July 6, 2005

Incompetent Customer Service

There is one thing that I miss here in Texas...there are no decent places around to purchase anime. I can get anime-related accessories just about anywhere, but I can't get my anime fix very easily here.

There are three places around here that stock anime. There is the Movie Trading Company across the street, but if it isn't at least six months old, forget finding it there. There is Border's down the street, but their selection is abysmal unless you want InuYasha DVD's. Finally, there's the Virgin Megastore at Mockingbird Station. They have a small selection of anime, but they usually have new releases in.

Yesterday, "Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA 3 Volume 1" was released here in the states. I'm a bit of a Tenchi fan, so I asked my wife if she could pick it up for me at Virgin. She said she would.

Now, I've never gotten good customer service at Virgin, but I knew they were the most likely place to have it. So, I wrote down on a pad of paper the exact information that my wife was going to need to get the right DVD. I wrote down, "Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA 3, Volume 1 of 3, Published by Funimation, MSRP $29,99, Not GXP, released 7/5/2005." Any salesman who looked at that could, via process of deduction, figure out which disk it was. It wouldn't be the OVA 1/2 set, as that was released by Pioneer/Geneon as either a 3-DVD boxset (now discontinued) or a set of 4 DVD's. It wouldn't be Tenchi Universe or Tenchi in Tokyo, as both of those were 8 DVD's long and both are now dropped to a sub-$20 MSRP. Finally, it wouldn't be Tenchi Muyo! GXP, as that was 8 DVD's as well and specifically called out...mostly because I noticed they had it in stock the last time I was there. Finally, aside from GXP, all previous Tenchi DVD's were released by Pioneer or Geneon.

So my wife goes to get it. She hands the salesman my note. He grabs a DVD. She asks three times if he's sure it's the right one. He swears up and down that it is.

It's not. It's not at the right price point, it's not the right publisher, and the DVD was released over two years ago. In short, he didn't even pay attention.

So, my wife gets it home. I call her from work to let her know I'm running about 30 minutes late. She reads the DVD package to me, and I can tell immediately that it's the wrong one. I tell her to meet me at Mockingbird Station.

We both get there about 30 minutes later. We walk into Virgin together, and the salesman who helped her saw us and ran. Yes, you read that right. He ran.

So my wife starts the arduous process of returning the merchandise while I go to see if they have it in stock. The salesman, who evidently covers the area, is avoiding it like the plague. After determining they didn't have it in stock, I return to the front counter and get our money back.

So, what did this salesman do wrong?

1) Didn't double-check the merchandise matched the requested specifications.
2) Assured the customer that the wrong piece of merchandise was the right piece.
3) Avoided the customer when he was going to be confronted with his failure.
4) Did not assist in correcting the problem.
5) Did not properly cover his area.

Now Virgin is a decent company. I have nothing wrong with them at all. However, this Mega Store branch needs some serious work. If your staff would spend less time programming their iPod playlists and more time paying attention to their customers and their needs, there might be more than 2-3 people in there when I visit.

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