Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC
With the birth of our grand daughter Peyton just days ago, I am compelled to revive a past hobby I enjoyed as a girl and through my teenage years. It is funny how the beauty of a new life, revives some memories and experiences that for so many years have been out of sight and out of mind. While I have been shopping “pink” for the past nine months anticipating her arrival, I am not feeling the need to sew “pink”. I tried to revive my old Singer sewing machine with no luck. So I began my search for a new sewing machine to restart my hobby.
As many of us consumers do, I began to Google and research all that I could find out about today’s machines and what would best suit my needs and at what cost. My how things in the sewing world have changed! Who knew sewing machines now offer a million and one options for the potential buyer. I was simply overwhelmed with way too much information and decided I needed to consult with an expert.
We live in San Diego County and the United States Census Bureau reports the population in 2013 was expected to be 3,211,252. It goes without saying, it is not a small town and there should be a variety of retail stores that would carry a variety of sewing machines. To my surprise I was only able to find three stores that carried and seemed to advertise they were specialists in all that is sewing. Two of them were more then 50 miles from my home and one was only 10 miles away. I made plans to do all the research I could before heading down to touch the machines.
If you have read this far, you are wondering why in the world I am writing about buying a sewing machine! Here is why. I was a typical consumer in many ways while planning my purchase. I wanted to do as much research as possible before I made my purchase. I fully intended to go to the store and find out all I needed to know from the experts and then go home armed with the knowledge I needed to make my ONLINE PURCHASE. Yes, I was doing exactly what many travelers do, right? I just wanted to save as much money on my machine as I could while still getting all the bells and whistles I desired. As a member of Amazon Prime, I knew I could get my machine delivered to me free of charge and surely I would get the best deal after doing my retail shopping at the nearby retail store.
I phoned the store before I headed down there to ask about their price-match guarantee featured on their web site. I was told that they will match just about any price with the exception of Amazon. The pleasant and well informed woman who answered the phone told me that if I purchased a machine at their store, I would get the following:
- One free class per month for a year
- First year complimentary full service maintenance on the machine
- A 60 day money-back guarantee
- Personal set up and getting to know your machine training
She suggested I come in and just take and look and try out some of the machines to be sure I choose the right one for my needs. I hung up and got in my car to make my way down there. Mind you, I was not yet convinced that I needed to buy locally. I figured the more info I had the better and of course there was that great Amazon.com pricing.
The next day I made my way down to the store and was warmly greeted by the woman at the front counter. After sharing that I was “just looking”, she introduced me to Ellen who asked me all the right questions and proceeded to show me the machines within my price range and with the options I was likely to use for my old is new hobby. In other words she “qualified” me just as you do your clients. I narrowed it down to three options and took that information home to do some more research online. To her credit, she did not push me to buy. However, it was clear to me that the customer service level at this establishment was going to be stellar.
Going through this financially significant purchase really drove home the point that the value of a transaction and the end product one receives should not be taken lightly. I realized how similar this experience was to that of someone considering and planning their vacation. While it was convenient for me to visit the retail store, it was not the compelling reason I bought from this store instead of buying from Amazon.com. What moved the dial for me was the knowledge, expertise and attention to customer service, none of which I could have received buying online. It really was not at all about price in the long run. It was about the fact that I felt confident I was getting the service and attention to details that I really did not know I wanted, but in fact I did.
You may wonder why I felt compelled to write about this experience. I wanted to share with all of you who treat your customers with respect, give them the courtesy, service, answers and ultimately the vacation they really want to know how invaluable you really are. There will always be some purchases we all make that are perfect for an online transaction. However, a vacation is not one of those! You are simply invaluable! My hat is off to all of you!