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Thread: Showrooming...

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    TC
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    Showrooming...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    [rant]Hi guys,

    This seems to be a phenomenon which is sadly is becoming more common in Australia.

    In the last months, there have been multiple occasions where a prospective purchaser (be they member or not) finds his/her way to us. Substantial time on is spent on the phone in a full on consult comparing pros and cons to assist the client to make the right decision. Frequently there are long follow up calls.

    Potential client then calls to say s/he's decided to purchase elsewhere for whatever reason- so the deal's off- but could we just assist with these other questions which the chosen supplier can't answer?

    I see a day where we take card details and then charge for advice at our professional consulting rates. Should a purchase be made, the consultancy fee is refunded in full.

    I would be really sad if this ultimately has to happen, but surely fair's fair?

    I guess that sometimes we might empathise by swapping chairs... [/rant]

    Must be time for a nice red.....

    Chris
    Last edited by TC; 18th September 2013 at 05:25 PM. Reason: typo
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    People forget the value of expertise and service. It's short-sighted. Certainly there are items that I will purchase for the cheapest price possible (I don't need advice and I don't need ongoing service), but for lots of items I need help. I'm happy to pay, because I'm likely, in the future, to need help again. If the person with expertise couldn't survive from a business perspective they won't be there to help in the future.

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    Senior Member summercrema's Avatar
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    Sounds good to me, a fee or some sort is fair, really can't do it for free except it is really a small thing . They can google the solution if they don't want to pay.

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    Junior Member Breno's Avatar
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    The very reason I haven't given you a call yet Chris. I'm ready to purchase now but would love to see the machines in the flesh before talking turkey. I must say your Alex offer has made me google many pictures to see if it changes my mind on the aesthetics.

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    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    What people often mean (in my experience at least, obviously it's not as viable with coffee machines) is "I used your overheads then bought it from someone with none so I didn't have to pay for those overheads". Those people are scum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    [rant]Potential client then calls to say s/he's decided to purchase elsewhere for whatever reason- so the deal's off- but could we just assist with these other questions which the chosen supplier can't answer?I see a day where we take card details and then charge for advice at our professional consulting rates. Should a purchase be made, the consultancy fee is refunded in full.
    Honestly I'm wondering if that's what it's going to come to in the end. I don't think people will be happy about it but when they run out of people doing free advice/testing they won't have a choice and unfortunately it not y'alls fault, as you say it's shortsighted consumers.

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Hmmmm……. that's poor form, alright.

    A nice bottle of red would at least show some appreciation of your expertise and valuable time.

    Whoever it was should cough up.

    Maybe rig up a taxi meter on the phone………. "flag fall in 3…….2……..1" :-D
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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    The very reason that a number of ski gear retailers charge a fitting fee on ski boots (fully refundable on purchase). Too many customers who had little or no intention of making an in store purchase happy to use that store to reduce the risk of their online buys.

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    Time to get a 1900 number?

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    Hi Chris,

    I am not a business person (lowly it professional), but I say do it. I may take you up on your service even (I'm in perth so not likely going to pop into your shop anytime soon).

    I completely understand a quality business cannot afford to lose time to these non-customers, and potentially this is how retail can educate shoppers about the value of expertise. Which they get for free by shopping with a quality business.

    I like to research lots before making such a 'want' purchase, helps delay the expense :-). One of these days i will upgrade from the Silvia.

    Always a newer and better machine coming, that's my problem :-)

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    Happening in the cycling industry, especially where shoes or road bikes are involved. A service/fitting fee is charged and taken of the purchase price if you follow through with the sale.

    To many people coming in taking up an hour of your staffs time, then it's thank you and of they go with their perfect size information to purchase from the big online retailers like wiggle etc.

    Think we will see a growing trend towards $ for information in many retail sectors.

    Chester

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    Personally I classify myself as an informed purchaser. That being someone that takes full advantage of all information at my disposal.

    Generally speaking one can find items cheaper online or by shopping around.

    However I do take expertise into the equation.

