I wrote the following about a year ago. It was titled "The Sad State of Customer Service". After reading it again, it makes the fact that Circuit City is going out of business much more understandable.
Customer service today is in the pits! Yeah, I said it, the pits! Aren't companies there to make money? I mean, aren't they supposed to cater to the customers every whim and need? It seems some retail establishments are doing their hardest not to make money, let alone stay in business.
After reading an article on CNET titled "Is Circuit City in Danger?", it all seemed to make sense. The quality of customer service has a direct correlation to how well the business does, it's that simple. If a restaurant takes forever to take your order, will you go back? If the waitress is rude, will you go back?
This brings me to my epiphany about Circuit City. I ventured into my local Circuit City a couple months back to do some browsing, you know, kill time. It ends up that I found a camera that I was rather smitten to so I decided to purchase it. It was in the standard glass case so I had to have an employee open the case. After doing a lap around the store, I finally happened upon an employee (he was wearing the standard Circuit City employee shirt), but, unfortunately, he was talking to a couple other gentlemen (I use "gentlemen" loosely, they looked to be in their late teens/early 20's). Before I go on, I have to say that these "gentlemen" looked worse than me, and I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt--get the picture?
Anyway, I figure he's helping these guys, so I hang back a few yards hoping to swoop in and ask for his assistance when he's finished. While I'm waiting, I've got my neck craned looking for other prospective helpers with their CC shirts--none found. After a few minutes of what I'm sure appeared to be loitering, he stops his conversation and asks if I need some help. I reply in the affirmative and tell him that I'm not in a huge hurry, whenever he's done with the other customers. Here's the killer part. The guys he's been talking to aren't customers--THEY'RE FELLOW EMPLOYEES!
I have to tell you, these guys were wearing t-shirts and raggedy pants. Never in a million years would anyone guess that they worked there! It turns out that he (the guy wearing the CC shirt) gets another employee to help me who is also wearing street clothes. What was this, casual day at Circuit City!? Everyone is dressed casually even when they are wearing their red Circuit City shirts!
I'm usually somewhat of a quiet person and I usually let things slide, but on this day, I just couldn't. I told the guy that I'd been looking for someone to help me out for a while and that it was hard to identify the people that worked there--I got no reply.
This comes on the heels of another incident that took place over the summer where a woman demanded to see the manager of the before mentioned Circuit City to complain about the customer service there. I was one of the few people in there that watched this soap opera play out. This woman (in her 40's) was ranting about not being able to find someone to ask a question because they were all (3-4 guys) huddled in the back area where the car stereo equipment is talking and laughing. She finally managed to commandeer one of them, where she then demanded to see his manager. The manager was brought out and she proceeded to complain about the customer service--Bravo!
All I'm saying is that these retail establishments need to take a closer look on who they hire. When companies hire a bunch of 17-18 year old kids who work on a part time basis, I guess customers shouldn't really expect that much. And when the final receipts come in, the retailers shouldn't expect that much either.