View Full Version : OT: What do customers really want??

07-03-2004, 04:40 PM
Ok I'm asking the age old question salespeople and managers have wanted to know( and think they know) for years.

When you go into a shop looking at buying what are you looking for??

Are there certain approaches from salespeople that are good?? or a turn off??

Do you decide to buy solely on price??

Do you want the latest and greatest or something that has been around for a wee while??

Please give me some good and bad examples of salespeople

Do you research what you are buying before going to the shop??

If you do how do you research?? Consumer? PCWorld? Internet?

So far I have had many different "experts" try and tell me/us what customers want etc and I figure its about time someone actually asked the people buying.

07-03-2004, 04:52 PM
Granted i may not be the average buyer(and that would apply to many here)in that i tend to know a fair bit about what im after...

One thing i dont apreciate is being lied to.

Shop in palmy insisted there g2mx they had in stock was superior to the g4 i was after.

A local guy tried to sell me a mobo that was incompatible with the cpu i had.

Infact another shop in palmy tried to tell me there slow and outdated board was the top of the line.

A shop here in Wanganui insisted that pc133 was the fastest ram on the market..

And another tried to sell me a piece of hardware for 3 times its worth...

It was all this that stopped me buying local,from then on went the online way,untill i had a disagreement over a faulty item.Too easy for them in auckland to just send me an email saying tough.

Which is all why i just started my own company....

The other thing is salespeople should recorginise the **** look when i give it to them....

07-03-2004, 05:03 PM
lol personal note to self.........hide all AppleIIe's and 486 pc's on "special" when metla is in town, also watch for person trying out Magnum PI look lol.

Damn I'm showing my age here with the Magnum comment me thinks.

Yeah I know what ya mean with the lies etc there are some salespeople out there who must sleep in L shaped beds to maintain their "shape". The latest we have in Hawkes Bay is some plonker stating as a firm fact that Plasma and LCD television is only good for 2000 hours, guess he misread the 20 000 hour blurb from the suppliers.

What is your company metla??
I deal with people from all over NZ and am always looking for good places to refer people to for various bits.

07-03-2004, 05:08 PM
You will have to look in my profile to see the link.

As a side note i just signed up for some shop space on friday.Another roll of the dice.

07-03-2004, 05:15 PM
Good luck with the shop there metla, After having a read of your site and judging on the help you post in here you will do fine.

07-03-2004, 05:21 PM
Unless dear old Elephant is my first walk in customer.

Think ill wear a fire retardent suit to work.....

07-03-2004, 06:07 PM
You didn't say whether you meant computer customers only - or any customers for anything?

For computing stuff, I'm a novice at the opposite end of the knowledge scale to Metla.
(He's "top of the range" & I'm "downmarket.")

So what I want to know honestly from a salesperson is : What will it do?And equally important: What won't it do? And how much can I upgrade it later? And what won't it do even then? (Covering my bases for operations I don't know exist yet, but expect a competent seller to be familiar with)

When I ask how it compares with another brand this shop DOESN'T stock, I like to think I'm getting an honest reply.

Next comes the length of guarantee & the after-sales service. The shop does that or sends it away? I don't want that glossed over in a few vague words. The answer may turn out to be important.

And if he's a slick young man, I don't want a patronising attitude that shows he thinks this woman is out of touch with the 21st century. (In some respects he's correct, but it needn't be made obvious.....)

As for research, if it's a big-ticket item, I will have already checked it out with Consumer and on the Internet and with any friends who've bought one. So I won't be starting from complete ignorance & should have some intelligent questions to ask.

But there are always the impulse buys - and that's where a good salesperson wins every time. I can still be talked into buying something I'd never planned for by someone who complies with the above requirements and can convince me that they have my best interests at heart.

Taking an interest in the customer's needs as an individual wins every time...

P.S. A shop,eh? Go Metla....