    What I'm saying is that if I'm interested in a product, and I find a showroom/shop that assists and provides the information I need honestly I am more than happy to pay the premium.
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    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    I often ask around if I am not expert in the thing I want, but a Myers guy taught me a good lesson a long time back. I was looking for a fridge and went into Myers to see what was available and what it would cost me. He was a decent bloke and answered cheerfully so when he asked me if I was in the market NOW, I told him I had come to Myers to get a benchmark and I'd probably buy somewhere else. He asked what it would take for me to buy there and I ended up getting exactly what I wanted for about $100 off the ticket, which was about a 25% reduction.

    Later I found I could've got it online for $10 more plus delivery.

    Recently I bought the missus a tablet - went into the local JB Hifi and had a look at the one we were thinking of. I had a couple of questions so called a staff over. When he found out we were looking at buying from Kogan he asked for what price and sold us the tablet at $1 under Kogan. His quote? "We like to beat Kogan"

    So I have no problem asking questions in the showroom, but almost always I will give the person in front of me a chance at the sale - they know their margins and will often at least try to match the cut-price types - for me it is the trying that counts. I'd rather pay my local guy if I can... in other words if it isn't going to cost me a lot more. The guy with the shop is more likely to be there if I have issues and his money is more likely to go back into my community.

    Mind you if it is going to cost me double... I'm not well enough off to justify that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    I often ask around if I am not expert in the thing I want, but a Myers guy taught me a good lesson a long time back. I was looking for a fridge and went into Myers to see what was available and what it would cost me. He was a decent bloke and answered cheerfully so when he asked me if I was in the market NOW, I told him I had come to Myers to get a benchmark and I'd probably buy somewhere else. He asked what it would take for me to buy there and I ended up getting exactly what I wanted for about $100 off the ticket, which was about a 25% reduction.

    Later I found I could've got it online for $10 more plus delivery.

    Recently I bought the missus a tablet - went into the local JB Hifi and had a look at the one we were thinking of. I had a couple of questions so called a staff over. When he found out we were looking at buying from Kogan he asked for what price and sold us the tablet at $1 under Kogan. His quote? "We like to beat Kogan"

    So I have no problem asking questions in the showroom, but almost always I will give the person in front of me a chance at the sale - they know their margins and will often at least try to match the cut-price types - for me it is the trying that counts. I'd rather pay my local guy if I can... in other words if it isn't going to cost me a lot more. The guy with the shop is more likely to be there if I have issues and his money is more likely to go back into my community.

    Mind you if it is going to cost me double... I'm not well enough off to justify that.

    This plan serves very well in establishments like the big electronics stores.

    However the OP is from a specialist coffee store, and while I am sure that they can/do reduce prices for customers there is merit it the fact that most of the machines they carry are not "widely" available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ggoosen View Post
    This plan serves very well in establishments like the big electronics stores.

    However the OP is from a specialist coffee store, and while I am sure that they can/do reduce prices for customers there is merit it the fact that most of the machines they carry are not "widely" available.
    Indeed, if someone came to me asking to match a Kogan price I'd suggest they buy from Kogan, and just pay me for support and service after the fact. :P

    The problem certainly isn't unique to coffee equipment sales, as we see it in both fashion and technology here. Tech is particularly difficult due to restrictive trade practices employed by the various distributors in Australia (exclusive rights of sale, deliberately restricting supply, offering "cost" prices well above MSRP).

    When it comes down to it though, you can usually pick the tyre-kickers early: push the service/support angle as opposed to actually selling a specific product or making any specific recommendations. If they walk away then they weren't really interested in buying from you anyway. :P

    It is, however, annoying to know that your knowledge isn't valued enough to remunerate.

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    You're right ggoosen for smaller providers, but in a specialty store I'd be MORE likely to buy from the guy in front of me. Specialty shops have a corner on the market in one or another sense. If they didn't, they wouldn't be 'specialty' and I'd have a larger range to choose from. As I said above, it is the trying that counts with me. If the specialty guy at least tries to keep the business I will buy, even if he can't match Kogan - he has expenses that Kogan just doesn't and I can always walk back in and ask or bitch to a human.

    To me it's about giving them a chance to get the business. As a computer support person I don't mind giving basic info to help, even if I don't get the job. But I'd want the opportunity to put in for it rather than have my brains picked because the guy they are going to get is incompetent but cheap.

    I'm as much about bargains as the next guy but to me there is a cost to buying cheap no matter what. The cost is often service, but almost always community. It varies per item but I'd guess I'm prepared to pay somewhere between 10% and 20% more for items just to support my community. And if it is local producer versus Corporation, probably considerably more than that - not a fan of Corps.

