Why do you shop at Argos?
What matters to you?
Is it the sterling customer service?
The hand tooled exquisitely crafted customer service?
Or the cheap prices, no searching for goods and a very quick turnaround between entering the store and leaving it with your purchases? That’s what matters to me anyway.
I went into Argos on Monday and I can’t remember any staff in there, this is not a criticism. What I can remember is a big empty space, tables with catalogues on, a terminal on each so I could check the availability of everything, and quickly leaving the place with a shower hose in my hand. I went in for an antimacassar *, but nevertheless.
The above photo is of a great big TELL ME HOW MUCH OUR STAFF SMILE AT YOU machine. This machine is at the collection point, with the idea that once you’ve got your antimacassar or shower-hose, you’d press the buttons and tell the man how much unnecessary smiling and “How are you?“s you got before the Argos machine dispensed its shower-hose.
Argos is great. It is a great big dispenser like those things that stood outside shops selling bubble gum or cigarettes. Except it sells everything. What it doesn’t and needn’t sell, is customer service. The fact it exists and works, is good enough for me. But imagine the thinking that’s gone on behind that TELL ME HOW MUCH OUR STAFF SMILE AT YOU machine. It is bound to belch out performance reports every so often. Weekly guaranteed. But also I bet it can fart it out so Mr Argos can track down the least smiliest member of the Argos family.
There’s so many things Argos could look at to improve, but they seem to be trying to “pull the people lever”. When companies do this they are pulling the wrong lever!
The way people are and act is very fluid, it is rarely down to individual disposition, and very mainly contextual. The jury isn’t out on disposition-versus-contextual. It came back in and delivered its verdict a looong time ago. That’s science. Replicated studies, all over the world, showing how infinitely malleable humans are to their surroundings. Our minds are permeable to the system they are in.
Argos isn’t a system that has a huge human interaction element to it, not like looking after a frightened crime victim or a sick old lady. But even if it did this still would be the wrong method. Who says? Science!
But organisations haven’t caught up with science yet. So here’s a sweary man who says to them don’t pull the people lever.
*This is a lie. I did go in for some shower hose, but antimacassar is a much better word.