Why don’t you answer the phone?
We get this question a lot. This was a controversial policy when we first introduced it, but we are standing by it. Here are ten good reasons why.
Reason 1 – The Final Straw
We made the decision to stop answering our store phone in 2017 when we discovered that some people were arriving at our store when there were line-ups and then calling the store from the parking lot in order to jump to the front of the line.
At this point we decided that fair is fair. Customers who take the time to come into our store deserve excellent service. They do not deserve to have impatient people with cell phones jumping in line ahead of them.
Reason 2 – Background Noise and Crappy Reception
People call us from cell phones with crappy reception and all kinds of background noise. So we can’t understand them. People call us from cell phones and refuse to hold the microphones near their mouths. So we can’t understand them. People call us with language/accent issues. So we can’t understand them.
Please forgive us for not being smart enough to understand every one of the world’s many and diverse accents when we are talking to somebody we don’t know on cell phone with crappy reception and a whole lot of background noise. When a customer is standing in front of us in the store where we can see facial expressions and body language, we can always figure things out. So our preference is to deal with customers in person. This is the best way to ensure to everybody, regardless of where in the world their accent is from, gets the best service possible.
Reason 3 – Lack of Knowledge
People call us asking questions when they really don’t have enough information to ask the right question. Example: people will call us from Sport Chek asking us if we sell “the blue Babolat tennis racquet.” We sell lots of blue Babolat tennis racquets. Which model? Which year? Which length? Which weight? Graphite or Fused Graphite? We need more information than customers are usually able to give us over the phone. Trying to help somebody over the phone who does not have enough knowledge to ask the right the questions is not helpful to them. Customers who want technical advice like this, really need to come into our store and talk to an expert face to face. If they aren’t willing to do that, then we can’t give them good service.
Reason 4 – Price Checks
Our prices are on our website. They can be accessed 24/7. There is no need to call us for price checks.
Reason 5 – Inventory Checks
Some customers call us to find out if we have something specific in stock in store. Today. Right now.
We used to answer these questions. Then the customer would take a week (or more) to come into the store, by which time the thing they were looking for was gone. Or the color they wanted was gone. Or they would not come in at all. Or they would come in to find out that they asked the wrong questions about the wrong thing and would then blame it on our staff. They only way to prevent these issues is to conduct business in-store in person. That is the best way to ensure the best service.
Here’s a tip. If you want to know we have something in-store, come into the store and ask us. If you don’t want to waste a trip on something we might not have, order it online and choose SHIP TO STORE. We will notify you when it gets here.
Reason 6 – The Amazon Problem
Another major reason we stopped offering telephone service is the number of times a day that people would call our experts, keep them on the phone for 30 minutes, grill them about every detail, and then flat out tell us that they were buying the thing from Amazon. Really, dude? GFY. If you want to know about products being sold on Amazon, call Amazon. If you want customer service from us, visit an expert in-store.
Reason 7 – No Pen
Customers would call us with a long list of questions. We would say: “OK. Do you have a pen to write this down?” The response would be: “Oh. I’m sorry. I’m in my car on my way to Banff right now. Can you just send me an email?” … Click.
Reason 8 – The Secretary
This one is major waste of everybody’s time. The boss tells the secretary to call us to order a $300 racquet. The secretary — who really has no idea what she is ordering — relays the order to us by phone. We fill the order and customize the racquet based on the secretary’s words. Then we ship the order to the boss who immediately says the order is wrong. Of course, the secretary insists that she did everything right and we are to blame. Solution: bosses (or their secretaries) can place orders online. No need for phone service in this instance.
Reason 9 – Mr. Last Minute
The phone rings.
Voice: “Do you have time to string a racquet today?”
Staff: “Possibly. What kind of racquet?”
Voice: “It’s a Head racquet.”
Staff: “Is it for tennis, squash, badminton, or racquetball?”
Staff: “OK. I would have to see the racquet before I can make any promises, but we MAY be able to string it today.”
Voice: “I need it back today.”
Staff: “OK. There are 19 racquets ahead of you right now. So if you want to jump to the front of the line ahead of all of those other customers you can do it, but you have to pay for one-hour rush stringing.”
Voice: “How much is it?”
Staff: “Rush stringing is $XX.00 plus the price of the string.”
Voice: “What? That’s outrageous. I can get it done at this other place for less.”
Staff: “Cool. Is there anything else I can help you with.”
Voice: “I’m giving you a one-star review.”
Staff: “I’m sure you would give us zero stars, if you could.”
Reason 10 – The 30-Minute Call Problem
When a customer with a problem comes into our store in person, we can usually solve it in a few minutes. When we try to solve the same problem over the phone, it invariably takes 30 minutes. So please visit us in-store in person where we can help you solve your problems in a fraction of the time it takes to solve them over the phone.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that we want to offer our customers good service. We can’t do that over the phone. So please make an appointment and visit us in person.