    Mind you, it goes both ways. Once upon a time in Lakes Entrance, the locals got normal prices all year round. But then the shop owners started charging locals the tourist prices and would leave the prices high even once the tourists left. It was cheaper by a LOT to drive to Bairnsdale and do a big shop than to wander down the street and buy local.

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    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    I hate the idea of purchasing on the net rather than locally from a 'bricks & mortar' outfit but I have found over the years that the local 'bricks & mortar' does not offer me any incentive.
    After sales service and support is often non-existent. Any problems or defects and the item goes off to Sydney or Melbourne. In terms of advice, I get better solutions myself based on research and specialist Forums.
    Case: Interested in buying a quality DSLR camera. Kogan is about $600 cheaper on a $2000. item than the locals. Why would I buy local? What do I get for the extra $600.?
    In relation to coffee machines, it is probably a bit different for the city dwellers who can access a competent local retailer and develop a worthwhile relationship that will last a long time.
    I think certain kinds of specialist retailers should definitely look at how they can charge for advice and expertise. I would be happy to pay for this kind of support if I choose to buy from elsewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    ICase: Interested in buying a quality DSLR camera. Kogan is about $600 cheaper on a $2000. item than the locals. Why would I buy local? What do I get for the extra $600.?

    Completely OT, but make sure the DSLR is not grey import, the Nikons/Canon service center does not uphold warranty for non aus stock

    A good example though of a store's initiative to bring buyers in. Our local photography shop gives free Intro to DSLR courses to anyone tha purchases a DSLR body from them.

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    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fruity View Post
    Indeed, if someone came to me asking to match a Kogan price I'd suggest they buy from Kogan, and just pay me for support and service after the fact. :P

    The problem certainly isn't unique to coffee equipment sales, as we see it in both fashion and technology here. Tech is particularly difficult due to restrictive trade practices employed by the various distributors in Australia (exclusive rights of sale, deliberately restricting supply, offering "cost" prices well above MSRP).
    Tech's actually an easy one, because it's easy to select a product based on reviews and specs without ever seeing your options first-hand.

    With things like clothes, motorcycle gear and to a certain extent coffee machines, the fit and ergonomics make a large difference and the value of having a proper look-see (and expert advice) is more valuable.

    If you need help with your purchase or are after a "solution" you should be buying from the store that you get it from (if they're providing any kind of tailored advice/consultation). If you're happy doing your own messing around with research and potential problems then the service isn't worth anything to you so I wouldn't pay for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Tech's actually an easy one, because it's easy to select a product based on reviews and specs without ever seeing your options first-hand.

    With things like clothes, motorcycle gear and to a certain extent coffee machines, the fit and ergonomics make a large difference and the value of having a proper look-see (and expert advice) is more valuable.

    If you need help with your purchase or are after a "solution" you should be buying from the store that you get it from (if they're providing any kind of tailored advice/consultation). If you're happy doing your own messing around with research and potential problems then the service isn't worth anything to you so I wouldn't pay for it.
    Well that's partially true: tech is easy if you understand the tech. But then you probably won't need advice anyway. Or you just buy Apple and be done with it. ;-)

    (He says typing away on an iPhone)
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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Tech's actually an easy one, because it's easy to select a product based on reviews and specs without ever seeing your options first-hand.

    With things like clothes, motorcycle gear and to a certain extent coffee machines, the fit and ergonomics make a large difference and the value of having a proper look-see (and expert advice) is more valuable.

    If you need help with your purchase or are after a "solution" you should be buying from the store that you get it from (if they're providing any kind of tailored advice/consultation). If you're happy doing your own messing around with research and potential problems then the service isn't worth anything to you so I wouldn't pay for it.
    Yeh, I have no problem buying non-mains powered electronics (e.g. digital camera) from internet sources (would prefer a locally based one), and I expect nothing in terms of after-sales service....it's as much due to the fact that I don't enjoy the shopping process. For AV equipment / white goods, I get prices on line and head to HN or similar and ask how close they can get to those. Happy to pay a bit more to buy local....and in my experience the local HN bloke has beaten the best (local) internet price on AV gear. I take up about 5 seconds of their time, and they either have a sale or they don't. On the other hand, another local franchise based retailer has twice treated me quite rudely when I'd explained that I wasn't sure if I was going to make a purchase on that very day (I did....just up the road....and would have been happy to pay a bit more to avoid rewarding the other cretin).

