Customer Experiences Series – Case Study Two

Case study from the CEO of HOED Research, who visited a local homeware store.

The following account is from a senior manager of our internal team, who has extensive experience and understanding of how a business should be run. ‘I was looking for two bedroom table lamps and two replacement lamp shades, so I visited a major homeware chain in Auckland on a Saturday. Upon entering the store, it was well laid out and stocked. There were half a dozen customers in the table lamp and shade area and three team members clustered behind the counter. As I made my way to the appropriate section I began to browse the various lamp shades. As the store was busy I understood that I would have to approach a team member for assistance. I endeavoured to make eye contact with one of the three team members but was unable to catch their attention and continued looking at various lampshades. After looking at examples and taking them out of their boxes it was apparent that I was not going to be approached. By now I was keen to purchase two lampstands and two additional lamp shades, so I approached the counter for assistance. I waited for a few minutes before a team member broke away from their conversation and asked to assist me. No smile or friendly manner was shown. I felt as if I had interrupted the internal discussion but carried on with my enquiry. I was told that they would be over shortly, so wandered back to the lampshade area and continued to browse. After another few minutes the team member walked over and asked, “What do you require assistance with?” I made my enquiry again and the team member advised all their stock was on the floor and nothing else was out the back. The team member did not demonstrate any behaviour to provide further assistance and I asked if the store had boxes for the two products in my hands. The team member advised that ‘the boxes were thrown away’ and no further explanation was given. I was keen on the two products I had and decided to purchase them, chancing any damage that occurred during the drive home. I was told to bring them over to the counter and the team member walked away, to which I had to raise my voice to ask about light bulbs. The team member said, “Some, behind the counter.” I followed with the products in hand and the team member found light bulbs and fitted it saying, ‘this is all we have, and they are $7.00 each.’ There was no attempt to produce a large bag or even partly wrap the lamps in bubble wrap. I paid for the products and was presented with a receipt. At no time did the team member demonstrate any friendly behaviour.’

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