Today I Learned... Customer Transparency Is SUPER Important

Elvis Starburst

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So, story time. I've been going to some car audio stores in town these past few days cause a few of my speakers are shot and the others are on their way out. Two of the stores were really helpful, one especially so, and one of them was only sorta helpful. They were friendly and were happy to sell stuff as the same low prices as the other locations in order to get my sale. The guy asked what he could do for me to sell me some TODAY. Seemed off, but I didn't think much of it. Trying to cut a huge deal for a quick sale has been rather commonplace in some stores I've been in. But there was one thing kinda off.

I listened to my own music on the demo unit with some Hertz Energy series speakers. They sounded pretty good, rather bass-y to the point it felt like it was muffling things slightly, but I liked them enough. I told him I needed to go to the other stores to hear their offerings. He gave a cocky remark of "Sounds good! Hope to see you in... 30 minutes?" as if he knew the sale was guaranteed based on my reaction to the sound of the speakers.

Fast forward to some talks with one of the other stores. One of them told me that the sounds of the Focal speakers I was demoing with are flat EQ, no adjustments, and no fancy equipment added. He made sure to make every detail very clear to ensure I knew what I was hearing. I realized the guy at the previous store told me none of this. Me and the guys at the shop I was at suspected something. So, I went back and checked their deck. Sure enough, the bass was maxed, the mid range was maxed, loudness was buffed by a bit, an amp was added, and I didn't check but I assume a preset EQ was also in place, rather than just a neutral EQ.

I was rather surprised. These guys were selling these speakers on their sound, but made no point to mention that they adjusted the audio. If I didn't check and I bought them, my expectations for their sound would've been completely different. Of course, my aftermarket deck could easily have made them sound the same as the store demo. But the fact the guys there adjusted the speakers, and not just the ones I looked at but ALL OF THEM and didn't tell me... I felt rather off put by the whole thing. It was a total lack of transparency with their system because they uttered not a word. They wanted to sell the speakers on the sound I heard, not what was representative of their sound out of the box.

The third store's Alpine speakers were kinda crap, so I went with the Focals at the other store. They sounded great, but the fact these guys went to extremely extensive detail to ensure I knew every single last bit of what I was getting into to make sure I got exactly what I wanted... I found it hard to deny them. Plus they were experienced, and cut me the best deal I got out of the 3 stores. So, they got my business in the end.

That was a bit of a long winded story, but one I wanted to tell. Of course, as is typical for discussion, I wanna know who else has any sort of experience of an off putting lack of transparency as a customer. Do tell, and give all of the details!
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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Not quite customer transparency, more like patient transparency but here we go:
I'm a Registered Nurse at a psychiatric ward, treating mainly affective disorders (depression and bipolar chiefly) as well as eating disorders, personality disorders and self-harm behavior. My work with the latter two groups in particular has convinced me that one of the most important things we can do as health care professionals is to make sure the patient understand their treatment options, why we want to go with a specific treatment and what they can expect going forward in their treatment, both on the ward and as an outpatient. It is all about establishing trust and making sure the patient feels comfortable with letting us do our jobs without having to second guess our actions. It really grinds my gears when my co-workers, doctors in particular, act as if we can't trust the patient to try and make the best decisions available to them and wants to withhold information or options because it is more convenient for us.
 

Bobular

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I was ordering some materials that I was going to use for advertising for my stall, just cheap little things with my details on them that I could hand out at conventions or in schools or whatever.

Went through the entire process with this company, got the mock ups of what they were going to do for me, they weren't perfect but for what they were they were good enough. I was talking to the rep assigned to my order and confirming everything and they gave me a total price just over ?100, which I was fine with and agreed to go ahead.

A couple of days later I got the invoice through saying that I had to pay something like ?210. I went through the invoice and I saw that the original ?100 price was in there, but they had then added on VAT, P&P, card handling fees & a couple other fees that almost doubled the cost per item for something that I was planning on handing out for free.

I called them up to cancel the order and the rep started offering me various discounts to get the cost down closer to the original ?100 that I thought I was paying, but I refused them all purely just because they had hidden all these other costs and now couldn't trust them. I've also removed their card from my records and will never use them again. If they had included these 'discounts' from the start then they would probably have had both a sale and a repeat customer.
 

Jeroenr

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Elvis Starburst said:
So, story time. I've been going to some car audio stores in town these past few days cause a few of my speakers are shot and the others are on their way out. Two of the stores were really helpful, one especially so, and one of them was only sorta helpful. They were friendly and were happy to sell stuff as the same low prices as the other locations in order to get my sale. The guy asked what he could do for me to sell me some TODAY. Seemed off, but I didn't think much of it. Trying to cut a huge deal for a quick sale has been rather commonplace in some stores I've been in. But there was one thing kinda off.