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    Senior Member Pavoniboy's Avatar
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    Agree it is very poor form to use a small, local operator's time and expertise in choosing, and then buying online or anywhere else.

    However I had an experience last year that was gobsmacking. Went into a local small shoe shop that generally stocks better quality shoes to look for some business shoes. They had signs up everywhere saying that if you are here to find out your size with an intention of buying online, then rack off. I agreed with the sentiment. But then after trying on a pair and finding they were a tad too small, and they didn't have any larger sizes in stock, I told the owner that this is the only pair I am keen on and if she could just order in a size bigger I will buy them. I even offered to pay right there and then as proof I wasn't there to waste her time. She replied, no that's more a shoe we sell in winter so I won't be ordering more until winter (many months away). I stated but you can sell a pair right now, again noting I would pay now. She again replied no I won't be ordering those until winter, come back for them then. I informed her I won't be coming back then or ever. Unbelievable!

    It turned out well for me, as I found another Aussie bricks and mortar which had handmade in Aus shoes. Stoked to support an aussie still hand making shoes.
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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Pavoniboy, the exact same thing happened to me a couple of years ago in a shoe shop...except these people were the only local shop who carried the shoe line.

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    Interesting topic.

    A couple of things spring to mind:

    1) Several times in the past I have gone into a shop to check out something I wanted to buy online. If asked if I need assistance I would always reply honestly - usually this is well received and usually it is taken as a challenge to the salesperson to get a sale.

    2) The sort of behaviour Chris described is simply dishonest and must be infuriating, however, I feel that a retailer should not be overly suspicious (see Pavoniboy's story) as it will be counterproductive. Retailers who are personable, open and generous with their time (like all the CS sponsors I have spoken to) create an impression of confidence and competence that lasts in customers' minds. The return for the retailer is not always immediate, sometimes much later. I recently spent around 30 minutes on the phone to Rick (coffee machinist) getting advice on a machine I ended up buying 2nd hand. Rick has not received anything for this 30 minutes, but he was so generous and helpful, that I will be seeking him out for service and repairs when the time comes.

    Note to Chris - don't let the dishonest few parasites ruin excellent customer service for the rest of us. Just my 2 cents.

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    I recently spent around 30 minutes on the phone to Rick (coffee machinist) getting advice on a machine I ended up buying 2nd hand. Rick has not received anything for this 30 minutes, but he was so generous and helpful...
    ...that I sent him a cheque for the 1/2 hour consultation with what I saved?
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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    or a bottle of GOOD wine, a BIG box of chocolates, a kilo OR TWO of coffee, a slab of NICE beer…………..something!

    Bizarre.
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    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    I can't tell if you (Chokki/Andy) are joking, but just because someone's in business doesn't mandate putting a price on their time and expertise.

    Expecting payment for a favour is just as offensive as using a shop to scope out an online purchase...

    Y'all guilt-trip worse than my mother.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    or a bottle of GOOD wine, a BIG box of chocolates, a kilo OR TWO of coffee, a slab of NICE beer…………..something!

    Bizarre.
    How much would you charge for this pearl?

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    ...just because someone's in business doesn't mandate putting a price on their time and expertise.
    Putting a price on one's time and expertise is pretty much the definition of being in business!
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Expecting payment for a favour is just as offensive as using a shop to scope out an online purchase....
    Conversely, expecting favour after favour and for no return is just plain exploitative and believe me it happens. I sad to admit that I currently have a list of a dozen or so numbers which I have learned not to answer...

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lounger View Post
    How much would you charge for this pearl?
    How much?? Nah, mate, pearls are priceless ;-D

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    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Conversely, expecting favour after favour and for no return is just plain exploitative and believe me it happens. I sad to admit that I currently have a list of a dozen or so numbers which I have learned not to answer...
    No doubt; the only point I was making is that I think it's a bit of a sad thing to shame someone for not paying for a favour, if that's what was happening.
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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    No doubt; the only point I was making is that I think it's a bit of a sad thing to shame someone for not paying for a favour, if that's what was happening.
    I think that's part of the problem here. You consider it a "favour" but I'm pretty sure the businessperson involved would consider it a service. No one pays the bills with favours.

