My Proform treadmill finally died last week and is irreparable. I’ve had it for about 10 years and used it regularly. Since I have a service contract on it with Sears, I was given a credit to buy a new treadmill. Shopping for a new treadmill is worse than buying a car! I seriously thought about just giving up and losing the credit that was awarded to me.
I went to Sears to look at the treadmills available and all of the Proforms there were cheap and pretty flimsy. When I got home, I found that Sears Online had Proforms that were much sturdier so I called up the store to see if they could order it for me and then I would buy it from the store. I was told no that I had to buy one from the store.
So, we go back out to the store to look at some more and then we find a Nordic Track C900 that looks much sturdier than the cheap, flimsy Proforms on display. Of course, the incline on the display model was broke and the salesman didn’t know much about it or why it wasn’t working. It was on about a 5% incline but the display showed it was on a 0% incline. He didn’t know much about any of the treadmills other than ringing it up and taking our money. So we are back to the drawing board. I decided that since we had a service contract, we could risk getting one like this and if the incline didn’t work, we would just get it fixed.
When I get home, I called the Sears store just to find out how much a Nordic Track service contract cost, he told me that it was about $354 for 5 years and he thought 3 years might be $250. When I asked him if there was a site online that I could read about it to get exact prices, he told me no. I asked if there was a brochure and he said he thought there might be. Then I asked if he could look at it and tell me the cost, he replied that he wasn’t near one so he couldn’t help me.
Next I call the Sears contract number and find out that if we get a Nordic Track, the service contract cost would be refunded because Sears does not work on Nordic Tracks. I have had wonderful service through Sears so this disappointed me about losing them if we buy a Nordic Track. When I told the lady about finding a Proform online that we liked, she told me that there was no problem ordering for me, and it would be delivered to my house. Then an installer would come install it and remove my old one. This was a totally different story than the one the store person told me. So now I’m back to looking at Proforms.
I found one similar at Academy Sports that I plan to look at since I like to see it with my own eyes. When I asked over the phone if they offered a service contract, the man asked, “You mean they come out and fix it?” When I told him yes, he recited the warranty that came with the treadmill and I asked again about the service contract. Finally he said that he didn’t think they offered any but he didn’t really know. Okay…
So now I finally decided on one to order online, I called back the toll free number for it to be ordered. Then I'm told that for some unknown reason, it is not allowing them to order it. Even though it says it is in stock, Sears says it is not in their system. Now I'm back at square one...again!
Since Sears and Academy Sports had salespeople who were totally useless, it made me realize that this is the caliber of people businesses are putting out on the floor. They are probably being paid little and trained even less.
I truly believe that if we give better service and train people to know their products, businesses would sell more products. Customers would be happier with companies and companies would have pride in what they sell. Maybe all they care about is the profit now but without good customer service and a product they can sell, these businesses will eventually lose the battle.
If I did not have a service contract with Sears, I probably would have given up by now and done without a treadmill. I have had to do the research on my own and if I did not have the time, I would have just stopped looking. Is this what businesses want consumers to do? If so, they need to stop whining when their profits go down!
It is never too early to teach good customer service. I expect salespeople to be friendly (without being annoying), available for help (not texting on cell phone or talking to other salespeople), and willing to find information for me if they don’t know it. Manners are important and all of students should practice this in the classroom with adults and their peers. Role playing different situations would train older students what to do if someone comes to their business and needs help. I think you can teach general good customer service that would apply to any business. Then when they get a job, the employee can focus on learning about the product and not learning the basics.
What do you think?
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original image: 'Customer service'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11121568@N06/4297836062 by: Alan Cleaver