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To think the customer service in WH Smiths is crap?

(96 Posts)

I went in WH Smiths today with DS who has autism to choose some board games and learning toys, we also bought books and magazines. We were in there nearly half an hour, my arms getting gradually fuller and fuller, no staff offered to help, asked if I needed anything, or asked if I'd like a basket/stuff putting near the till, etc. I spotted at least 4 shop floor members of staff milling around.

I went to the till with nearly £90 worth of stuff, waited in line for ages, then was told if I wanted bags I'd have to pay 10p per bag or "how was you intending on carrying them home?" - said with a don't care stare. I don't even care about having to pay for a bag for life it was more the attitude of the person on the till, almost like she wanted me to be arsey with her! Which I wasn't, I've worked in many customer service roles and wouldn't dream of being rude to anyone serving me in a shop/pub/café/restaurant.

I came away wondering why I didn't just buy them all cheaper on Amazon/ebay, and amazed they are still in business. hmm This was a LOT of money for me to spend, but even if I was buying a 20p newspaper a smile and friendly manner wouldn't have gone amiss.

aufaniae Sat 09-Feb-13 22:47:14

I hate the chocolate pushing thing too, and it's ridiculously overpriced. I avoid it if at all possible, although I do sometimes go in to buy a magazine for DS. Think I'll make more of an effort to use the corner shop instead, they're lovely.

And now you mention it, one of the guys in our local one is really grumpy.

It sounds from the replies like it's the luck of the draw, some people have nice staff and others not so much.

Yes to the pushing of sweets "on offer" too. Still more expensive than other shops even when on offer. hmm

MrsPoglesWood Sat 09-Feb-13 22:49:47

The last few times I've been in they've had some assistant urging you to use the self service till instead of the staffed ones and getting quite pissy when you choose not to use them. It's as if they don't realise that they are the equivalent of turkeys voting for Christmas. Am utterly baffled by it.

usualsuspect Sat 09-Feb-13 22:58:48

I would have used a basket in the first place if I knew I was going to buy a lot of stuff.

IrnBruChew Sat 09-Feb-13 22:59:09

Nice Awks! So I'm an idiot.?

Going by this thread alone "till point conversations" only annoy customers. Yes, maybe on a full shift 2 people at most will buy the sweets but its hardly a great sales technique given it pisses people off.

nikcname Sat 09-Feb-13 23:02:45

My local WHS is horrible. Tiny aisles, full of what I can only describe as shite!
As a teen was the greatest shop ever, books and stationary are my fave things.

Now it's cheaper on my kindle, books I buy from the supermarket for price or water stones for the coffee/experience/day out with DS and unusual books.

I actually went to a larger whs recently for revision guides and reading books. Nothing was suitable, went home and spend £80 on the Internet with next day delivery.

I went in intending to buy one or possibly two games . Baskets are at entrance, kids stuff right at other end of shop. I got carried away buying stuff! blush If I'd realised how much I'd have ended up with I'd have grabbed a basket but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

nancy75 Sat 09-Feb-13 23:09:12

Op you could have picked up your own basket, but, as a sales assistant is employed to assistant customers they should have offered you help without you having to ask, it is their job.

floweryblue Sat 09-Feb-13 23:10:09

Amazon or supermarket for books, since WHS decided to charge me extra for buying lots of stuff from them and wanting a bag to carry it all home in.

Never even look at M+S food for the same reason. Funnily enough you are allowed a free bag if you buy clothes, or a single pair of knickers.

TeamEdward Sat 09-Feb-13 23:10:44

I won't use Wmiths again - very overpriced, messy store, and the last time I was in there I was told off when using the self service machine! Got to the "If you are using your own bag, place it in the bagging area" stage, which I did, but because I had the temerity to use a heavyweight fabric bag instead of a flimsy plastic carrier the machine got all confused...

