business news in context, analysis with attitude

This is a pretty slow news week, so it seemed like a good time to share an email that we received from a member of the MNB community, who wrote us to illustrate the importance of good employees:

“I was in a Verizon Wireless store yesterday near Grand Central terminal (in NYC). While the Customer Svc and Tech Support lines were pretty heavy, the selling floor was relatively empty. I needed to replace the wireless headset for my phone so I asked for some help from one of the salesmen. I was looking at 2 earpieces in particular (same brand, different models) and I wanted him to explain the attributes of each and justify the $10 price difference. A reasonable request... we're not talking computers... we're talking $20-30 earpieces!

“Well, he couldn't... instead he walked me over to a sign that had all of the differences listed out. So I asked for his opinion on it and he didn't know what to say... it was like I had asked him who the 4th President of the United States was. He then went on to explain to me that they were like running shoes... one may cost more than another pair... but they're still running shoes... you can still run in them. BRILLIANT!!!! (and I swear I gave him no hint that I was a runner... it was just an unfortunate analogy on several levels)

“I asked if they had a floor model that I could test out on my phone to see if there was any difference and he said that I would have to talk to customer service. Then he tried the running shoe analogy again and I went over to Customer Service... where they were happy to open up a headset for me to try out and make a few calls on. And I bought the one I wanted.”

That store was lucky to keep this customer…because we would’ve walked out and gone someplace else.

The thing is, if this customer had left…the store never would have known. Incidents like these happen every day, and retailers never even know about the lost business and goodwill.

And, by the way…the 4th president of the US was James Madison.

On Tuesday, we reported that Wal-Mart agreed to pay $220,000 to settle a complaint that it discriminated against a job applicant that was pregnant. In our commentary, we asked if the managers who were going against company policy by requiring unpaid overtime work by employees are the same ones who wouldn’t hire back the pregnant woman?

To which one MNB user replied:

“That's hitting below the umbilical cord!”

KC's View: