Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When Service Was King

There’s been a disconnect when it comes to getting a new TV: everyone’s forgotten about the days when service was King. By that we mean that going into a store to buy a new TV, be it a Sony HDTV, LG 4K, a Curved Samsung, etc. wasn’t just about pointing to the model wanted, paying and leaving. The “good old days” were really that, because the store had more than just knowledgeable sale people. The store had a whole support system in place that walked in and out with the customer. This type of “support” is now woefully lacking, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored and assumed to be dead. Here’s the three areas of support that any customer of a new TV should demand from the store they are frequenting and in which they plan to leave their hard-earned dollars.

What About the Old TV?

Who hasn’t seen a TV show that didn’t have an old TV parked outside an apartment, or in a dump or falling to pieces in the gutter (anyone remember Max Headroom’s mounds of TV sets lying in heaps)? Everyone knows the word “recycling,” but when it comes to actually disposing of one’s old TV (whether working or not), suddenly it gets awfully quite. The store should have “support” in place that will take care of the customer’s old TV (or other electronics too if possible). And while you want to be “green” and all, it wouldn’t hurt if it was set up so that you, the customer, weren’t the one paying for the recycling.

What About Getting the New TV Home?

TVs are getting bigger all the time, with the prices astoundingly going down even as the picture gets larger — a top-of-the-line 2015 Sony 60” 1080p Internet LED HDTV for example costs pennies it seems when compared to what a much smaller display cost just 5 years ago. Now just because there’s an Internet and buying online can result in low-cost shipping, who can honestly say it makes sense to buy a new TV without actually seeing what the picture looks like? That means going into a store and seeing it for oneself before committing to what becomes, for many, a new best friend.
But another change that has come along is that the cars being driven are getting smaller which makes it pretty difficult, if not impossible to bring that new TV home — no tossing it into the backseat of a compact. So shouldn’t the store realize and take this into account and have a system in place to deliver that TV to the customer who was willing to come into the store? That kind of thinking used to be in place long before the words “brick and mortar” came into the vocabulary.

What About Setting Up That New TV?

Setting up a new TV used to be easy — after all,  how much space did a Zenith 19” color TV take up or….to be more a bit more modern, the base of a 42” Plasma?  But with large TVs weighing so little (compared to the old tube models, almost nothing) it’s less about sticking them on some furniture and more about finding a space on the wall. That’s not as easy as it sounds — it’s not like hanging a picture frame with a hammer and some nails — so many will end up using something more suitable for putting pizza boxes on than a TV. It sure would be helpful if the store managed that for the customer too, and didn’t take a big bite out of whatever was left of the TV’s budget. And while we’re hoping, it would be really, really helpful if the store had contacts in place with professional installers who could do, you know….a professional installation if one was needed. For most people, finding one of these guys is pretty hard nowadays.

Buying a new TV these days seems to require taking charge of everything while all the store has to do is hand over the box. So it’s up to the customer to seek out those stores that provide more than just a roof to keep the new TVs box from getting wet till it’s bought. Why can’t today be just as good as the “good old days” when it comes to getting service that goes beyond the bare necessities? Maybe it can be. But you’ll need to look.


Post a Comment