07-03-2004, 06:35 PM
We had just returned from a camping holiday in Europe where we'd used front loading washing machines everywhere, when our washing machine here in ChCh packed a sad. It was terminal, so we went to buy a new one.

After looking around at all brands, we came upon some front loading ones. They were half the price of the top loading ones. A saleman came up and asked if he could help. I said "Yes, we'd like to know why these frontloading washing machines are half the price of top loading ones?".

He scratched his chin and looked thoughtful for a minute, then said:
"Perhaps it's because they're driers".

A witty, intelligent salesman (is that an oxymoron?). Needless to say, he kept us in fits as he sold us a machine. That's what you need: to have fun while they're getting your money.

07-03-2004, 07:19 PM
hi ya,

first up i think for me is shop appearance, if the shop is nice bright and has plenty of space its inviting.

2nd would be the veiw of salespeople actually in the shop Working...... nothing worse seeing a salesperson reading a mag or sitting with feet up.

3rd someone that greets you when you come in the door? but not in ya face all the time.

4th someone interested in what you are actually after, and may actually know the product,
willing to talk about items on sale or not on sale, not just after a quick sale. can compare similar items and still friendly when you leave with out a sale.
someone not just wanting the job done and back to doing nothing.
and the after hours service. or warranty service availablity is also helpful.

things i have learnt, doesnt matter what the product is, but a happy helpful person who will go out of their way to find or supply an item or something to be done. goes a long way and people will come back.
hard work pays off, politeness is a must and service with a smile, or a warm happy voice on the phone never misses.

another one is the Customer is always right! no matter what.
and if you stuffed it up : putting it right counts bigtime.

i dont get the chance to shop like i used to, but find i now avoid places where the service sux's doesnt matter what the product is, i will source another shop or company who sells the same or similar product, price is not always the draw card.

Reputation's stick like mud, once it is made.
Once its bad its a uphill battle to rectify that, We know from experience thanxs to the previous owners of the business we are in.

constant uphill battle,
and to all those know it all's even i have caught people out with my little amount of Computer knowledge, (even the camera lady)
i take nothing as gospel usually unless i ask on here or someone i trust (online)

oh well speel over.

07-03-2004, 07:29 PM
I hate salespeople that judge you on your appearance. I recently went to an appliance shop on a Saturday morning, dressed as I normally do for a relaxed weekend, with family in tow. Was looking for a basic cell phone, nothing expensive. Given our appearance the young bloke judged our financial position and intelligence and made the most patronising spiel about the phones. He obviously thought we had no idea about them. We had a cell phone when he was in nappies, but hadn't had one for some years.

Needless to say, he didn't get our money.

Noel Nosivad
07-03-2004, 08:06 PM
Hey dipstick01,

When I go in a shop looking at buying something, it's usually something I expect that store would have.

Sales people should never leave you walking around the store trying to find something, you should be greeted, or acknowledged. If you can't deal with them straight away, then let them know you will be with them shortly or put them onto someone who is free.

We can not tell what our customers want, majority may speak of price. It's good to keep up with the latest, as well as keeping some older stuff. It's sad in the computer industry where things are becoming obsolete in a year.

Bad example of a sales person, was from an electronics store, I went in, looked around the store, had trouble finding what I wanted, no one served me, walked to the counter, asked if they had Flux or Duzall, and she looked at me blankly. She asked what it was used for, and so I explained what it was to her (should be the other way round), and she still looked blank, she looked on her computer, found a location where it should be, went over to it, she had no clue what she was looking for. I had a look, and was looking for something in particular, not the aerosol type they had which I saw. After 10 minutes of finding nothing, she told me they don't have it.

I expect something like Flux would fall somewhere in category of Electronics and that it should be known to them.

Good examples of a sales person was from the manager of a hardware store, I walked in was greeted straight away, and then asked what I was looking for, I told him and instantly he walked over to the products and started asking me more questions of what I'll be using it for, he then gave me suggestions of what would be good to use and what was the cheapest and what was considered higher quality. I only spent 10 minutes in the store gathering what I wanted and was on my way back to fix my house. Now that was service, he had alternatives, and gave details of how it's being used. I was quite impressed.