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    Senior Member saoye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    I think that's part of the problem here. You consider it a "favour" but I'm pretty sure the businessperson involved would consider it a service. No one pays the bills with favours.
    Everybody has the freedom to ask questions, everybody has the right to decline to answer.
    A couple of months ago I asked Chris for input on a review I was doing on an imported coffee roaster. He politely declined and I respected his time and decision...hopefully the 30 second conversation did not put me on your banned list.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    No doubt; the only point I was making is that I think it's a bit of a sad thing to shame someone for not paying for a favour, if that's what was happening.
    +1
    By definition, it's not a favour if you are paying for it

    This is a rather ironic conversation on an Internet forum; a place where free information (solicited and unsolicited) is essentially the whole point.

    While I can completely understand the frustration of the OP, I wonder how many 'easy' sales have been made by sponsors, after members have been to a local store and checked out a product? Or after having read (freely provided) advice or reviews online? Swings and roundabouts.
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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    I can see your where you're coming from, Mr Jack but sponsors pay good money for the privilege of giving out this 'free' advice.

    If I was a sponsor I would be hoping for some return.

    When you do a thorough reading of the posts you'll also find that it's income from the sponsors that subsidises the import costs
    and makes possible the very modest retail price of the green beans on BeanBay that we love so much.

    When taken from a selfish 'me' and 'I' perspective it might seem a little tight - not giving free advice, at length, but if you put
    yourself in the retailer/service tech point of view and the phone rings ad infinitum nearly all day………………..

    I'm not a sponsor but if I was paid for every phone call, or every time I have been intercepted going about my personal life,
    by people wanting free advice about how to grow grapes, I wouldn't have a mortgage. I've been out of the game for over a year
    and it still happens.

    My meaning here may not be clear……….

    If you're asking for 'free' advice; post your query on the forum but if it's a private, professional consultation you're after
    then you shouldn't expect it to be an extension of the forum.
    Last edited by chokkidog; 20th September 2013 at 12:40 PM. Reason: My meaning is…….

  36. #36
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    To be more accurate, sponsors pay for exclusive exposure and a level of protection(ism?) in a community composed entirely of their target market, which gives them the opportunity to bring in substantial additional revenue. That's one side of their participation in the CS community.

    The other is as posters, which gives them the opportunity to give free advice (just like the rest of us) if they so choose or not.

    The only problem here is when people fail to see the distinction. If I PM a sponsor and as them whether they (as someone with specific experience) find a difference between grinder A and grinder B because I'm considering a used grinder vs a different model from their store, that's fine.

    If I PM a sponsor asking whether a product they offer does XYZ, that's also fine (IMO).

    If I PM/call a sponsor and ask for their assistance with a problem, then that's something that I would expect/offer to pay for, because now we're going from customer inquiry to trying to get a service for free. If they were a personal friend then I wouldn't have to ask myself whether it's appropriate, but some people seem to think "I've posted on the same forum for a while, shot the breeze with him a couple of times, now he's a mate and I can treat him as such when it suits me".

    If I wanted input on a problem that wasn't directly related to a potential business dealing, then I'd put it in a thread and if I'm lucky, a knowledgeable sponsor might have time and chime in on the thread (as might any knowledgeable random person).

    The thing is, it's got nothing to do with being a sponsor, it's to do with respecting the value of any person's time. I suspect that there are probably busy people on here whose time is monetarily more valuable than that of a sponsor, and they probably wouldn't appreciate being engaged at length any more than a sponsor would. Unfortunately for sponsors, their contact details are there for all to see and people don't always make the distinction between business discussion and forum discussion.

    *EDIT* I'll admit, I've been guilty of this this once; emailing Andy with a question about a machine he'd previously owned, assuming that he was set to no-PMs because he's an admin, rather than because he's busy as all hell. To his credit, he gave me a few pointers and made it clear that his email was for business purposes, but it's something I should have thought about earlier; I don't have the email addresses of Admins/Mods on other forums and the only reason I have Andy's is because or prior business dealings.
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  37. #37
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    people don't always make the distinction between business discussion and forum discussion.[/B]
    That's about the crux of it. ;-D
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  38. #38
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    If I PM/call a sponsor and ask for their assistance with a problem, then that's something that I would expect/offer to pay for.....
    You'd be the first EVER Dragunov....

