Tag Archives: service

Closed Currys, not surprised.

Just walked passed a Currys Digital store here in central Glasgow to find it totally closed.

Saddened in that it is one less high street store open, but not surprised to see it happen. One thing that has characterised my visits to any (what was) Dixons / Currys / PC World was that I would leave feeling more irritated and annoyed than I did when I went in, my ‘customer experience’ in any of these Dixons Retail group stores was always negative.

I remember a while ago going into one store and while looking at one or two laptops was approached by a sales girl who asked what sort of laptop I was after. I said I was after something that had to be dual-core processor and the video output to be digital. She said ‘back in a minute’ and when she returned selected a lap-top saying this one would be suitable for me, pointing to the (analogue) VGA output saying that this was digital. I questioned her about it but the assistant repeated that this was suitable, told me the output really was digital, and was keen to complete the sale. Fail!

Another instance was of looking at printers and being approached by a sales assistant. I said I was looking for one of the cheaper postscript compatible machines. She said she didn’t know if they had any but would go and ask. (I have no problems with staff not knowing – they can’t know everything – so long as they are honest about it.) When she returned she said that they didn’t sell that make. The trouble is that postscript is not a make but a printer language common across most high and mid-range printers with some low-end machines postscript compatible too. I don’t know who she asked, but the end result was incorrect information from the staff and a disappointed customer. (Needless to say, there were postscript compatible printers there.)

As for the number of times I’ve overheard staff tell customers that ‘this camera’ is better than ‘that camera’ because it ‘has more megapixels’ is too many to list here. Or being told this is better ‘because it’s digital’. Then when you ask why does that make it better, the response just to repeat ‘because it’s digital’. Or of course, going into one of their stores and then waiting 20 minutes to be served, only to be eventually approached by a member of staff saying that the store is now closing. This has been a depressingly common experience; it’s apparent that as soon as it gets anywhere near closing time the staff all start heading towards the back of the store, reluctant to serve customers. I assume in case it delays their exit out at the end of the day.

Then there is the integration of (or lack of) the running of their web site compared to that of the store. Senior management has not yet latched onto the fact that consumers now expect seamless integration between the two. To find the web saying there is stock and on going to the store finding none, or price differences between the two is unacceptable. Customers expect to find ‘exclusives’ consistent between the channels. Their stores need to compliment, not compete with their internet presence.

I prefer buying in a shop, to be able to see and handle the actual product at time of purchase. To be able to walk out with the item, not having any postal delays and trying not to miss the delivery van. However finding staff who don’t know their products, who only seem interested in customers if they can get the customer to buy something that will fulfil their daily sales target just sends me off to places like Amazon. It’s not that I want to go to Amazon, but am being driven there because of the quality of service from their high street stores.

Wagamama; first impressions.

Glasgow has it’s fair share of noodle style restaurants, and my usual one is Ichiban. However, as a bit of a change myself and a friend headed off to the local Wagamama outlet. Not been before so curious about what my first impressions would be.

I guess it was around half full, though they had got most people all squashed together. We were duly slotted into a gap between two other groups of people. (Not a place for conversation unless you want everybody else to be able to listen in.)

We had hardly sat down and picked up the menus when a waitress came up and asked us what we wanted to drink. Because I showed a slight hesitation in saying what I wanted the waitress grabbed the menu from me, turned it round so the drinks page was uppermost, then thrust it back at me (rather rude, and certainly no thought of ‘customer service’). Our drinks were quick to arrive and food order taken. The menu was rather dominated by either prawn type seafood or chicken dishes, so I went for some spicy chicken. It arrived reasonably quickly. The food itself was nice but had been put onto a very cold plate. This meant that the main part of the food was reasonably hot, but the food towards the edge was tepid at best.

I thought this was meant to be an oriental style noodle bar (chop sticks were provided) but the way the food had been prepared and cut meant that using chop sticks a was not really a practical option.