Researching should not be neccessary although if you have no clue what you are looking for, you'll be making it even more difficult on the sales person, although the good ones usually know what you are talking about.

If I had to research, it'll depend on what I'm buying. Internet use, phoning them up, etc. All will apply when researching.

If you could provide the customer with everything they wanted at a reasonable price, then you are doing something right.

Noel Nosivad.

07-03-2004, 08:41 PM
To speak to someone with a good command of Engrish who can come down to my level of knowhow when I ask an obviously stupid question - someone who doesn't rabbit on about bus and cache and ide despite the blank look on my face - someone who asks me what I want to achieve then guides me through a selection process and explains alternatives.

Oh Utopia


07-03-2004, 09:24 PM
I know one thing. Me and my Dad went to Harvey Norman to buy an HP printer. My Dad said, ONLY an HP, nothing else, wont even look at anything else.

Came out with a Canon, more expensive than the HP one we were looking at.

Why? Because the guy knew what he was talking about, and explained to us why the Canon was better then the HP printer that we were looking at.

Someone that knows their job is good, someone that will explain why it is better, not just that it is.

07-03-2004, 09:48 PM
do you know what really tickes me off about sales people? its about, again, how they judge you on apperance.

i am 13, and suffer because of that. i am currently looking to buy a cell phone. so i walk into telecom, and what do they do? nothing. 2 sales people, no one else in teh shop. they don't act as if i'm there. i am a human. i do exist. i have money. maybe if i walk in there naked they will notice me.

and on another occasion i walked into dick smith electronics. looking for RAM. at least the shop assistant notices me. "the ps2 things are over there" he says as he points to the other side of the shop. i give him my "shrivel up and die" look. i mean really. i'm on the other side of the shop. studyint the products in that category. i have a brain. if i want the ps2 games, i'll go to the ps2 games.

so keep in mind salespeople, treat everyone as a customer. they often will be if you treat them well

08-03-2004, 08:15 AM
Judging by the subject : What do customers really want,
Well i want lots of money :p

08-03-2004, 01:40 PM
This is all good stuff, so far it seems I can sum it up inot the following:-

Shop and stock needs to be clean and well lit with a logical layout making things easy to find

Salespeople need to acknowledge the customer as they enter or very shortly after but NOT approach with a sales pitch

The salesperson should most definately NOT judge by appearance, in fact the richest guy in our area (worth millions literally) comes into our shop in gumboots and bush shirt.

Know what you are talking about, don't make it up or streeeeeeetch any facts. If you don't know then find out for them.

Be relaxed and treat customers as people NOT a sales target. Customers will buy from people they like not the b***rd with the cheaper price.

Service still does count for something in Retail.

Keep the info coming please. Its actually very interesting hearing all this. Some of it is confirming what the experts say however some is also going against what a lot of stores are basing their sales etc on.
Speaking of sales what is your opinion on the various ways shops advertise??

Do you actually buy if they are advertising a sale or don't really care as they will always do a deal to get the business anyway??

How much do you think shops make off the things they sell?? 10% 15% or more??

08-03-2004, 02:06 PM
Hi Guys

I don't do sales people.

If they ask me 'would you like any help?',
I walk right out the door. If I want help,
I'll go to them.

Also fast food places, if I am not served
within 5 minutes before ordering my food,
I walk right back out again. KFC is a prime
example of where I do this the most.

Rev Species 116

08-03-2004, 03:23 PM
... within 5 minutes BEFORE ordering my food...

Looking for psychic assistants, eh? Not many of those about, I fear.

Graham L
08-03-2004, 03:51 PM
They've been frightened off by the psychotic customers. ;-)

08-03-2004, 03:58 PM
Nice one, Graham

08-03-2004, 06:47 PM
According to one of Barry Crump’s characters: “If you’re looking for a fair deal forget it. You only ever come across one of those by accident”

I really do like fair deals when I come across them, although I’m also well aware of the pressures on small-business people to make a living.

I suppose that’s the main thing I want apropos this topic – a fair deal.

In somewhat associated vein is the quote seeming wrongly attributed to Phineas T Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

(On the wrongly bit, see http://www.historybuff.com/library/refbarnum.html )

While I haven’t that often come across salespeople or small business proprietors with this particular attitude, it’s not entirely unknown although I wish it were (unknown that is).

I only ever had one bad dealing with a computer shop. That was when trying to get someone else’s modem on a laptop fixed under guarantee, they unilaterally decided the OS was dud and (allegedly) reinstalled it. Tried charging me $90+ for that. I considered whether to decline to pay, or to pay and then hammer the proprietor with the Fair Trading Act. Decided the latter would have been a bit tough on him so just declined to pay for the alleged OS reinstall. He got his money from the modem guarantee.
And his technician couldn’t even tell the difference between a crook OS and a dicky HDD, with the latter actually being the problem – readily sorted out.

I don’t any more use computer shops for repairs. PC’s are basically pretty simple with not that much in them, and easy enough to sort out myself if ever things go wrong. The software is of course a different matter, athough when things do go wrong it’s on occasion a bit hard (for me) to decide if it’s basically hardware or software at fault. Usually it’s the software. I‘ve spent a lot of time battling the foibles the quirks of Windows XP. Sometimes I win, sometimes it does, but a more co-operative OS would sure be helpful to me.
(The old saying to the effect that “if you can’t beat them join them, and if you can’t join them, leave them.” Time will no doubt tell!)

09-03-2004, 06:23 AM
I am a customer!
There are two scenarios to my shopping. 1 I want to by a specific article. I expect the appropriate shop to have it in a visable, easy to find display.I do not want to engage in a major search. I do not want to be told of other things you have or how good or bad my choice is. In other words I want to get what I want and then get out of the shop in the quickest possible time. And I do not want to stand in a queue topay for my shopping. Particularly I do not want to wait behind people fiddling with EFPOS cards. And in Supermarkets I do not want to wait while the young school kid behind the counter is being given instructions on how to use her till. In other words I am a real grumpy b****.
2. I've nothing better to do so I brouse looking for anything that interests me. I have no particular interest in buying,but I might if I see something I would like. I do not want sales staff asking "can I help" and I do not want junior staff following me around talkink inane drivel.
Today most of my shopping is done on the net. My pet hates. Web stores that advertise stuff they do not have in stock (particularly computer sites)
Now if I want something my first approach is an e-mail that says do you have so and so in stock and can you get it on the courier today. If the reply is "we can get it for you". Next site!
And I do not use sites that will not accept credit cards. Particularly those that do not say so until you get to the "check out".
One on my hate list is the site that had about 50 gigabyte m/bs listed in their stock. I order one and get an e-mail back trying to convince me I should buy an obselete Asus board that they have on special.

09-03-2004, 09:23 AM
Ever thought for a second the world doesn't revolve around you?

And that no one else cares?

09-03-2004, 09:37 AM
Yes Metla, my world does revolve around me. And I care about me.

Might try your store soon and I'll see how much you care. :D

09-03-2004, 09:46 AM
The thing most important to me is that the salesperson knows the products and if there is something that they do not know then he/she says so. Unfortunately only two frequently they catch themselves out by trying to waffle. Then if you have been round a couple of previous stores where the people do know what they are talking about then the waffle is obvious. Am impressed however with how many good salespersons there are in NZ - I think we compare well with other countries !!

