I’ve always been a firm believer that good customer service goes a long way towards retaining a client’s loyalty. Additionally, I’ve also been a long believer that no-one offers customer service quite like Super A-Mart. I’d like to share with you the lessons that I have learnt as a Super A-Mart customer.
Shortly after arriving at their Virginia store, Kristy and I heard a man shouting, “Excuse me! Excuse me, is there a manager around?”. The guy was poking his head into the showroom through a door at the back. One of the staff behind the sales desk answered him, “Yes sir, I’ll be with you in just a moment.” Clearly this wasn’t the answer that the guy was after, as he responded with, “Just a moment?! Are you aware there’s a huge queue out here? We’ve been waiting for a very long time you know. This is ridiculous!” Then, turning to the customers, he continued, “I wouldn’t recommend you buy anything from this place. What a joke! Save your money!” Opportunities for the staff to professionally handle an upset customer don’t often arise, and the A-Mart salesman jumped at the chance to appease the crowd. With a very sarcastic tone, he replied, “Yes, thank you sir, someone will be with you in a moment.” The customer walked away quite disgruntled. Lesson 1 – Once they have your money, you are no more important than a week-old mouldy sandwich.
Not much later, Kristy and I were privvy to our own A-Mart service experience. We knew exactly what we wanted to buy, and only needed to throw some money at them to complete the transaction. “I’d like to buy this right here”, I said to the cashier, pointing at the item in question. “Oh, I’ll have to get someone from sales to help you.” Perhaps she didn’t understand me – “Oh, I don’t need assistance, I just want to pay for this please.” “Yes,” she replied, “I’ll get someone from sales”. Lesson 2 – The cashier doesn’t want your money.
As promised, the girl put a call over the store intercom for a sales assistant to come and help us. A few minutes later, another girl behind the desk gave us the “May I help you?” line. “Are you from sales?” I asked. Horrified, she replied, “Oh, no!”, laughed, and walked away. Lesson 3 – Sales staff are in high demand, but are held in low esteem.
Eventually our sales person came, and told us that what we wanted wasn’t on sale anyway (well it was, but not in the colour we wanted). I asked if there was any room to move on the price, to compensate for the misunderstanding. Again, more laughter… “no” he replied, “no, that colour is never on sale”. Lesson 4 – don’t expect anything.
No purchases were made that day by Kristy and I, but we were both wiser for our experience. Lesson 5 – if you’re shopping for furniture (for example, if you are in the market for a new bed, because the one you got second hand off your folks should have been taken to the dump long ago), don’t go to Super A-Mart. Instead, favour Beds R Us, who are also at Virginia, and are having a great sale at the moment.