Friday, November 28, 2008

Word-of-mouth advertising..

We live in a 'modern age', so I'm being told. But our thinking is not necessarily advanced it seems, when it comes to age-old values such as customer relations!

I value word of mouth. I wish more companies did!

Case in point - IMPULSE Solar Panels.

I took a cold call this week from IMPULSE who were promoting solar panels and a deal to become a 'display home' for a discounted solar installation package. I, for once, showed some interest. Their speil included the phrase "would I be willing to pass on favourable comments to my friends and colleagues about IMPULSE if I was impressed by their service". I was indeed willing to do this, as I value word of mouth as an effective and often incredibly persuasive means of advertising. I am all too willing to help out those who value their clients and giving them quality service.

So after arranging a time, during my day off, they came to give me a quote and some information about this discount deal. Their speil on the phone had also included the phrase "this will not be a hard sell". I also appreciate companies who do not force their product on potential customers, but respect their customers enough to let the product sell itself.

So at 1pm today, after arranging my time around this appointment, the salesman from IMPULSE arrived. He chatted about the neighbourhood, enquiring about the neighbours and what the percentage rental vs buyer was like in the area.....'hmmm' thought I. He then asked where my husband was - to which I replied truthfully, that he couldn't come as he was too busy. At this point, having not even given me any information he shut his books and said he couldn't proceed as it was 'company policy' for him to talk with both husband and wife. I stared incredulously at him! Excuse me! What about the 'quote' of how many solar panels I would potentially need etc???

He then proceeded to talk AT me about how information would not be passed back accurately to my husband about what IMPULSE had to offer and that my husband would OBVIOUSELY have questions to ask. I then stated, truthfully, that I would have more knowledge about Solar electricity than my husband and that I was quite capable of passing back information to my husband. I was happy to take all their brochures and pass back all quotes to my husband for our joint decision.

The salesman then told me they had NO BROCHURES!???? What company has no brochures about an area of their business?!

He said they had only a select number of properties that could take advantage of their 'discounted' display home offer so "usually customers made a decision yes or no on the spot". Oh, now the alarm bells went off! This was a hard sell through and through!!! The salesman however said "Oh if that's how YOU want to see it - you do have the option of saying yes or no". Yes or No ON THE SPOT that is!

I stated as such to the salesman! By no means would I or my husband be making a snap decision ON THE SPOT regardless of whether it was just me talking with him or us both together. I consider it an affront that he thought I was incabable of passing on information to my husband and that he considered me less worthy than my husband of asking pertinent questions about solar electricity.
Aside from the fact that I was specifically told on the phone that this was;
1) NOT a hard sell
2) no mention was made of a 'company policy' to only talk to husband and wife together
3) no mention was made of a limited time frame in which to make a decision about this 'discount deal' - ie. ON THE SPOT!

I am still very angry at this outrageous, outdated, hard-sell tactic and the prehistoric attitude of the salesman. I can't believe they would think, in this 'modern age' that alienating customers would somehow guarantee a sale?!

Plus we are not talking about a small amount of money here either!

As my mother said later, I could have told him to leave then. But it was the principle of the matter. Another age-old value I consider important. I was promised a quote for solar paneling and that was what I had set aside time to obtain. I was very annoyed that they would not even do what they said they would come to do - and that was look at our situation and determine how many solar panels would be needed. Regardless of whether we were buying into this 'discount deal' they surely would want to sell their product???? Does this not seem a logical sales tactic?

But no, the salesman would not give a quote. However, he rang his manager and I then talked with him and the manager conceeded that I could be given a quote. Conceeded to a quote? Again, am I totally behind the times? Do companies not usually WANT to sell their product?!

After scribbling figures on a rough pad of paper. The salesman told me that they sold "top of the range panels which had numerous small panels interconnected which was more efficient than a solid single panel". Naturally interested in this sweeping statement and its basis, I enquired why this was so much more efficient. He could not answer! Indeed he even said "I don't know why. I was just told they were more efficient than the single panels". Oh my goodness!!!!!!!!! First rule of sales - KNOW YOUR PRODUCT!

So all in all - I was very dissapointed at the underhand, shoddy tactics of IMPULSE and their sexist, chauvanistic attitude. I am not a fan of policitical correctness on the whole, but my dealings with IMPULSE could be described as nothing short of sexist and patronising.

For a company that wants word-of-mouth promotion so badly... Then I am happy to oblige!

I advise all - stay well clear of IMPULSE!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sequins and Shenanigans

My goodness I have been slack!

I know it seems unbelievable, but I have actually been able to prise myself away from the computer of late (read addicted to Facebook now instead). So alas, my blogging has suffered as a result. Therefore I am well aware that my few loyal readers may have given up on the Pimpernel and her supply of ink!

Refilled I continue with:

1) J and A'isms:

Oh I wish I remembered them all ;-)

A: rushing into the room in a loud indignant manner - "I don't belieeeeeve it!"
J: turning away from the computer screen (shock horror) - "What?! What is it?!"
A: holding aloft newly acquired cough syrup - "The measuring cup off the cough liquid starts at 25ml! I specifically went for the one cough mixture that had a measure for the amount I needed to take". Letting the breverity of this statment sink in - "The dose says 5ml! And the b"%$y measuring cup starts at 25ml!!!"
J: Obviously speechless at this cunning plot by the manufacturers, and waiting to see what was to follow from this DASTEDLY set back to my man-cough-suffering husband's recovery.
A: "I mean, if it had started at 15ml then at least it would have been closer to 5ml and I could have taken a shot at it."
J: thoughtful "hmmm" (I may have been distracted by someone's status update on Facebook)
A: silence
J: attention now piqued by the lack of ranting and raving from indignant man-cold suffering husband
A: "Ah, I see......"
J: "yes?"
A: "it's actually 2.5ml, not 25ml"......sheepishly eyeing off measuring cup and slinking out of room
J: satisfied that the danger had passed and settling herself back infront of her Facebook profile for the evening. "Jen is..bemused at her husband's antics - again!".

2) Plagarised posts (part A):

'Why do you blog?'
- this comes from a recent post by Min who outlined her reasons and emotions behind the desire to blog.

Perhaps - I blog, therefore I am. Which means I haven't blogged, therefore I am not?!....hmmm.

Actually I think it's a stock standard reason of wanting to have an outlet for all these tit-bits of life you want to share with others but seem too trivial to actually call someone and tell them about. As we don't have children, it's not about updating relatives with news of what our mob has been up to but rather a creative outlet for myself. I find I read so little of late that I feel my vocabulary slipping. Take normal conversations - I forget words. Common words! Like 'sequin' (aka: that circular shiny thing - as I described it to my boss while gesturing hopelessly around the room, as if that would somehow pluck the word from a corner in which it was hiding). So blogging is a form of mental exercise for me, allowing me to dabble in creative writing, which I love so much, while hopefully resoldering a few frayed neural connections!

Okay, so soldering torch aside, it's good to be back posting!

I have so much to tell you, but will save it. I know others have been frantically posting all November, so my excuse is that I'll let you all catch your breaths before I too join the fray again!