My favourite place for great service is Grove Mitre 10 on the North Shore. Even if the item costs only 10 cents they still give you all the time and effort they would for $1,000. I have no other connection with them other than as a customer, I hasten to add !
:) :)

09-03-2004, 04:29 PM
boing boing

09-03-2004, 04:35 PM

09-03-2004, 05:12 PM
sorry laura just bouncing the post back up the list. I'm still looking for opinions of the second lot of questions I asked.

09-03-2004, 05:17 PM
> Yes Metla, my world does revolve around me. And I
> care about me.
> Jack.

Hey... That makes two of us, coz Im sure it revolves around me too.... ;-)
We must be at opposite poles :p


09-03-2004, 05:18 PM
I only know Bump
Sorry for being dense
Good luck for the next lot

09-03-2004, 05:43 PM
> Unless dear old Elephant is my first walk in
> customer.
> Think ill wear a fire retardent suit to work.....

You won't need a fire retardent suit Metla. I don't carry a flamethrower up my trunk as it were. :-)

What you may need if you try the "baffle the customer with geek talk routine." is full body armour. Watch for this old tired grey looking guy with a deepfreeze under one arm and a woodchipper under the other arm.

This guy has researched the Internet well before he walks into your shop so he will know if you try to pull a fast one.

09-03-2004, 05:54 PM
A deep freeze ..?
Oh, for the cow
Now why did I imagine she was alive?
Oh dear. Another illusion shattered.
I've obviously missed some vital posts...

09-03-2004, 07:32 PM
Oh dear Laura,

you missed some amazingly good posts and threads while getting to the actual facts, details and answers expected? during the best laugh a lot of us have had for a while.

subjects covered were, Tardis machines, cows, maths, freezers, swimming pools, oh and quantum foam, and a dam fine woodchopper. :D

i may have missed some items but no animal or item (human or otherwise ) was hurt in the writing of this thread.... :D

the main names that come to mind are Godfather, Elephant, Winston001, Thomas, and a few others???? and me :8}
sorry if i have missed any body out.

im sorry i cant recall the name of the post but it had something to do with size of a freezer if i remember at all. :D and i dont remember who posted it either.

it was a goodie.


09-03-2004, 07:55 PM
Errkkkkkkkk. Just finished my steak, egg and chips dinner.

Could have been a Bull for all I know.

Does this make you feel better I hope???!!!! :-)

09-03-2004, 08:06 PM
Well then Misty,
You and I have had good service both from Mitre10. I went into Mitre10 in Tokoroa this afternoon and wanted three or four items. One in particular was a sprinkler. I mentioned that I had seen this sprinkler in a Mitre10 store in Wellington and the salesperson said that "We can't get those anymore even though they were popular." She also pointed us to a different sprinkler with a good brand name. We bought this and I plugged into the hose and it worked.

This salesperson had a good attitude and we walked out happy.

09-03-2004, 08:25 PM
I have no preferences for cow/bull when eating steak.

(Such ideas make one consider personalities of animals. Too much of that & vegetarianism starts raising its head. I am a devout carnivore with no wish to change - so far at least)

But Beetle's post tells me I need to search the archives for the background to this bovine pre-occupation.

I will follow her advice

09-03-2004, 08:51 PM
> ... within 5 minutes BEFORE ordering my food...
> Looking for psychic assistants, eh? Not many of those
> about, I fear.

I also like people whom listen or read. Laura.... I just have to say that you obviously read. That post had me confused as well my not relative.


With a little luck my post may well confuse others!!! :-)

09-03-2004, 08:52 PM
Steak and eggs?

Thats merely a day's work for a chicken, but a lifetime commitment for the cow (or bull). Unless we see some amputee cows around that is ...

09-03-2004, 09:01 PM
> Steak and eggs?
> Thats merely a day's work for a chicken, but a
> lifetime commitment for the cow (or bull). Unless we
> see some amputee cows around that is ...

Once again I have to agree with you. There again I try to use a WHOLE cow during my menu. Not all at once I might add. :-)

09-03-2004, 09:26 PM
Your menu?

Are you supplying recipes then? Jamie Oliver rides again...

