We want to buy a senior, computer-novice (Mumzie) something for emailing, sharing digital photographs, writing the Women Insitute meeting minutes and looking at her family on Facebook.
What’s our shopping experience going to be like?
To prepare I did some online searches. Would I be able to sit with mum using my surface, look through and decide between different available computers. No. The choice was overwhelming, the marketing was invariably lists of product features and Spec’s which would mean nothing to mum. There was a lot of reading required, small fonts, technical reviews. It was tedious for me and I could follow what they were writing about.
There was no way mum could choose a computer on the internet, even with me navigating and advising here.
Specialist technical shop?
I wandered into PC World (Currys) to check out what the experience would be like for mum. I wandered around the laptop displays, looked at the labels for each laptop. It wasn’t easy to choose between them even when you know a little bit about processors. A customer service person approached me and directed me towards a Surface Pro telling me how good it was. I started asking him questions and he not only didn’t know the answers he gave me the wrong answers e.g. you can’t buy a Surface Pro without a keyboard attached (which I’d done, so you can!). He was rude and condescending, he started arguments with me and didn’t let me draw them to a close. It was so frustrating that I ended up just walking off, there was no other way to get out of the conversation because he wouldn’t let it close and he wasn’t being helpful.
The company lost a potential sale because of his attitude. No way was I taking mumzie into this ignorant geeky tat-palace.
Shop specialising in service?
John Lewis’s have a department that includes computers, cameras and peripherals. The layout was similar to PC World, the staff were more stylishly dressed and so much more polite. They listened to me, they found out that I was looking for a computer for my mother. They answered my questions or said when they didn’t know and offered to find out for me. Thank you!
The store has a café with a decent menu, the store sells furniture and clothes, and kitchen stuff. Plenty of fun to be had here above and beyond the computer buying experience. A really good context. Hooray.
Mum’s coming to John Lewis with me for a friendly, well rounded, comfortable and possibly even fun computer shopping experience…