Customer Education

One of the biggest issues I run into almost on a daily basis, is the lack of customer education in our biz. Just before Christmas, I was helping a twitter friend with some insight as he was planning to purchase a new TV. He was shopping at the dreadful big box store. I won’t mention which store, but you know who you are big blue!

So my twitter friend is shopping at the big box looking at LCD vs Plasma. So we cover the basics and dispel a few of the myths the box store sales guys told him. Long and short, it’s going into a basement theatre-esc room… Plasma will be perfect. So he starts looking at models, and I ask him to send me a list of the models he’s looking at. I kill off a few from the list right off the bat. Pretty easy to do when he’s got a decent budget, might as well get a decent screen. So I recommend he look at a few of the Panasonic models and a couple of Samsung models. And I get this response: “… I really like the Panasonic but the Samsung is really blotchy!”

This surprises me. I sell a ton of Samsung and I haven’t had that kind of feedback before. So I ask a few more questions about clarifying models, etc. he tells me it’s a C550 series, which I respond with ” ahhh, that’s their entry level screen. Go find a higher screen, a D6500, D6900, or D8000 before you make a decision. Compare the ST30 Pani with the D8000 Sami… You’ll get a better comparison”. My friend gets back to me saying he’s looked at their top Samsung model and it’s still blotchy compared to the Panasonic, so he order the Pani. Awesome, I told him. The Pani’s a great screen and he’d love it.

But I was still bothered by this ‘blotchy’ remark. So a few days later, I entered the belly of the beast. I stopped by my local big box store to scope this splotchy situation for myself. After wandering the store I found the screen that was looking blotchy and it sure was looking bad. It looked like it had be pulled out of the box and had the picture just slammed down. It sure didn’t help that it was right beside a wonderfully calibrated ST30 Panasonic. It’s pretty hard for this lovely entry level Samsung C550 to look great beside a great looking, fully calibrated Panasonic. Slam the picture on the Samsung, and the result is even worse. So know I know the source of the splotchy screen, but I’ve still got a few questions. Why did the top model Samsung get such a poor response from my friend. Was its picture all slammed down too?

So back to wandering the store. I can’t find the screen, so finally I take the plunge. I ask a blue shirt. And yes, I did cringe while typing that. So I ask the kid were the D8000 Samsung is… His response was classic: “What’s a D8000 series. You must mean a D6000! That’s the top of the line screen!” Yeah, I laughed a little. I couldn’t help my self. I politely explained that there are multiple models above the D6000 models. He didn’t completely know what to do with that wonderful tidbit of information. No I don’t blame him, if the models aren’t in his computer and he doesn’t have a sku, how is he supposed to know?

The long and short of it is that my twitter friend bought a nice TV. He’s got it setup in his house and enjoys watching it. Unfortunately, he’s also got a bad opinion of Samsung screens. Now is it a warranted opinion, maybe, but is it partial propagandized by an uninformed sales rep? Yeah, probably a little! This is that moment when, I as an integrator really see first hand the importance of educating our customers to the best of our abilities.

Now let me address our wonderful friend at the big box. I don’t blame him, and you shouldn’t either. It’s just a situation where you need to understand the difference between someone who works at a big box and proper integrators who live this everyday. Again, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the big box… It serves a purpose and a clientele. Gosh, I shop there at times. There is just a difference between the big box stores and custom integrators!

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!