It was an interesting trip to Gloucester at the weekend to say the least.
My phone contract is up for renewal and EE sent me a missive to say that I qualify for an early upgrade.
And so I called with great enthusiasm to find out what I could get. And instead got met with the ubiquitous automated answering system. Which meant that I ended up going round in circles, with no human at all answering at any point for me to talk to. My enthusiasm waned.
With a deep sigh, I popped into Gloucester on my way back from a meeting to visit the EE shop in town.
And there got met with a queue (in the middle of a Thursday). This was physical version of the automation queue. I was on a tight time scale so after 5 minutes, I gave up and walked down to Carphone Warehouse.
Here I was met immediately by a friendly lady who asked what I needed, asked me my name and said it would be about a 10 minute wait. She pointed out the couple who were in front of me and said they were there for a Pay As You Go Phone so shouldn’t be long.
Isn’t it weird how – if you know how long you are going to wait, then it doesn’t seem as long as waiting without that knowledge.
After about 7 minutes, she took me over to a young guy who could then serve me.
He was also very friendly and very chatty, went through the various phones I could have, and did a great sales job on the new gorilla glass version 4 that Samsung have now got on their new S6 phone. This sounds almost unbreakable, uncrackable and is, well, tough! I have had a mobile phones longer than this young guy has been on this planet I think (can’t deny the grey hairs any longer!) and not once have I ever cracked or broken a phone. I’ve lived and worked in London, I travel around a lot delivering workshops and coaching clients, and I have two kids. But in a good 20 years, not one scratch.
So it made me laugh when he then went on to the sales pitch about their insurance. Which will protect against cracked screens. The same screens that the gorilla glass protects against cracks!! So, no, I don’t want or need the insurance.
We were then discussing battery life; the S6 has a non-replaceable battery. Or rather you and I can’t replace it, but Samsung can. He then went on to say that if I had problems with the battery, then I could call Samsung and say (and I quote) “Hey dudes….”. The rest is irrelevant.
In my 46 years on this planet I don’t think I have every said “Hey Dude” to anyone, but more to the point, as a middle-aged business woman, I don’t think I actually look like someone who would say that!
Then we got onto discuss the price.
“So”, I said, “how much is the S6 Edge on contract?”
“Oh, very expensive.” he replied. This was beginning to get slightly reminiscent of that scene in Pretty Woman (you know, where Julia Roberts goes to Rodeo Drive shopping and they refuse to serve her).
“That’s fine – how much is it?” says I.
“You have to pay an upfront fee…”
“Yes, that’s fine too, but how much is it???” (Argh!)
Finally, with a flourish of sweeping his hands across his tablet, he announced that it was £99 to pay up front.
“That’s perfectly OK….so how much is the contract then?”
Getting blood out of a stone would now be easier.
“Erm, it’s £43 a month”, he finally proffered.
Now, considering I currently pay nearer £50 a month, then that was actually a better deal, and as I told him that it was cheaper than my current contract, I got a rather astounded “Oh!”!
I went away to think about it and went back to Gloucester on Saturday, with kids in tow, to get it sorted. (Side note: if you ever want to go shopping and keep your kids quiet at the same time, take them to a phone shop where they can play with the demo tablets for an hour!!).
I yet again tried the EE shop, but this time the queue was out of the door. Still no-one to greet new customers.
Yet again I went down to Carphone Warehouse. Yet again I was met by someone to ask what I wanted and to tell me how long I would have to wait. I was then served by a lovely lady who now spoke my language (no “dudes”), she spoke to me about the insurance and this time discussed that it would cover transferring all my data and that I could cancel it after the first month. That made sense to do, and so we sorted out my new phone and new contract, and the only issue I had was to choose the colour. Mind you, that was a difficult choice…
So, what can we learn from all this?
- Manage your clients’ or customer’s expectations. No-one minds waiting if they know how long they’ll have to wait. What else could this apply to in your business?
- Meet, acknowledge and greet with a smile. Obvious, but…
- Speak your client’s language. That means you’ll have to tailor your marketing or sales copy or messages depending on who’s reading it or standing in front of you. Brief your sales staff on this too. Particularly if you run a phone shop.
- Don’t undermine your own products. There may have been a perfectly good other reason why their insurance was a good thing, but focusing on cracked screens when he’s just told me that it was extra tough glass was, quite frankly, plain silly.
- Listen to what your clients want and what their concerns are, and serve those. By listening to my concerns about the data on my current phone, my sales lady sold me the insurance that the young guy didn’t manage to.
- Don’t assume your prospective clients or customers can’t afford your products or services. There is a price point for everyone at every level.
- Make it easy for your customers or clients to talk to you. EE missed out because I just couldn’t get to speak to anyone; I did my business with the person who did speak to me.
Be aware of what the “big boys” are doing when you’re out and about: you can learn alot!
Have a great week.
Dedicated to your success,
Photo of Samsung S6 Edge kindly used with permission from Valentin Valkov / Shutterstock.com