An article today in the SMH, Customer service: who is the worst, named Harvey Norman as the worst amongst the group surveyed by Choice. What I found most amusing was the quote by Gerry Harvey.

“The level of feedback we’re getting shows that our level of service is fantastic,” he said yesterday. “I admit that it’s probably not fantastic in every store, all of the time, and I don’t think any retailer could claim that. But we do devote a lot [of] time to service.”

Sorry Gerry, but the last 2 times I entered a Harvey Norman left me underwhelmed. Staff standing around having a chat and a high level of disinterest when I asked a question. And when I asked what was the best price including delivery, the answer was a simple ticket price plus standard delivery fee. He could have even tried. Oh well, the salesman at Bing Lee put in some effort and into their till went the money for a new washing machine.

It’s a sad reality for retail that simply having open doors, selling the same stuff as everyone else and an interest free gimmick to the next century is not enough now. The wild credit spending of 5-10 years ago is behind us and if you sales experience is as charming as a website but at a higher cost, then you’re days in business are numbered.