Thursday, July 24, 2008

Service is Key

Just yesterday, my daughter called me to ask exactly what laptop I owned because she was on her way to Wal-Mart to buy one.

"Do you have a special reason for going to Wal-Mart?" I asked, thinking that maybe she was going to buy it with a WM credit card.

"No..." she said slowly. "Why?"

"Go to Best Buy," I said. "They can actually answer your questions there."

Recently Tall Son bought a laptop at Wal-Mart. But Tall Son knows a lot about computers and can understand those info little cards that they stick on the shelf that offers all the specs. Tall Son is the kind of person who can effectively buy a computer at Wal-Mart. He knows what he wants and doesn't need help.

Last month, I bought a computer at Best Buy. I had an ad in hand and a mission. I "knew" what I wanted. However, when the sales person asked me why I wanted that particular one and exactly what I do on a computer, he pointed out that the computer of my choice might not have sufficient memory. He could sell me more memory for $100, or he could sell me a computer that cost $100 more that already had that memory installed (same kind of computer, different model). (Lest you think that he was trying to beef up his commission, I quickly discovered he wasn't. I went to apply for credit so I could get the "6 months no interest" deal, and I told him I'd come back to see him when I was finished. He told me I could get the computer from anyone available because they didn't work on commission.)

So I paid $550 for my little computer instead of $450, and we're living happily ever after.

Today I came across an article that says my take on Best Buy was accurate. It's thriving despite the economic downturn precisely because it offers service.

Some things, like toothpaste, customers can find on their own. More complicated purchases often require the help of knowledgeable staff(and plenty of it to go around, not one expert with four people lined up to talk to her). And the company who provides that knowledgeable staff wins, period.

Someone should forward this article to Home Depot.


Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

My state is the home of Best Buy -- and we really do love them... perhaps a bit too often, and for too much money :) -- but, it is a good company.

They have a variety of smart, family-friendly flex time policies in their corporate office that make them a good corporate employer and citizen...

They also hire lots of my students, so I can't even walk into one in my area without seeing a couple of them... it is kind of nice, because I know they are hiring smart, bright people.

Anonymous said...

Alas, my Best Buy experiences are a lot more like this.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Re your comment on CPAP --

You should try to get another sleep study. They asked Hubby questions about my sleep patterns, so if you have someone who can answer those kinds of questions, make sure to bring them along. If not, you could probably make a video or audio tape to prove your point -- without the CPAP I snore a lot and you can hear me breathing until I stop -- I'd guess a tape recorder by your bed would pick up the same thing....

For my insurance, the key is to get the clinic to refer you to the lung/sleep doctor -- who took a look down my throat, spoke to hubby and wrote the referral for the study... apparently they can look at the back of your throat and see the likelihood for sleep apnea.

The machine itself, and the tubes etc are considered medical equipment -- so check your insurance policy on the payment for that stuff.. They rent the machine for a while and check to see if you are using it before they'll buy you one.

Today I feel like I've had about a week of deep sleep -- and it has been a total of about 7 hours over two days... it's amazing.