Consumer electronics must be a nightmare to retail - certainly not an area of business for the fainthearted. Not only are their so many ranges and options to chose between, such devices and widgets also tend to be quite sensitive to user use and sometimes even abuse. Other-times kit can fail to meet the needs of the consumer or be far too complex for the average user through no fault of the product, the brand or the retailer. Perhaps above all else, pricing must be the most challenging area to keep competitive, especially with so many online retailers in the market these days.
Conn's Cameras in Dublin (Ireland) have played a massive role in my videography business story from day one. I've long since been an advocate of supporting local businesses. However, in recent years I've refocused this aspiration to recognise that such support is actually a two way process. In the words of Mike Conn (one half of the brother's Conn who own the business) "Look after the customer and they'll look after you"!
In my personal experience, I always buy all my videography, audio and photography kit from the brother's Conn for one simple reason: The after sales service that they provide has been, in my experience, absolutely unparalleled over the past three years. Bob Conn, especially, has always been so incredibly generous with his time when helping me to identify the most appropriate kit to purchase for my needs at any given time.
Technology can and will go wrong. This happens but with Conns I've never been let down by down by such technology failings and this is what really makes them stand out in a busy crowd of retailers. I remember soon after I purchased my first DSLR dedicated for video use, it failed within a few weeks of fairly light use. Mike, recognising a production issue (it was actually the first type of it's kind in Ireland), immediately offered me a loaner unit (of much higher value as nothing equivalent existed at the time) until a replacement order could be delivered.
I really could not believe Mike's attitude and speedy action which absolutely saved me from potentially losing my first customer as I'd just recently been booked to film a project for them later that week! Today, I was back again with a small audio related technical issue, this time Bob (Mike's brother and audio wizard) was able to get me back up and running within minutes. It transpired, as I suspected, that the issue related to interference and so Bob shared some advice to set me up for best success in avoiding a repeat of the problem the next time I film in a similar environment.
This is the kind of care and service that is possible for a bricks and mortar retailer to provide. Despite the best process in the world, if you order goods online and they fail, even through no fault of your own, you will still likely be a minimum of two weeks (minus use of the product) while the matter gets resolved. This is by no means a sales other for Conns Cameras, however, in my experience the guys look after me so well that I felt the absolute minimum I can do is to keep giving them my business while also writing this reflective post!
Have you guys got a favourite bricks and mortar retailer? What makes their service stand out for you? Let me know your experiences either in the comments or directly here!