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Bad retail customer service

By roshen - 29 January 2011 36

I’ve been a long time reader but had to create an account to rant about bad customer service.

Firstly I was at Hardly Normal Woden today to take advantage of their 9c photos and I was going to print about 1,000 photos and had the photos in my usb hard drive.  After it loaded I selected the photos and it went to a processing screen.  About 15 mins passed so I went and asked the girl at the counter to see if there would be anything wrong (like a timeout).  The conversation went like this:

Me: Hi, the computer seems to be taking quite a while, do you know how long it usually takes?

Girl: What did you use to transfer the photos?

Me: A usb hard drive

Girl: well that explains it, and you’re also not allowed to use a usb hard drive because it can transfer viruses to our computers and could kill the $500,000 photo printer.  You will need to put the photos onto a thumb drive or cd.

Me: but isn’t a thumb drive going to have the same issues?

Girl: no they’re not (getting agitated now)

Me: but I’m sure they’re the same thing and I actually work with IT systems so I’m sure viruses can be transferred from any storage device.

Girl: so you’re smarter than me? (very agitated now).

Me: okay that’s not the point but even if there was a virus it’s not the issue anymore because I’ve already plugged it in and the photos are already transferred.

Girl: (took a look at the screen) it’s going to take ages to load (and walked off).

Seriously, viruses can only be transferred from a hard drive and no where else?  If they were so concerned they should only be accepting uploads from the net cos any storage card, thumb drive or even cds could be used to transfer viruses.  I ended up asking them to reboot the computer because I needed to go.

And it’s not so much that I was annoyed by her stupidity, but more that she has that kind of attitude towards customers and still be employed in retail.  Mind you, I use to work in retail myself so I’m always polite to shop assistants (even throughout this conversation) but it seems the level of service has gone downhill from my days.

Apart from this incident I’ve been having a string of other bad experiences recently.  But I was thinking, how could there still be bad customer service when retail sales aren’t doing that well?  Or could it be that Canberra’s retail is booming?

What’s Your opinion?


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36 Responses to
Bad retail customer service
JustThinking 4:18 pm 02 Feb 11

If I were you I’d be emailing a complaint..Making a complaint face-to-face or by phone is useless as they can ignore it and pretend they never heard from you..Emailing the head people always gets some action..

Also I prefer Dick Smith…I always hit them up for a discount and they always give me the full-extra warranty free of charge. (usually around $60 to $110 depending on the item purchased)

freakwent 3:48 pm 02 Feb 11

My wife was at HN fyshwick, she asked for a better price on a telly. The guy asked how she was paying, and she replied that it was on the interest free promotion.

The guy laughed in her face and said “Oh no, we never do discounts on that.” She said well in that case I’ll just go elsewhere. He said “Fine, suit yourself”.

She negotiated $990 for a Telly with a $1600 sticker price elsewhere — and they threw in a beat little hisense telly to boot. All on the never never after all.

I hate HN.

cocopops 11:30 pm 31 Jan 11

farnarkler said :

Buy a photo printer from an overseas online shop, then write to Gerry Harvey explaining why he won’t be getting any of your money.

+1, maybe that will keep him off our TVs for a litttle while!

toriness 7:56 am 31 Jan 11

farnarkler said :

Buy a photo printer from an overseas online shop, then write to Gerry Harvey explaining why he won’t be getting any of your money.

+1

gospeedygo 8:33 pm 30 Jan 11

trevar said :

If someone has good people skills and is motivated to do a good job, they’re more likely to go and get a good job instead of working in a shop. If they’re willing to work in a shop, chances are they’re either not very bright, not very motivated, or not very polite.

I’m none of the 3 and can’t get any job. Generalisations, generalisations everywhere.

roshen 7:16 pm 30 Jan 11

trevar said :

You’re quite right, that’s extremely poor service, but there’s not much that can be done about it because the issue of bad customer service has more to do with the labour market than anything else. If someone has good people skills and is motivated to do a good job, they’re more likely to go and get a good job instead of working in a shop. If they’re willing to work in a shop, chances are they’re either not very bright, not very motivated, or not very polite. You drew the short straw and found someone who probably has all three of those characteristics.

That’s the thing, I didn’t know our economy was actually doing that well. It would make sense if businesses were booming, unemployment was dropping and businesses were finding it hard to employ good people. But during my shopping in the last few months I just didn’t get that feeling so I would’ve expected that retail staff would be trying very hard to hold on to their jobs.