I had hardly finished my last mouthful (my friend was still eating) when my plate was whisked away from me. The thought ‘conveyor belt’ sprung to mind, no proper customer service, we were there to be processed as quickly (and as indifferently) as possible.

The bill was presented and money handed over, and then we waited, and waited, and waited, and I noticed all the money trays at the counter had long been cleared, and we waited (for longer than it took us to eat the meal) and waited and I noticed our waitress occasionally glancing at us till eventually she went to the computer terminal, tapped quickly, and shortly after our change arrived! Quite obviously she had no intention of giving this to us.

Looking around, for what was meant to be an oriental style food bar there were no ‘oriental style’ people eating there, and likewise not an oriental person visible behind the relatively open plan kitchen area. This thing of no local oriental people willing to eat in this style of place was for me an interesting reflection on it’s actual quality and authenticity.

Compare this to my local Ichiban; similar rice or noodle based dishes, similar price range, but a place where hardly an English word is audible from behind its kitchen area, and a customer base that’s very oriental biased.
Would possibly be willing to give the place a second try (though not in any rush). However from my first impressions I know which restaurant I prefer to be spending my money in!

Wagamama  and Ichiban


Ages since I updated this, so time for a bit more stuff.

Right now we are near an election and politicians are starting to be even greater arseholes than usual! So I thought I’d throw in my two penny worth of thoughts and that wonderful catch-all word – stuff.

There are two areas which would be my proverbial ‘sacred cows’ where, even in times of recession I would not cut back on.

The first is education. So much comes from an educated population. There is the obvious such as better employment opportunities, but there are also the less talked about consequences such as better health and being able to look after yourself. A better attitude to live and of well-being. A greater awareness of the social situation (local and national) around you, reduced crime. Schools would be co-educational, however classes would be single gender. There would also be streaming by subject. The core curriculum thing would be a lot simpler and go back to basics and be based around the old 3 r’s of reading, writing and arithmetic with time for fitness (not necessarily sport, but general exercise) and – perhaps a little bit odd – music. If there is one thing children love, that’s music. Whether it’s singing, playing specific musical instruments, or just making a noise by just bashing a drum! No specialist skills required, a fun social activity that can be done by anyone or everyone, regardless of abilities. An informal, natural creative form of expression that can help to build self-confidence.
As a side line, school lunch would be free.

The other area would be defence. Regardless of attitudes to the rights or wrongs of fighting and war, if we are going to send people into these situations and have them die for us, we can do nothing less than give them the best chances with the best equipment, training and support. This also includes support to them after they leave the services, and to their families in the event of their death or injury during service. I would see an expansion in the number of servicemen, and use this as a back-door way to improve levels of skills and health. Especially targeting those, probably very early 20s, who arseholed around at school and thus messed up things there. Many now realise they fu*ked up then, so this would now give them a chance to get some skills and education. Also now doing this with an ‘adult’ attitude to life rather than trying to do it while going through all the problems involved with adolescence.

As for things like health, what do we expect from a (free) health service. A universal free service for treatment for every single thing we want – oh look, a skin blemish, I want it ‘treated’ so I can look prettier – or something that actually concentrates on illness and discomfort. Should it be restricted to our own citizens (who pay the taxes to fund it), or open to anyone who happens to be in the country at the time and who wants or needs treatment (what defines a ‘health tourist’?). Have we developed into a society that expects everything to be fixed, and no longer can accept that some thing are just what they are, so live with them.

Would love to see an expansion of the rail network especially across more country / rural areas (if this means cutting back on roads, so be it). Even if the trains that run on the track are run by private companies, the track, signalling and stations should be run as part of the country’s essential infrastructure rather than something just to make a profit. Once a town has reached a certain level of population, then there should be a legal requirement for it to be attached to the rail network. There should also be big incentives to get freight, especially that going long distance, off the roads and onto rail.

Just a few thoughts.