Or are you more of a Graeme Kerr? Or even - dare I say - our Dunedin-raised & well-beloved Alison Holst?

09-03-2004, 09:39 PM
> Oh dear Laura,
> you missed some amazingly good posts and threads
> while getting to the actual facts, details and
> answers expected? during the best laugh a lot of us
> have had for a while.
> subjects covered were, Tardis machines, cows, maths,
> freezers, swimming pools, oh and quantum foam, and a
> dam fine woodchopper. :D
> i may have missed some items but no animal or item
> (human or otherwise ) was hurt in the writing of this
> thread.... :D
> the main names that come to mind are Godfather,
> Elephant, Winston001, Thomas, and a few others????
> and me :8}
> sorry if i have missed any body out.
> im sorry i cant recall the name of the post but it
> had something to do with size of a freezer if i
> remember at all. :D and i dont remember who posted it
> either.
> it was a goodie.
> beetle
Were these the threads you were looking for? I had a good laugh at reading them once again.

Whats wrong wif my fridge, Oct 16, 2003 (http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/thread.jsp?forum=1&thread=40532&start=0&msRange=50)
OT - Cubic Measurment, Nov 23, 2003 (http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/thread.jsp?forum=1&thread=41791)

09-03-2004, 09:50 PM
does anyone else fail to see how steak and eggs relates to salespeople :D

but another example. i go in to buy the sims. i get teh disk box. i go into teh queue. no-one serves me. i had the money on the counter. i have the box. i dont get served, and am now offically ****** off at Big Byte, and probably won't go there again

09-03-2004, 11:59 PM
Not the dreaded FRIDGE thread..

No... all is well.
It's your 2nd option which is bovine (I went to the big bad city of Auckland for a while & missed it)

No woodchipper there - only a freezer. But finding a ruminant will do.

Certainly those I have owned never had to eat woodchips, but there's no accounting for what some people will feed their animals.
(And perhaps elephants are ignorant about creatures with more than one stomach..?)

10-03-2004, 12:48 AM
Steak & eggs = protein

Protein = stamina

Stamina = what they need to ignore you while you're glaring at the counter

10-03-2004, 04:49 PM
> Yes Metla, my world does revolve around me. And I
> care about me.

"I think therefore I am" Rene Descartes.

So yes, it is entirely possible that we are all extensions of Jack's existence and entirely subject to his whim. Watch out all you insolent sales staff. :D

10-03-2004, 06:57 PM
Ah!. Rene Descartes. A philosopher, soldier and mathematician. Mainly known today as one of the founders of Cartesian geometry.

His statement “I think, therefore I exist” (actually cogito, ergo sum) was originally postulated by him as the most fundamental and self-evident truth on which a rationalist (or deductive) approach to knowledge could be based.

Descartes’ program for advancing knowledge this was subsequently lampooned by Laplace in his much-quoted statement of (the classic exposition of) pure determinism (also for those interested if any – unlikely in this forum-, considered more fully in Immanuel Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason”.

The quote by Descrates was I think not intended by him as a statement on the primacy (or at least the equality) of the individual over the group. Probably more appropriate for this purpose are John Stuart Mill’s thoughts in his “Essay on Liberty”:

"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."

I always liked that one.

13-03-2004, 07:53 PM
Just a tip of the hat to Rugila for the interesting epigram on Descartes. I'm only vaguely familiar with Cartesian Dualism and always willing to learn.


13-03-2004, 11:43 PM
Try research and a spell checker. Having read earlier posts you have a reason to spell "the" using "teh"

Consistent though as I see it.

Want to buy Steak and Eggs do you?

Try the three R's.

To that you may add the fourth.


14-03-2004, 05:02 PM
I am sure glad I left appliance/electronic retail 6 years ago, after 14 years of trying to please every possible personality, preconceived ideas of what sort of service they will or wont get, doing your best for bugger all pay and being berated for it!