  39. #39
    Site Sponsor gilkatho's Avatar
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    For me, the shopping/comparison process is just the a part of the overall sales process. We don't expect to sell something to everyone that comes into our modest showroom.

    In a recent HBR article the example of eBay was discussed and the figure was something like 95% of site visitors don't even bid or sell on the site, just browsing or using it for comparison. So 95% of their infrastructure costs are going to non-purchasers. Ouch.

    The article went on to say how it is important to control the costs of that 95%, work out how to give them a good experience and then work with them to convert to clients. Let me know if you want a link and I'll search the journals

    We find for our demonstrations we keep them as sales demonstration which is different to use instructional session. We provide the use and instruction as part of the after sale.

    In the past I was running 'training' session that customers whom had purchased elsewhere could attend. This allowed us to fit them into a time that fitted with our schedules and also allowed us to know how much time we put on the sessions.

    Cheers


    Wayne

  40. #40
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    You'd be the first EVER Dragunov....
    To be fair, it's never come up, and I'm not sure it ever would.


    These days, if something is within the scope of DIY then I can most likely find the information for free on a forum or similar. If not then I'll be paying for a professional service anyway.


    I know I bring it up a lot in these sorts of conversations, but there have been times where I've contacted motorbike dealers to ask how much they'd charge to let me try a few helmets for sizing (once they wanted fifty bucks, which still left me 100 ahead, and once I was told to go myself with a pinecone, which is fair enough).


    The thing with helmets is that consumers can often get helmets at substantially below Australian wholesale cost, so even if I were to pay their entire margin on a given helmet, I'd still be ahead. (No, I don't feel like getting into another Aust. Standards discussion :P )

  41. #41
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    I get the feeling that buying stuff on the net has become a hobby for a lot of people.
    It's about "today I saved $$$ on this, and yesterday I saved $$$ on that", etc.
    I know a few people who I think buy very little locally except food.
    They will grumble that 'you can't buy ANYTHING locally".
    Of course they are contributing to that situation.
    Where the local businesses often seem to fall down is their customer service.
    Lack of interest in selling something that isn't actually on the floor or requires some research and an order.
    The delivery times on orders from other parts of Aus. have often been quite ridiculous.
    The moment I sense a lack of desire for my business I'm out the door.

  42. #42
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    [QUOTE=Rocky;510282
    The delivery times on orders from other parts of Aus. have often been quite ridiculous.[/QUOTE]

    No kidding. Sometimes I can get goods from Hong Kong or the US quicker than I can get it from Perth or Sydney.

  43. #43
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Hi Chris,

    The answer to the person who already says they won't buy from you but wants you to answer questions is: "Our consulting fees are ..."

    IMO charging fees up front is "not on" for the regular sort of pre-sale contact. Anyone who does that is likely to have less business rather than more.

    When the "pre-sale" questions start to get into what I would call "after-sales service/consulting" then that needs to be made clear to the customer, with only general comments regarding what is possible/impossible delivered without a sale.

    It's always a tough balance to get right--especially when it's close to the turn-over between pre and post. Unfortunately when you are the expert someone is likely to want your expertise for free.

    A doctor specialist friend, when approached for these free services at parties, used to say: "I never give opinions without a full exam. Take off all your clothes and lie down."
    (I don't know how that would work for you.)

    Greg
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregWormald View Post
    A doctor specialist friend, when approached for these free services at parties, used to say: "I never give opinions without a full exam. Take off all your clothes and lie down."
    (I don't know how that would work for you.)

    Greg
    Hmm great idea, but given the demographic of my market, I think I'll pass thanks Greg!

  45. #45
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    Chris,

    The way I see it, you unfortunatey have built your business around a topic that requires a lot of knowledge/learning. Therefore as a retailer you're naturally going to be used as a library resource. I'm also a homebrewer and its the same there - every store is a retailer and knowledge resource. Go into a homebrew store on a Saturday, its full of middle-aged dudes talking beer. The key however is capitalising on it. You are complaining about being exploited for no return. Fair enough. but you are also popular and regularly sought out. That is a win right there.

