The wisdom of crowds

Posted: June 7, 2012

After all we’ve been through over the past four years, can there really be any retailers left with staff who couldn’t give two hoots about their customers? Consumer group Which? discovered that there could indeed, in its May 2012 customer service survey of more than 11,000 consumers.

The wisdom of crowds should never be underestimated and when I read out the list of the ‘worst’ retailers to a group of friends, heads nodded in ‘yeah I agree with that’ gestures. As did I. Halfords, Poundstretcher, JJB and JD Sports, TK Maxx, Primark and PC World are all places I would only visit under duress – and then I would just get what I needed and escape the acrid atmosphere of indifference as quickly as I could.

The results of this survey will have been brought to the attention of those firms’ boards and perhaps it will act as a bit of a wake-up call. It should do, because as Which? editor Martyn Hocking said: “With household budgets squeezed, people are becoming choosier about when and how they purchase products. High Street shops cannot afford to give customers poor service if they want to tempt shoppers away from their computers and back to the High Street.”

Incidentally, I would also largely concur with that survey’s opinion of the ‘best’ retailers – which included Apple, John Lewis, Richer Sounds and the Disney Store. Anyone thinking of opening an adult store today would, I think, prosper if they took their inspiration from those palaces of pleasure.

And talking of ‘inspiration’ and ‘pleasure’, Absoloo.com, a French e-retailer of adult goods, earned a round of applause from this office last month after capitalising on the launch of epic PC strategy game Diablo III. Absoloo asked ‘game widows’ to visit its Facebook page and post a photograph of them holding a copy of the game and, in return, they would receive a voucher for a free sex toy. Bravo Monsieur/Madame!

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