Sales people have one goal. To sell you something. In two separate instances today, the sales person have failed to convey a single morsel of knowledge. In fact, I felt, that the salesperson has given more information by trying to look smart rather than taking a ‘mea culpa’ and say they don’t know. I figure that sales people sell to the knowledgable consumer, that understands the basics, but needs that last 10% of explanation to sell them.
When I buy something, I know all the pertinent information. I know all the features. I know all the controversies. When I ask a question, I’m not asking because I’m too lazy to look, but rather, I can’t find the answer. I get that I’m not the normal consumer, but I should not be the only one who is asking this question.
Here are my two stories:
I have been knocking the Barnes and Noble nook since day 1. I can not figure any of the models out. Today I forced myself to figure out all three (touch, OG nook, and color). I currently have a kindle, and not having touch makes life a LOT easier. It took me one second to realize the directional pad was the navigation. I eventually figured it out, but had to deal with the salesperson who almost called me irrational for thinking things through and refusing the manual
The reason I care so much is because I want to be knowledgeable on which I should recommend. Do I promote the open .epub format that everyone except Amazon uses, or the proprietary format that .azw (Amazon) does.
Manuals are for people who read manuals. As non-sensical as the previous statement is, there are people who will read manuals. I don’t read manuals. My family doesn’t read manuals. In fact I can count the people who read manuals, that I know about, on one hand. I will be upset if I can’t get a manual, however, I will generally just ignore it. If your product needs a manual, it has not been designed well.
The salesperson told me to read the manual. I explained to him that I’m usually called upon by my friends and family to show them how to use something. If I can’t figure something out, then it is too complicated. I understand UI and UX, but again, having a manual on the device, but being unable to operate the device renders the experience unsatisfactory.
The salesperson also told me that I could come and ask questions when I had one. Nobody is going to do that unless that is their last resort. Usually when that happens, they have exhausted all other channels. Exhausting all other channels will probably mean that the sales person does not know.
Still trying to sell me on whatever he was trying (obviously I wasn’t listening), I was explaining to him that none of the nooks have 3g built in like the kindle does. He told me he does not want to pay for a data plan. When I told him that the kindle has free international data, he said that the nook has wifi. I had to first explain that you pay a small premium ($50), and you can be anywhere this is data (not wifi) and get the book. He then said that it was not necessary. When I told him my kindle allows documents to get sent to it, he also said, it was not necessary. Again omitting features is changing someone’s perspective without them knowing.
It got to a point that people were hearing this conversation, and came up to me later to ask their questions.
Story 2: I want to know how much a Google Samsung Nexus S costs retail. There are two questions in this one question. First, does your store carry it (which is difficult to find), and second, how much does it cost. I went to a kiosk, who usually know more than the general PR speak, and asked them. I first got, ‘Yeah, we have the Galaxy S.’ I explained that was not the phone I asked for. I told them that I wanted an instant updated phone. Once again I got the rhetoric that their phones ALL have the latest updates. I explained to them, that the Nexus S is very hard to find. It is an actual google phone, and that they are generally not sold in stores. I explained that I needed retail, so I can keep my current contract. I was told that that you can’t buy phones without contracts. As I left, frustrated, I hear them laughing at me.
These two stories just happened to me today. These are typical. I see this as the main reason people shop online. They see going to the store as a high pressure situation where the sales people are useless. People are harassed, and when they ask a question, they get sales rhetoric that benefits the store and not the person. I rather pay people a decent wage that would be required to actually know what they are selling. I would love someone to say “Sorry Sir, I am not familiar with your question. You can wait for person x, or come back later and I will find it for you.”
I constantly hear that brick and mortar stores are failing. Maybe having actual, knowledgeable sales people will help. As questionable on how ‘genius’ the geniuses are at the Apple Store, the sales people generally know what they are talking about. I can stump them by purposely being difficult, but they usually know what they are talking about.