    Now i've been through this process discussed above. I did my research online, called a few retailers for opinions about what suits my budget etc - and actually bought from you. I came to your store and picked it up (Lelit PL60 - ex demo). What happened there is we had a coffee, we chatted, and you upsold me on some extras.

    Use the popularity to your advantage, get them to come in, make your store a resource for gear and knowledge. Sure you'll get people who will burn you but many will also buy. The worst outcome would be if nobody called you for advice.

    Look at Andy - he owns the conversation literally. He's built the business around the library. I guess I'm saying it won't go away, that's coffee - its hard, we need to learn from someone. Own it and exploit it to your advantage or complain and watch it vanish.

  46. #46
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Welcome to CS, Artimus….
    A couple of valid points…. but

    I don't think Chris, or anyone who has dealt with him, would or could agree that his business or personal involvement with the coffee industry
    is unfortunate.

    Far from it.

    Nor do I think that if Chris posts a 'rant' (see OP) against 'tyre kickers' and time wasters that his business is going to 'vanish'.

    I don't need to answer for Chris, or give him business advice, he is very much his own person but I will stick up for people whom I respect.
    Last edited by chokkidog; 20th October 2013 at 04:10 PM.
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  47. #47
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artimus View Post
    Chris,

    The way I see it, you unfortunatey have built your business around a topic that requires a lot of knowledge/learning. Therefore as a retailer you're naturally going to be used as a library resource. I'm also a homebrewer and its the same there - every store is a retailer and knowledge resource. Go into a homebrew store on a Saturday, its full of middle-aged dudes talking beer. The key however is capitalising on it. You are complaining about being exploited for no return. Fair enough. but you are also popular and regularly sought out. That is a win right there.

    Now i've been through this process discussed above. I did my research online, called a few retailers for opinions about what suits my budget etc - and actually bought from you. I came to your store and picked it up (Lelit PL60 - ex demo). What happened there is we had a coffee, we chatted, and you upsold me on some extras.

    Use the popularity to your advantage, get them to come in, make your store a resource for gear and knowledge. Sure you'll get people who will burn you but many will also buy. The worst outcome would be if nobody called you for advice.

    Look at Andy - he owns the conversation literally. He's built the business around the library. I guess I'm saying it won't go away, that's coffee - its hard, we need to learn from someone. Own it and exploit it to your advantage or complain and watch it vanish.
    Have no idea who or what you are Artimus (your profile gives no clue) however with three posts to your name you deign to offer sage advice to a long time member who has probably forgotten more about coffee than you will ever know.
    Perhaps you do have the knowledge, maybe not, regardless it's a good idea when entering a new arena to tread gently.
    PS Welcome to Coffeesnobs.
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  48. #48
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Artimus,
    You seem to be missing the focus of Chris' OP......it wasn't that some people seek advice prior to making a purchasing decision and then go elsewhere...it focussed on a bloke who sought advice, bought elsewhere with plain vanilla service, and then came and said 'can you help me by providing the service/advice that the I didn't pay the other vendor for'! That's manifestly different from the everyday circumstance that many retailers face.
    Cheers
    BOSW.

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    Ok, chill out guys - I was not critisizing Chris. He's a good guy and a valuable resource here. Like I said, I bought my setup from him personally. We all deal with crap customers whatever industry you're in. I don't also think that his business will vanish. What I was referring to specifically is that he IS a popular and valuable resource and the byproduct of that (coupled with being in an industry that requires a lot of knowledge to be attained by the customer - don't take the word unfortunate out of context) means that his expertise and time will be taken by nearly every customer. Its not selling washing machines at Harvey Norman. It's a complicated thing making a good coffee, and selling/buying the right gear to do it.

    Yes Chris started on a specific customer with a specific issue, which I think renders a pretty self explanatory answer. Hence why it was a rant, not a question. This discussion though, turned into a rather lengthy one about the value of expert advice and capitalising on that. I haven't been here long, to be honest this is the first day I've considered posting, but that doesn't make my opinion irrelevant, we're not discussing who knows more about coffee. I thought the general tone was getting a bit crabby and there were a few "did you write him a cheque" comments. All i'm saying is glass half full. In small business, being popular is a win. Probably that should have been adressed to the group discussing, not Chris specifically - for that I apologise.

    Hi guys. Glad to be part of the gang.

  50. #50
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    And yeah, i was pretty harsh in that first post re-reading it. Sorry about that.



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