Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Softer Side of Service

I have waited 3 months to blog about the local furor surrounding the service at Sears. I wanted to wait until after the buzz was long dead. My post will surprise you. First there is no excuse for bad service, customer abuse, etc.

However, with Sears, at least they try. Think about this for a second. You have purchased a brand new car, for example. The expectation is the dealership has a repair department. In the appliance industry, the number 2,3, 4 and 5 largest appliance dealers do not provide any type of service. In fact less than 20% of all the stores offer any type of repair. Unfortunely, there is also no independent servicer left to repair products. It is like driving your car around 50 or so miles for an oil change or worse.

Back to Sears, the current management has no experience in service or retail(not a bad thing). They are probably thinking service is a profit center like any business. Service exists for marketing reasons only. Being able to help customers with issues is the only reason to invest in a service department. This mindset is the root of Sears' problems. In order to cut costs, they have commoditized it instead of marketing it against their competitors. End result: inconsistent service

As products become more varied and sophisticated, the lack of service will become an issue for consumers. Before buying apppliances, like buying cars, check and at least ask about what happens when a product breaks

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