I listened to my own music on the demo unit with some Hertz Energy series speakers. They sounded pretty good, rather bass-y to the point it felt like it was muffling things slightly, but I liked them enough. I told him I needed to go to the other stores to hear their offerings. He gave a cocky remark of "Sounds good! Hope to see you in... 30 minutes?" as if he knew the sale was guaranteed based on my reaction to the sound of the speakers.

Fast forward to some talks with one of the other stores. One of them told me that the sounds of the Focal speakers I was demoing with are flat EQ, no adjustments, and no fancy equipment added. He made sure to make every detail very clear to ensure I knew what I was hearing. I realized the guy at the previous store told me none of this. Me and the guys at the shop I was at suspected something. So, I went back and checked their deck. Sure enough, the bass was maxed, the mid range was maxed, loudness was buffed by a bit, an amp was added, and I didn't check but I assume a preset EQ was also in place, rather than just a neutral EQ.

I was rather surprised. These guys were selling these speakers on their sound, but made no point to mention that they adjusted the audio. If I didn't check and I bought them, my expectations for their sound would've been completely different. Of course, my aftermarket deck could easily have made them sound the same as the store demo. But the fact the guys there adjusted the speakers, and not just the ones I looked at but ALL OF THEM and didn't tell me... I felt rather off put by the whole thing. It was a total lack of transparency with their system because they uttered not a word. They wanted to sell the speakers on the sound I heard, not what was representative of their sound out of the box.

The third store's Alpine speakers were kinda crap, so I went with the Focals at the other store. They sounded great, but the fact these guys went to extremely extensive detail to ensure I knew every single last bit of what I was getting into to make sure I got exactly what I wanted... I found it hard to deny them. Plus they were experienced, and cut me the best deal I got out of the 3 stores. So, they got my business in the end.

That was a bit of a long winded story, but one I wanted to tell. Of course, as is typical for discussion, I wanna know who else has any sort of experience of an off putting lack of transparency as a customer. Do tell, and give all of the details!
Not as uncommon as you may think.

Just go shopping for a t.v., often the more expensive brands/models are better tuned than the cheap ones.
Car and home stereo's are no different.
And often the sales clerk doesn't know a lot more than he can read from the info sheet by the shelf.

As long as they don't add stuff to it so it's sounds/looks better than you will ever be able to, i will put up with it that
And although i do prefer the knowledgeable clerk often found in specialist store's, that's usually not were the best prices are.
 

the.chad

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Nov 22, 2010
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When buying my second car (second hand)

I let the car salesman know he was the first dealership & car I was looking at for the day.

With this info, the guy gave me his recommended basic checks to make sure nothing was off about any of the cars I was looking at on the day.
Simple things like looking at the bolts in the engine bay to see if there was any paint stripping (he mentioned it will never look perfect if the cars been crashed & the bolts replaced) amongst other helpful tips!

On the same day, speaking with another car salesman, he was trying to push a particular car onto me.
Said to him that a mechanic friend of mine said to avoid them.
Sales guy replied "my friends tell me to fuck fat chicks but I still do!"
Was so disgusted and put off that I just walked out...

Another dealer was trying to convince me a 6 cylinder car would use basically the same fuel as a 4 cylinder car =/

First dealer ended up having the best price and car, but I was glad to give commission to a genuinely nice person!
 

Elvis Starburst

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Jeroenr said:
And although i do prefer the knowledgeable clerk often found in specialist store's, that's usually not were the best prices are.
Funny enough, the most knowledgeable local place had the best value in terms of information for the same price as another store, but then they cut the price down further to really settle a sale. And it was QUITE the deal too, so these guys really wanted to earn my business. And they did~

I think I knew this sort of stuff was a thing, but I hadn't really come across a situation where it would come into play. Certainly will have me checking just in case for now on
 

tippy2k2

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I don't know if it's a recent thing (maybe with the Amazon Window Shoppers, Big Box feels that it's a waste of time now to properly train people since the customer will just take all that time and info and run) or what but businesses seem to forget that people have memories.

For example, I will never again shop at Men's Warehouse because I felt like the manager there did me wrong and lied to me about what I was buying. A $250 purchase so they got the short term gain out of it but when I start buying some actual nicer suits, I will avoid Men's Warehouse (and tell others to do the same).

They got the sale from me that one time but lost a customer to do it.
 

Bob_McMillan

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What a perfect fucking thread for me right now.

