Time to value your customers.
A few years ago I had the privilege to be best man to a close friend of mine. As a thank you he and his new wife gave me a watch as a present. It was a wonderful gift and a watch that brings back happy memories of our friendship.
One day I managed to drop the watch and broke the glass face. I was gutted! I stopped wearing the watch for a while until I could find the right shop to fix it. Success came when I discovered a repairer in Westfield’s Shopping Centre, Stratford, London.
The service on the day was great and the watch was sent back for repair. A few weeks later I received the call to collect the watch. Excited, I journeyed back to find the shop and collect my cherished watch.
Now shopping centres are vast these days and I struggled to find the shop. I found a map of the centre and began my search. Security guards pointed me in the direction that I had walked. What was I missing? Eventually I admitted defeat and gave the shop number a call. No reply: I thought that perhaps they are busy with other customers. I searched further and went in to a shop close to where the map said that it should be. A helpful assistant said “yes it is just two shops down” and came out of the shop to show me. The look on her face said it all. “Oh,” she said “the shop was there” pointing to an empty shop with an advertising hoarding covering it. My heart sank. Would I ever find the watch? How would I explain its loss?
Wondering what to do I found another watch shop and asked if they knew anything about its closure. I pressed on, running around the watch shops and jewellers within the centre. Time was getting short as the centre was about to close at 9pm. Eventually I found a partner shop. A chap in the store said that they were part of the same group of businesses. I told him that the shop had closed, and he too looked surprised. What next? He then said that another shop might be able to help. He called the number and got a positive response. “Good news” he said; they thought they might have it, but I’d have to move quickly as they were about to close. I ran the length of the shopping centre to get to the shop just in time. There on the counter was a large box full of watches that had been repaired and left behind by the closure of the store. In that box was my cherished watch. A look of relief beamed across my face. I paid for my watch and left the shop.
On my train ride home I started to think of how many other watches of great sentimental value lay in that box. How many other people would have to run around the centre looking in vain for a shop that no longer trades in Westfields. Only detective work helped me uncover the mystery closure of the shop and my missing watch.
It is so easy for businesses to lose sight of their purpose, and as a result let down customers. In this case I estimated at least fifty people. I wonder if the retailer will ever realise the impact that poor service has on the reputation of their brand and the heartache that they have caused.