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Lift Your Game

Mark Edwards
25-10-2005

Store service really has to be good to beat the Internet. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.



Last week I bought a new Dell PC. The machine is great however, Dell don't have really good keyboards. The best keyboards for design, productivity and functionality in my opinion are made by Microsoft.



I decided to replace my Dell keyboard with a Microsoft keyboard similar to the one I had been using on my previous machine.



I looked online and found a supplier in Melbourne who had them in stock. Being a bit impatient, I decided to look for a local supplier who had one. I grabbed the yellow pages and looked for local computer stores.



After two phonecalls I found a store who said they had one in stock. The price was a little cheaper than the online price. I jumped in the car and raced down to pick it up.



On arriving in the store, the fellow I spoke to on the phone started by apologising for the mixup but their stock computer was incorrect and they didn't have one in stock. They had a slightly different one, but not the one I was after.



I ordered one thinking that they could overnight it to the store and I could pick it up the next day which was a Friday.



Friday came and went as did Monday with no keyboard.



On Monday afternoon I rang up to find out what was happening and was told that the keyboard would be in late that afternoon and I could pick it up in the morning. They would call to let me know it was in.



Tuesday morning turned into Tusday afternoon and I called again. This time, they told me the keyboard would be arriving on Wednesday morning.



Wednesday afternoon I drove in to pick it up.



In hindsight, it would have been far easier and cheaper to simply order the keyboard online:

I could confirm the actual model I was ordering from the picture and model numbers on my screen.

I could see that they had stock

Delivery would have been overnight so I would have had it by the following day

I would have saved two car trips

I would have saved several phonecalls



Even though the price in the store was cheaper than I found online I would still be reluctant to deal with the real world store in future. My experience with Internet ordering is that what I order today in Australia I can reliably expect to receive tomorrow.



This issue will become more and more critical for local suppliers of products that can be purchased online. People are willing to pay a premium for personalised service, however, if your service and delivery are worse than can be found online, it does not bode well for your business.



Increasingly, your competitors are a mouse click away.

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