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Bad retail customer service

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?


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36 Responses to Bad retail customer service
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Davo111 Davo111 10:16 am 22 Feb 11

creative_canberran said :

Managers instruct employees not to waste any time with customers who have product or technical questions beyond the basics..

what he said. Nobody wants to spend time selling to a tyre kicker. And there are ALOT of tyre kickers these days.

Its a downside of people working on commission, and its why i hate shopping at JB. Occasionally, all the small devices (like mice and routers) say “ask us for a price”, yet everyone on the floor is busy selling laptops because they get awesome commission.

Grrrr Grrrr 2:09 am 22 Feb 11

rosscoact said :

Mate, with all due respect, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I have broadband and I live in Gungahlin and as Transact have a monopoly I must be with Transact. I’d better tell them so they can send me a bill.

I know what I’m talking about because I lived for a year in the Gungahlin region and the only fixed-line broadband option at my address was TransACT.

You said “some of the new Gungahlin suburbs” (your own words) and I also specifically referred to FTTH. Don’t pretend that I am now talking about all of Gungahlin when we’re talking about FTTH (AKA FTTP) areas: http://www.transact.com.au/broadband/fibretothepremise.aspx

You have broadband (presumably wired) and it’s not with TransACT – so you’re not in a TransACT FTTH area. Franklin stage 2 and 3, Forde, Bonner, are some of the FTTH-only areas that are an example of the TransACT monopoly that you asked about.

creative_canberran creative_canberran 10:20 pm 21 Feb 11

Disclaimer: I am a former employee of HN Fyshwick.

1. Managers instruct employees not to waste any time with customers who have product or technical questions beyond the basics. Easy sales are key. If you’re savvy, they don’t want to know you. If you want to know more about processor speed than the interest free offer, go away!

2. If you don’t look like you’ll buy the high margin add ons, then managers preferred customers to walk rather than buy a laptop.

Unless you’re looking at a laptop with “HNX” written on the label, meaning a high margin Harvey Norman exclusive, they would rather customers walk than buy a lower margin laptop without add ons.
Norton Anti Virus has a tag price of $129 but a cost of only $17.
Belkin Surge boards and travel cubes for $199…. they only cost $69.
Belkin Silver Series HDMI, typically 300-400% margin.
The laptop normally only has 6-10% margin, you can see why they rather let the person walk.

3. Flexi-rent customers are treated as king. It brings in heaps for the store and cost you heaps extra. That said, you will have staff at you call, attentive but just as lacking knowledge.

Davo111 Davo111 8:46 pm 21 Feb 11

KaptnKaos said :

cc emails to ACA and TT,.

I agree with everything you said up to here. ACA/TT aren’t going to show ‘HN hate stories’ because they already get paid advertisements in a tonne of segments.

Davo111 Davo111 8:35 pm 21 Feb 11

OP, the problem is you walked into Harvey Norman. first mistake.

Yeah, you’re right, hard disk wouldn’t make a difference. the only difference i can see is that the computer would take longer to scan hundreds of folders in a large hard disk (from what ive seen the software doesnt give you the option of selecting a folder, but instead just scan the whole disk for images).

Also, its pretty fail on the ITs part if something you know will be regularly accessed by the public is vulnerable to viruses.

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.

hahaha, or better yet, just send your photos to an overseas printing company, who will print them professionally then post them to you.

rosscoact rosscoact 5:42 pm 21 Feb 11

Grrrr said :

rosscoact said :

No, that’s not a monopoly on a utility, that is a mono[poly on a certain delivery method of a utility. They installed a cable in some of the new Gungahlin suburbs therefore they own the cable. Of course they don’t have a monopoly on broadband because there’s plenty of options out there. Of course when the NBN goes through they won’t have that.

Don’t try to redefine the term. Water can be bought by the truckload – Rletricity from solar, generators, etc – Gas by the bottle. We’re talking about a fixed utility monopoly.

TransACT’s FTTH is the only cable, and is there with an exclusivity deal with the government. Hence monopoly.

NBN is a long way away – current FTTH areas may even get NBN last because they already have a similar service, and thus need it least.

Mate, with all due respect, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I have broadband and I live in Gungahlin and as Transact have a monopoly I must be with Transact. I’d better tell them so they can send me a bill.

Grrrr Grrrr 5:37 pm 21 Feb 11

rosscoact said :

No, that’s not a monopoly on a utility, that is a mono[poly on a certain delivery method of a utility. They installed a cable in some of the new Gungahlin suburbs therefore they own the cable. Of course they don’t have a monopoly on broadband because there’s plenty of options out there. Of course when the NBN goes through they won’t have that.

Don’t try to redefine the term. Water can be bought by the truckload – Rletricity from solar, generators, etc – Gas by the bottle. We’re talking about a fixed utility monopoly.

TransACT’s FTTH is the only cable, and is there with an exclusivity deal with the government. Hence monopoly.

NBN is a long way away – current FTTH areas may even get NBN last because they already have a similar service, and thus need it least.

Grrrr Grrrr 5:27 pm 21 Feb 11

By that argument, if someone had a monopoly on Electricity, you’d say they didn’t because gas cylinders could be used to run a generator!

rosscoact rosscoact 4:39 pm 21 Feb 11

Grrrr said :

rosscoact said :

What utilities does Transact have a monopoly on?

Fixed line Broadband in the new Gungahlin suburbs, at least.