I haven't experienced bad customer service from any of their staff, personally, and I do shop there frequently. I read recently the current C.E.O brought the company back from the brink - no wonder really since she brought in self-scan machines thus reducing staff costs, opening more shops at train stations knowing there's huge footfall for most of the day, and cutting down their C.D and DVD range.

It's an unpleasant place to shop now with so much stock piled up everywhere, too much of everything. But along with the rest of the 'captive customers' at Euston or London Bridge or wherever, if I need a paper or magazine then I go there as I have little choice.

olgaga Sun 10-Feb-13 00:21:54

Not sure I understand why you went into a shop intending to buy stuff, carrying groceries and an overnight bag, and didn't bother picking up a basket yourself!

Sarahplane Sun 10-Feb-13 00:29:28

yanbu ours is appalling too. The staff are crap, it's difficult to navigate, stock all damaged and strewn all over the floor. I'm really surprised they've not gone bust. They seem to be trying their best to go out of business.

NatashaBee Sun 10-Feb-13 00:54:46

I'm surprised its even still going. A friend went in there and asked for stamps to put on cards - the staff told her to use funkypigeon instead.

Genasai Sun 10-Feb-13 01:01:23

I've honestly never had a problem wih the service. On my last visit a young member of staff was practicality falling over himself to be helpful.
OP I'm a little miffed as to why you didn't grab a basket on your way in (or go back) if you were buying...

I've avoided smiths for a while due to out just being so non competitive kn price, messy, grubby and generally awful.

Went in today and was even worse.

When did it go so downhill?

JeezyOrangePips Sun 10-Feb-13 08:08:25

To the poster that said about the £20 - it might be that it was claimed before it got to the book. When I worked in a shop anything found would be left at the till until it was cashed up at night, and then it would be entered in the lost property book if it wasn't claimed - mainly because there wasnt time, but a good proportion of stuff was claimed on the day so it saved work.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sun 10-Feb-13 08:18:23

you should try their internet shopping experience OMG

Everything arrives after a good few months weeks, damaged - in squashed boxes etc. And then they randomly cancel parts of the orde again months later as it wasn't in stock and still isn't, despite your having been told it was due in when you placed the order.

then taking stuff back tot he store where no one knows how to do an internet refund.

<head in hands>

It used to be a great shop. It's dire now.

likesnowflakesinanocean Sun 10-Feb-13 08:20:14

used to love whsmith unfortunately not anymore, dingy shops, overpriced and shopping online with them is hellish

Tee2072 Sun 10-Feb-13 08:26:06

Smiths is in trouble. They've closed shops, including ours here in Belfast.

They don't seem to care.

CrystalQueen Sun 10-Feb-13 08:31:03

I was in one yesterday and saw a Lego kit DD is saving up for. The RRP is £25. It was on sale for £40.

I was in WHSmiths once and some guy was trying to take a photo up a woman's skirt in the queue. shock

The bloke in front of me realised what was happening and informed the member of staff on the entertainment desk, who just shrugged and said "he does it all the time, not a lot I can do about it mate". The pervy guy had legged it by this point and I put down what I was about to buy and walked out in disgust.

Disgusting. I don't shop there any more.

SmilingMakesMyFaceAche Sun 10-Feb-13 08:34:56

I worked there as a teen in 1997 until I finished uni in 2001. We were drilled with the customer service message, always trying to help people, going out of our way for book orders etc. people used to specifically come in and ask for specific staff to help them with stuff, eg we all had our own specific customers IYSWIM. Nowadays, I rarely go in. Pervious posters are right, it's full of crap with pushiness at the till (although I must admit we were told to push offers too, but specific things like pre ordering titanic on VHS when that was released! smile). I only go in there to chat to old colleagues now, it's like a more expensive version of the works I think. It's gonna go soon I reckon.

ZillionChocolate Sun 10-Feb-13 08:52:13

I agree that it's rubbish now. Feels downmarket but without the prices to match.

They could rebrand using that slogan Zillion!

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