I'm moving into a condo with two other friends for college. We decided to go get a split type aircon. We went to the store, bought one based on an employee's reccomendation, and had it scheduled to he delivered and installed (which for some reason needs to be two different days)

So after a three hour drive in standstill traffic, we get to the condo and meet the installers. We learned that a) before installing it they need to determine if the horsepower of the aircon is suitable for the room, b) they will not install it if it isn't and c) the room is apparently too big and they won't install it without voiding the warranty. Naturally, my mother went ballistic. It was basically an hour of her shouting at dudes on the phone. Sounds assholey, I know, but it was pure Murphy's Law that day. So eventually she caved in and agreed to have a more powerful unit sent in for some extra money.

We later learned that there is no actual basis for these fuckers to refuse installing the aircon, and in fact, there were multiple units in the condominium who used aircons with even less HP than the one we had. The government's own guidelines say that the aircon would have been fine. But I guess the store wanted a few extra bucks and have their "standards" a little too high. They didn't give us a single solid reason why the aircon couldnt be used. It simply was the company rules. That dick employee was also at fault. In hindsight, he was way too eager to sell it to us. That's what happens when you have consignments.

The regurgitated cherry on this crap sundae is that the new aircon arrived today- AND WAS FUCKING DEFECTIVE. So now my first night in the room will be spent without an aircon. That, I can deal with. What I can't deal with is getting dengue. AGAIN. The windows don't have screens yet. And now my mother has to spend another three hours on the road and a couple more waiting for the next aircon to be installed. All because one guy was too eager to sell us an aircon.

I can't help but feel betrayed by the store. I've been going there literally since I was baby. All of the appliances in our house came from there. My dad has been there so often the employees (and there are dozens of them) all say hi. I don't know where my family will get pur appliances from now.
 
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If you buy a TV at Curry's that is high-res or 3D they try to convince you that an ?80 HDMI cable is a necessity. They will lie to your face to try to get you to buy this stupid overpriced cable. They lost a sale from me for not letting it drop the first and second times I said I don't want/need the cable.

I heard later that the employees get a decent commission on the cables and are otherwise made to push it hard. They're all about preying on those that aren't tech-savvy.

Elvis Starburst said:
I wish the market would get over the idea that all that matters is bass. I'm glad you gave your business to the guy who didn't treat you like an idiot who just wanted loud thumps.
 

Tanis

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I learned this a LONG time ago, working many a retail job.

GameStop is NOTORIOUS for this '50 questions of pushing shit while being full of shit'.
Thankfully, my local (small town) store knows not to do this unless some asshole from Home/Corporate office is there.
-Then again, damn near everyone under 55 and over 10 has a card & is a repeater so it's pointless anyways.

A local dealership lost a nearly 1 MILLION DOLLAR sale/contract (over the course of about two years) a month ago.
-He's the lead of a local farm/ranch/dairy that's looking to expand and upgrade their fleet.

All because they tried to pressure my friend's father into 'upgrading' his personal truck into something 'nicer'.
-Dude needs DURABILITY over looking PRETTY.

Pissed him off so much he went 'up the street' and gave those folks his money.
XD
 

FalloutJack

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Gethsemani said:
Not quite customer transparency, more like patient transparency but here we go:
I'm a Registered Nurse at a psychiatric ward, treating mainly affective disorders (depression and bipolar chiefly) as well as eating disorders, personality disorders and self-harm behavior. My work with the latter two groups in particular has convinced me that one of the most important things we can do as health care professionals is to make sure the patient understand their treatment options, why we want to go with a specific treatment and what they can expect going forward in their treatment, both on the ward and as an outpatient. It is all about establishing trust and making sure the patient feels comfortable with letting us do our jobs without having to second guess our actions. It really grinds my gears when my co-workers, doctors in particular, act as if we can't trust the patient to try and make the best decisions available to them and wants to withhold information or options because it is more convenient for us.
This reminds me of doctors and nurses whose idea of bedside manner when they're coming with bad or uncomfortable news is to try and distract you with something obviously off-topic so that they can sucker punch you with your results while telling themselves that they made the effort. No, you didn't. Bedside manner is 'Okay, this does look bad, but we're going to do everything in our power to fix it'.

Tanis said:
GameStop is NOTORIOUS
You know, it's funny, but if this is standard Gamestop procedure, they don't teach it in Pittsburgh. I've never experienced this. Ah well.
 