No, that’s not a monopoly on a utility, that is a mono[poly on a certain delivery method of a utility. They installed a cable in some of the new Gungahlin suburbs therefore they own the cable. Of course they don’t have a monopoly on broadband because there’s plenty of options out there. Of course when the NBN goes through they won’t have that.

Grrrr Grrrr 3:48 pm 21 Feb 11

rosscoact said :

What utilities does Transact have a monopoly on?

Fixed line Broadband in the new Gungahlin suburbs, at least.

rosscoact rosscoact 12:29 pm 21 Feb 11

KaptnKaos said :

Transact is also on the KaosRadar as a bad service organisation, they have a monopoly on our utilities and have treated KaosKave accordingly, KaosKlan would love ACTGubbmint to introduce some competition to them, but too many mates there for that to happen.

Sorry, I’m a bit confused here. What utilities does Transact have a monopoly on? I’ve never been a Transact customer for anything except using their carpark when going for dinner.

Muttsybignuts Muttsybignuts 12:15 pm 21 Feb 11

corncob said :

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

Sadly, most TABS don’t even have free tea and coffee any more. Some rubbish about someone possibly burning themselves on the hot water urn…

KaptnKaos KaptnKaos 10:55 am 21 Feb 11

First contact for Transact and the KaosKave was good, since that first encounter though it seems KaosKlan are blackmarked (have a friend who works there to confirm the blackmarking) for asking why electrical services have been cut off ramdomly (yes bills are auto deduct so nothing overdue), why calling about water being brown is a Kaos problem and not theirs, why accounts have been stopped for no reason other than Kaos “must” have called and cancelled when it was an error on their part. I have heard great things about Transact from people, but have heard many more bigger problems/bad service than those that Kaos has encountered, especially with new housing areas.

johnboy johnboy 10:36 am 21 Feb 11

KaptnKaos said :

Unfortunately Canberra is rife with bad service and it is usually the “bigger” chain stores that are to blame – have run into a number of shocking salespeople at HN in the past and have walked out, oh and to the Guzzi sales guy at McGrath’s – why do you even bother showing up. Transact is also on the KaosRadar as a bad service organisation, they have a monopoly on our utilities and have treated KaosKave accordingly, KaosKlan would love ACTGubbmint to introduce some competition to them, but too many mates there for that to happen. Having said this, DSmith at Woden and Tuggers are good; Aldi anywhere have always been helpful.

This shockingly horrid service is now spilling over into the restaurant industry, but being small businesses, the problems here can be sorted quite promptly.

Tip for when confronted by the unhelpful, talk really really loudly repeating everything they say so that their manager and everyone else in the store hears – yes it’s juvenile but it I have found it gets results and attention. Email/phone the store’s head office and complain, cc emails to ACA and TT, name and shame on the riot, it’s time to change the service quality in Canberra.

RiotACT just got Transact installed in our new office and found the customer service great.

KaptnKaos KaptnKaos 10:33 am 21 Feb 11

Unfortunately Canberra is rife with bad service and it is usually the “bigger” chain stores that are to blame – have run into a number of shocking salespeople at HN in the past and have walked out, oh and to the Guzzi sales guy at McGrath’s – why do you even bother showing up. Transact is also on the KaosRadar as a bad service organisation, they have a monopoly on our utilities and have treated KaosKave accordingly, KaosKlan would love ACTGubbmint to introduce some competition to them, but too many mates there for that to happen. Having said this, DSmith at Woden and Tuggers are good; Aldi anywhere have always been helpful.

This shockingly horrid service is now spilling over into the restaurant industry, but being small businesses, the problems here can be sorted quite promptly.

Tip for when confronted by the unhelpful, talk really really loudly repeating everything they say so that their manager and everyone else in the store hears – yes it’s juvenile but it I have found it gets results and attention. Email/phone the store’s head office and complain, cc emails to ACA and TT, name and shame on the riot, it’s time to change the service quality in Canberra.

EvanJames EvanJames 10:20 am 21 Feb 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.

No, don’t do that, or he’ll renew his campaign to force people to put up with his staff’s incompetance and the uncompetive prices. We can’t have this people voting with their feet, and their wallets shennanigans.

alaninoz alaninoz 9:58 am 21 Feb 11

Like too many people in Canberra, they thing that they’re owed a living rather than having to work for it. Doesn’t apply to everyone, but way too many.

Watson Watson 9:56 am 21 Feb 11

I hate people like that. And these days I’ll complain. Usually I at least get a response, and sometimes the assurance that the issue will be/has been raised with the person I complained about.

The last time I complained was about the Capital Chemist at Lyneham. I dealt with 2 different staff there when I had to get a script filled. Neither of them used the words thankyou or please or even goodday or bye even once during our interaction. The first one basically just grunted at me. The second one openly rolled her eyes at me when I accidentally put my bank card away before I’d paid – because I got so distracted by her rudeness!

I never got a response to my complaint email, which must mean that management either doesn’t check the mailbox or that they don’t care if they’re staff does not use basic politeness. In any case, I am never going in there again. Fortunately there are 2 other chemists nearby.

Amethyst Amethyst 12:54 am 21 Feb 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 not very fair! I work in retail and I don’t consider myself to be any of these three things! I go to work and I work as hard as I can and I be as polite to my customers as I can as well. People don’t just work in shops because they aren’t good enough for anywhere else. I work in retail because I need to pay for textbooks for uni, food and rent and because I love talking to people and helping them out!

corncob corncob 2:55 pm 20 Feb 11

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

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