, and then gave the old man his personal cell-phone number to call in case there was any further help needed.
Not-so-good, a few examples of what we didn’t like:
- Salespeople at some branded outlets seemed uninterested in actually speaking to consumers. In one outlet that we visited, one person was busy at the cash counter, two were chatting to each other and a fourth was standing outside the shop and speaking to someone on his cell-phone. ‘Sales assistance and us! Naah, we’re mannequins, part of the decor.’
- Others had limited product knowledge, and did not show any enthusiasm to even try and find out the answer to a question, seemed a bit sulky too; maybe they felt the brand was a powerful enough draw on its own.
- After-sales service seems to be one key feature that needs improvement. An anecdote from Nafisa below :
We wanted a certain not-in stock part and thought the salesman promised to call when it arrived and took down our contact details, we never heard from them again.
When the unit needed servicing and I dropped it off at the service centre, no one said a word to me – I mean not a word, I had to ask multiple questions to figure out what was happening and what to do, when they would let me know, etc. They only promised to call when the unit was repaired so I could pick it up. Of course, they didn’t, I finally had to complain at the customer toll free number and even then they didn’t call up. I had to make multiple calls over 2-3 days after the due date, to the service centre before they told me it was ready.
(S, you will recognise the similarity between the episode below and the one with your bag that you mentioned as a comment after our apparels and accessories post)
Grade given by the Escape Velocity team: A few exceptions that surpassed expectations; overall, a B.
Next Stop: To wrap up this series on shopping experience for premium branded goods in India, we’ll discuss some reasons for why the sales (and after-sales) service is in the state that it is in.
Escape Velocity Team
[Disclaimer : This post deals mainly with one aspect of the shopping experience – interactions with the staff. Also, the list of outlets visited for the purpose of observation is not exhaustive.
Outlets mentioned in these posts will differ widely in terms of pricing, degree of premiumness and image; for the purposes of these blog-posts, we are still tackling all these outlets together.]