Sunday, 28 July 2013

Goodbye Modelzone

We might be hearing reports of a turn in the economic climate, but the effects are still being felt, as ‘Store Closing’ signs have started to appear in the windows of one of the few high street stores specialising in modelling here in the UK.

Modelzone, that narrow shop that stocked a few paints, brushes and scenic accessories towards the back were placed into the hands of administrators on the 26th June. You can read the full statement on all that remains of their website here.

I don’t want to speak ill of the dying but at the same time I need to be honest; it was not by first port of call for modelling materials. I’ve used two different branches  of the chain and I must admit the customer service was in most parts quite poor, ranging on apathy (yes I stood at the counter for nearly 10 minutes once trying to get somebody’s attention to serve me) through to a passable acknowledgement that  as a customer you existed. Only once can I say that I received a very good customer service experience where a member of staff helped me try and find some items I was looking for, and I never saw her again. So I wonder, as they did not actually compete on price with anywhere else, there was not a warm welcome what would draw in customers?

This is in contrast to the very good customer service I’ve received in general from my local Hobbycraft who have been willing to check stock levels, go and find additional items and generally greet their customers at the tills with a friendly smile. A similar experience in the Lego Store at Stratford where struggling under a couple of bulky boxes already selected, an offer to hold them at the till for us, allowing us to continue unhindered with pick-a-brick, and with friendly staff that are enthusiastic about their product all makes for a much better customer shopping experience. A feeling that you are being appreciated. In a world where the high street is still suffering, stores need to consider and value their customers much more and become the places where people want to visit if they are to survive. I hope this serves as a lesson to other chains that have recently turned a blind eye to customer service.

For those of you wondering what is on offer and have I picked over the some of the bleached bones exposed to the world, most products including Airfix and Lego are currently on offer at 20% off, tools, brushes, paints and glues are at 50%. Hornby and Scalextric are not on included in the discounts, but Airfix is.

For those wondering what I have bought, some tree materials for my growing forest area, a bench clamp, a set of pliers and some other tools.