Elvis Starburst

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Sexual Harassment Panda said:
I wish the market would get over the idea that all that matters is bass. I'm glad you gave your business to the guy who didn't treat you like an idiot who just wanted loud thumps.
That's what I don't get. I remember my reaction was initially "Wow, this thing covers every bit of range! Highs, mids, and lows" and he said they do quite well. Sounded almost too good to be true. But the bass was rather muffling on a few songs I tried. I think it was my first reaction that he wanted. The salesman wanted me to believe the speakers had the full range, hitting bass so strong that it didn't need a subwoofer. Turns out they just faked it in order to make me want it right then and there. Buggers
 

lacktheknack

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When I worked in Best Buy at complaints, the most frustrating thing was that no customers believed me when I said "I don't actually know". I promise that not every salesman and clerk is out to get you. :(
 

Strazdas

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Elvis Starburst said:
Sexual Harassment Panda said:
I wish the market would get over the idea that all that matters is bass. I'm glad you gave your business to the guy who didn't treat you like an idiot who just wanted loud thumps.
That's what I don't get. I remember my reaction was initially "Wow, this thing covers every bit of range! Highs, mids, and lows" and he said they do quite well. Sounded almost too good to be true. But the bass was rather muffling on a few songs I tried. I think it was my first reaction that he wanted. The salesman wanted me to believe the speakers had the full range, hitting bass so strong that it didn't need a subwoofer. Turns out they just faked it in order to make me want it right then and there. Buggers
Firs thing i do testing audio is get one of the Imagine Dragons songs that have those massive 4 meter diameter drums. Bad speakers cant handle that and the bass starts spazing around very audibly. When you have a massive low frequency drum with fakely boosted bass you're going to have a bad day my friend. Also worth grabbing those "headphone build quality tests" that basically try thier best to shake the speaper in order to hear if there is anything loose there. Ive seen some speakers just give up and shut down because they couldnt handle the ultralow frequencies. Also worth testing highs to see if they dont turn into chakboard screech, because on some speakers they do.
 

Lufia Erim

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It depends. If you go to a specialst store then yes i expect employees to know their shit. But i don't really expect the average employee at say walmart or even Best buy to be able to tell me what sll those things are or what they do. I actually make it a point not to ask them at those kind of stores because most o the time they lie and make shit up. And who can blame them at the salary they make.

Hell i had an employee at gamestop try and sell me a disc protection on a MMO ( FF14:ARR). Where the only thing on the disc is a downloader for the game ( i just wanted the box).
 

laggyteabag

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Friend of mine was looking for a gaming PC a while back, and because he didn't really know what he was looking for, and he didn't consult me about it, he ends up going to a PC World store, asks one of the staff for a "gaming PC". He ends up spending a pretty penny for some 3rd Gen iSeries processor, with nothing but the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics that could barely run World of Warcraft. Needless to say, I was unhappy with him, and he was unhappy with his purchase.

Same goes for a girl I was working with. She wanted a new computer because she really wanted to play Planet Coaster, but then bought a computer without speaking to me about it, and ended up spending way more than she should have, on some pre-built All-in-one PC, with what can only be explained as Notebook specs. No Planet Coaster for her.
 

Nigh Invulnerable

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lacktheknack said:
When I worked in Best Buy at complaints, the most frustrating thing was that no customers believed me when I said "I don't actually know". I promise that not every salesman and clerk is out to get you. :(
I work in sales for a very large, and very despised, fiber/cable provider in the USA. I get loads of people going "So when does the price rape me? Don't I get the best deal with the triple bundle?" etc and I try to be clear 1. The price increases at the end of your promotional 1 or 2 year period, as clearly noted in your paperwork, email, etc that I'm sending you in quintuple. 2. No, some sales rep previously needed to meet a quota on some line of service and didn't even give you the options without the phone or security system because they're asshats and knew you'd only find out a year or two later, long after they'd moved on.

Dishonest reps make my job so much tougher some days.
 

Elvis Starburst

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Laggyteabag said:
Friend of mine was looking for a gaming PC a while back, and because he didn't really know what he was looking for, and he didn't consult me about it, he ends up going to a PC World store, asks one of the staff for a "gaming PC". He ends up spending a pretty penny for some 3rd Gen iSeries processor, with nothing but the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics that could barely run World of Warcraft. Needless to say, I was unhappy with him, and he was unhappy with his purchase.

Same goes for a girl I was working with. She wanted a new computer because she really wanted to play Planet Coaster, but then bought a computer without speaking to me about it, and ended up spending way more than she should have, on some pre-built All-in-one PC, with what can only be explained as Notebook specs. No Planet Coaster for her.
Did none of these places have a return policy of some kind? If they did, then did either of these people make use of it?