Sometimes you wonder what is happening to the High Street shops in Ilford, and why they seem to be closing. One clue I would like to give them is that the customer service is extremely poor, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Last week I popped in at several electronics retailers, to look for a computer. The shop, in one of those dreadful shopping parks, looked almost vacant from outside. The doors were closed, there seemed no sign of lights or anything. Then I saw the plate glass doors open, and I knew people were coming out of the shop.
I went in. There were a handful of customers, and just as many shop assistants. I had a look round. Impressive display of computers. I was looking for a bargain, on a Pay and Take Away, where I could pay the first instalment and take the computer home with me. I beckoned one of the assistants and asked him. "I'm looking for something to buy on a Pay and Take Away, so I can pay over six months. Could you tell me if you have any special offers at the moment?"
"One minute. I'll check with someone," the assistant said and walked away.
I stood there for ten minutes, then turned round to leave. If they can't be bothered, customers can't either. The assistant saw me, but he was busy on his mobile phone, animatedly talking with a friend. He could see me looking at him, and about to leave. He did not bother to offer any explanation, let alone an apology for keeping me waiting.
There are lots of shops offering similar prices and similar deals. It's amazing, even shocking, that with so much competition, shop assistants aren't bothered. Such folks are letting businesses run down, and then you wonder why there is a feeling of apathy and couldn't care less about. When people face poor customer service, naturally they too give up. There's something wrong with peoples' attitudes that is translating into poor business practices and a slow-down in the economic activity. That needs to be corrected, then I believe the economy will turn round.