Friday, July 4, 2008

The last mile

Visited a small music store in Singapore . They had some amazing music playing which drew me to the store . Fluer - the sales associate in the store approached me and asked if she could help . During the course of the interaction she tried to understand my music preferences , located and played an eclectic range of music most of which I liked . Some of it I bought .  Will I go back to that store in a future visit ? Most certainly , yes .

As I walked out of the store I was happy with the whole experience . Heard an eclectic mix , bought albums I looked forward to listening to .

In retrospect I realized the stark contrast of this music buying experience at a small store visavis large format stores like Virgin , HMV , stores in India .  The larger stores tend to be impersonal (a phenomenon not restricted to music retailing ) The general idea of the retailer seems to be to put in the effort to source the products and put them out on display .  In many stores it’s quite a challenge to locate a sales associate and then to get relevant or meaningful service . It's easier to improvise on the merchandise range , displays , layout in the store . Plugging the last mile makes a significant difference – to the customer and to the business . It’s also the most challenging part for any business because meaningful , personalized , friendly service is not an outcome of automation or money or even number of people deployed in the store . It springs from the culture and the values (of the organization) which have to be consciously and carefully nurtured  . As they say in Ayurveda – you can’t treat a part without addressing the whole .

1 comment:


Some of the sales persons in music stores in India, I have encountered, seem to be having more knowledge than a music buff. But like you rightly pointed out, they lack the enthusiasm or are unconcerned about people's need. And then you end up buying nothing just because you are upset about the service...