Generally when I get poor service like this I would make a complaint to the management. But with HN I’ve found that the overall customer service levels are pretty low so I didn’t think to waste my time.

farnarkler 3:05 pm 30 Jan 11

Buy a photo printer from an overseas online shop, then write to Gerry Harvey explaining why he won’t be getting any of your money.

trevar 1:31 pm 30 Jan 11

You’re quite right, that’s extremely poor service, but there’s not much that can be done about it because the issue of bad customer service has more to do with the labour market than anything else. If someone has good people skills and is motivated to do a good job, they’re more likely to go and get a good job instead of working in a shop. If they’re willing to work in a shop, chances are they’re either not very bright, not very motivated, or not very polite. You drew the short straw and found someone who probably has all three of those characteristics.

Given the shortage of skilled workers in this town, I’m surprised that customer service overall is as good as it is! I’d love to hear some ideas about how that can be dealt with. So far, the best advice anyone’s given me is use the smallest specialty shops you can find, because that’s where you’re most likely to be served by the owner; but the grumpy old woman who runs the Australia Post outlet in Erindale makes me doubt the validity of that theory too!

screaming banshee 12:38 pm 30 Jan 11

Just for sport, go to the laptops section and tell them you’d like to buy a laptop with a serial port.

Its not a question of whether they will know what models are still available with a serial port, but more of whether they will actually know what a serial port is.

peterh 10:45 am 30 Jan 11

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

uhg. typical of canberra. people seem to put up with the bad service here rather than letting them know you are going elsewhere. if everyone did this, things would improve.

you think? sales people who treat you badly will never learn until they don’t have a job. Then it is too late. They probably blame you and similar clients for the reason why they were sacked.

I have mates who are experienced at HN Woden – computer section, but they seem to have had their hours cut shorter – young people cost less?

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 7:12 am 30 Jan 11

uhg. typical of canberra. people seem to put up with the bad service here rather than letting them know you are going elsewhere. if everyone did this, things would improve.

peterh 2:09 am 30 Jan 11

back in the early days of Harvey Norman, when I worked there, an assistant like this wouldn’t have been around for too long.

I was looking for a wireless access point to allow me to plug in a printer to my wifi network on thursday. I went to woden HN, spent a long time looking at the range of wireless devices and waiting patiently for a sales assistant to come and help me. No Joy.

I approached a young lady – probably the same one you had a run in with, who told me that if my printer doesn’t have wireless, the best option would be to buy another printer. It is far cheaper (she said), than buying a wireless device to plug into the printer, and would take less time in the long run to get it to work, considering that wifi is very technical and probably too hard to set up easily.

I have been in the ICT industry now for 18+ years, can remember when wifi first came onto the canberra market, and know how to setup a gateway, router and AP.

I voted with my feet, down to dick smith, where at least they treated me as having some shred of knowledge in technology.

martoanu 10:59 pm 29 Jan 11

Vote with your feet (as always). Dick Smith downstairs has a much better service, they actually calibrate their printer unlike Harvey and BigW in Woden. I routinely get 8×12’s printed for business purposes – the resolution and colour matching is far superior and the stock is better. Right row I think they are doing 10 cent 6×4 prints as well.

They have the same problem as Harvey though in that photos take ages to load on the system, I think the kiosks are very old and aren’t running at USB 2.0, so if you have high resolution photos (or 1000 like you) then it will take a while.

Oh, and the Fujifilm unit they use does not cost anything like $500k, I believe they operate on contract whereby the unit cost is offset by the printing you do, bit like a mobile contract on steroids. To break even they would need to print 5 million 6x4s, even before you take into account labour, consumables, power and harvey’s enormous rent overheads…

M0les 10:27 pm 29 Jan 11

Wow, that’s just… wow.

#1 Attitude:
Basically I think she just wanted you to go away and stop nagging her about a loss-leader that you were going to ruin her afternoon with.

Surely there’s some online alternative that’s cheaper – not like there’s much else HN do that isn’t cheaper/better online.

#2 Virus:
No, it makes no difference what physical medium presents itself as a USB mass-storage device. I could give you a piece of paper with a virus printed on it. Bytes are bytes.

I thought about putting some kind of crib-sheet in here about what virus risks there are, but it’d be too wordy and still too short.

The real issue is Harvey Norman should not have a publicly accessible system that has known vulnerabilities. Sounds like they put-together a really slap-dash system.

sexynotsmart 10:01 pm 29 Jan 11

I tried the Tuggeranong Officeworks ‘Print Shop’ a few weeks ago. And it was fantastic.

The area is set out like office cubes and the seats were comfortable. Free tea and coffee just like the TAB!

The staff were great. We didn’t have cause to flag one of them down, but they weren’t pesky. We had several gigs of Christmas photos that needed to be reviewed and printed. They didn’t hassle us about LoveBump’s tweens trying out every gas-lift chair in the store while we selected the printworthy.

Oh, and the photos came out well.

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