4Posted by Robert-Jan Broer on Jan 11, 2009
Steltman Watches is one of the most famous watch stores in The Hague (The Netherlands). Famous for their impressive list of brands which they represent, like Lange & Soehne, Patek Philippe, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Blancpain, Officine Panerai and more. But also famous for their lack of customer friendliness. My watch friend Frank (from the superb monochrome.nl blog) visited Steltman Watches last saturday, and it is unbelievable what kind of attitude this salesclerk allowed himself to express. I even think this guy is the owner of the store, so complaining to the management probably won’t help. Luckily, we have forums and blogs to at least prepare people on what they can expect when visiting stores with this kind of ‘service’.
Please visit Monochrome to read the full story as a nice example on how to NOT treat a potential customer, but at least I want to quote some of it here at Fratello:
The core of the story is this:
“The salesman was Andrew Brom, the son of the owner of Steltman Watches. He told me he had seen me in the shop before and asked if i had bought a watch there before. I said I didn’t. Than he asked me if he should invest his time in me, since I had never bought a watch there?.”
Maybe it looks a bit dull/lame to post these kind of experiences, but I happen to know this store and its way of treating customers (since I reside near The Hague) and it is a very recognizable story. So, I hear you think, Steltman may have a point.. someone who visited the store a few times (but to a maximum of 2 times a year, as Frank wrote) and never bought anything. However, that’s something you need to accept as a storeowner. Anyway, in one of the comments to Frank’s blogpost, Edwin H. responded with a similar experience. I will quote some text from his repsonse too, but I suggest you read it all over at Monochrome:
“I was wearing my Datograph during this visit and Mr. Brom was aware of that (as I had the Datograph laying in front of me on the countertop for everyone to see he already made a remark as to which watch I was wearing) and I’m 99.9% positive that Mr. Brom knew I owned 3 Lange & Sohne watches at that time already.
Well here I was standing next to the counter holding the rose gold Lange-1 in my hands and telling the salesclerk how much I admired that piece. Mr. Brom walked by and heard me say something about the Lange and he replied ‘Well Mr. H., don’t you think it is time that we [Steltman Watches] are going to benefit from your love for Lange Uhren?’ I shook my head in disbelieve and he continued with ‘you have visited us 6 times now and never ever purchased something from us?’.”
I do not want to curse on this blog, but WTF? What kind of books did he read? Let me be so free to offer a few solutions for this problem (because there obviously is one). My first solution is quite simple, just type in www.amazon.com in your favorite webbrowser (or click the hyperlink for that matter) and select the ‘Killer Customer Care’ book. For only 16,95 USD you can make a big difference for your customers.
My other suggestion is a bit more expensive, but I strongly believe in ‘Ubung macht den Meister’ which is a German saying which I will freely translate in “Mastering by doing” or “Mastering by practicing”. Therefore, I suggest that the sales guy takes a course in becoming customer friendly. I found this training over at Infopeople.org. Go there, and select the course “Customer-Friendly Is More Than an Attitude“.
I wonder however, if this isn’t a bit too advanced, reading the introduction page. It mentions that being customer-friendly requires more than a smile and a pleasant manner. The latter seems to be regarded as one of the basics, so probably a tailor made ‘fixing the basics’-course might be required before enrolling into this course. Perhaps that the brands that they sell can offer such a training, providing their own Mr.Miyagi kind of tutor, to fix the whole thing, because I assume that brands like Patek Philippe, Lange & Soehne and Blancpain expects the best from their dealers.
Dutch/Belgian readers who might want to read some more about the Steltman experience, can click here. This Dutch forum has enough examples since 2006.