A hoo-ha in Halfords

I don’t want much out of life these days, but a bit of good old fashioned customer service would not go amiss now and then.

We have just bought a car, nothing fancy, but it suits us. Unfortunately, the built in stereo doesn’t do what we want, so we wanted to change it. Last Saturday morning we visited Halfords in Crawley, West Sussex.  (Yes, I know! We should really have known better.)

We found a unit that we quite liked the look of, despite there being no one there to assist. After about ten minutes of waiting we went looking for someone to help. We were told that someone would be with us shortly. After another ten minutes we went looking again. Alex mentioned that we were looking to buy a car stereo and have it fitted, to be met by the first response of “It won’t be today”. Well, that wasn’t actually the question. The “assistant” who finally came over gave the distinct impression that we were a nuisance.

Anyway, we showed him the unit we were interested in and he went to the desk to log on to the computer. We just seemed to be getting somewhere when another member of the public came in and, rather rudely, demanded information about MoT tests. Even more rudely the “assistant” then proceeded to deal with his question. When I worked briefly in retail the response would have been “I will be with you in a moment, sir, when I have dealt with this customer”.

At this point I had rather had enough of Halfords, so we went and got a coffee instead. If Halfords doesn’t want my money that’s fine by me, we’ll go somewhere else.

We did! Alex phoned a local company that specialises in car audio. They were helpful from the start and installed the new unit on Thursday.

The payoff is that when I mentioned that I had tried and failed to buy one from Halfords the installer said I was their third customer this week to say that! I’ve now written to their CEO politely advising her that I’m unlikely to use her shops in future for anything more complicated than an air freshener. Doing a bit of simple extrapolation I’d say that customers just walking away could be costing them a quarter of a million a week in lost sales.

Oh dear, how sad, never mind!