Friday night I took my father to buy a new computer. His old one bit the dust a little over a month ago and it was time to start fresh.
We went to an electronics store in Lexington, KY and selected one that was a good fit. Then we went to pay for it. That’s when this store filled with electronics disappointed because of their way of dealing with someone who wanted to write a check. (There was the other unimpressive moment when the sales clerk attempted to up-sell Dad into buying a touch screen desktop unit and the screen failed numerous times to respond to the clerk’s touch, but we’ll overlook that ineffective sales pitch since we weren’t interested anyway).
Dad had enough cash on him and could have paid that way. He could have used a credit card and then written a check to the credit card company. But he didn’t want to part with that much cash or go through the hassle of a subsequent bill, eventually still having to write a check when he could just take care of it there. However, when the sales clerk saw that he whipped out a checkbook, Dad was told “Just put the date on it and sign. We do the rest by putting it through here” (pointing to the register).
After numerous failures of trying to get their device to do what it needed to do with a check, a manager was called over. He wasn’t successful either. We were sent to the customer service desk because they thought that machine could do it. It finally did.
Life and our customer experience would have been much better for all concerned if they simply let my dad write a check, but they don’t do it that way any more. Their new, improved, automated, electronic means was more complicated, less friendly, prone to error, and in my opinion a step back both from the elegance of simplicity and a good customer experience. It leads me to leap year lesson #154 – Not all technological innovation is good.
Have you had any such times you can tell me about in a comment?