Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Day 2 at Staples

I finally had a chance to get onto the ground and try out my skills at selling computers.

Today, things started off well. I started in the ePK room, where I finished off the last two courses on my list. Obviously, I was very eager to start working on the ground, rather than be cooped up in the room for 4 hours straight. So I achieved my goal this time round, starting on the floor after just 1/2 hour into my shift.

I was assigned to Stephen (Steve), who is the Consultant for the Computer Department. He brought me through all there is to know in the Computer Dept, from laptops to desktops to routers to multi-function printers to shredders to speakers to... everything. Hahaha... basically everything in the computer department.

Halfway through training... well, essentially all the way through training, we got cut off because of customer requests for help. At one point, an old lady came in asking for a pair of headphones, complaining that her old ones were too troublesome to put on. She asked for a pair of earbud headphones, for her sound amplificaiton device. After 20 minutes of trying, she eventually found the one she wanted.

Here's the catch - she spoke only Mandarin. So I had to handle the sale, translating for Steve. But the best part is, I managed to convince her that this pair of headphones she was looking at was the best solution that she'd need. Hence, yes, after 20 minutes of speaking in Mandarin, she bought it.

I then went back to Steve, who continued training for me. But later, he was interrupted for some matters at the counter, and so I decided to go to the laptops area to look for other customers to help. There was this guy who wanted a deal on a laptop (Indian --> think Russel Peters =P), and I immediately brought his attention to the deals on laptops. Then, I started asking him things like what he wants to do with his laptop, and what he feels would be a good price range, how many years he intends to use the computer etc. I told him a good laptop over $1200 would last him well into 5 years, but anything under $800 would likely be just a temporary 2-year or max 3-year laptop. (That is why I want so badly to get a MacBook =P) Then, I proceeded to find the best specs that he'd need - most of them on deals run AMD processors, but he wanted Intel. 1GB RAM, 80GB Hard Disk or so, and a sizeable integrated graphics memory. Not to mention 1.7 GHz minimum. He seemed sold, but he wanted to place an order through the Dept of Chemical and Biological Engineering... which from what I learned today, can't be done. Nonetheless, he said he'd go back and think about it, and I encouraged him to come back another day when he decided.

The second customer I serviced was from China, who is going to be here for only 6 months. Originally, he wanted a Palm PDA with a keyboard, but after discussing with him, I found that the price was not what he expected for a PDA. So we turned our attention to the laptops. Again, I referred him to the deals, and he, like the other customer, wanted an Intel-based laptop, not an AMD laptop, though for different reasons (he was concerned about heat; the previous one was concerned about compatibility). This time, we found the deals weren't enough for him, so we turned our attention to other laptops on the shelf, including some by Sony, Toshiba etc. They were sub-1000, although most had prices very close to $1000. I introduced him to different models, different makes, helped him keep his options open (admittedly because I myself didn't know what I was doing... Hahahahaha...) and basically brought him through the models I felt were the best. I guess because I wasn't very familiar with the products, I still had lots of guesswork to do. Hopefully, over the next few days, I become more familiar, and I'll be able to spend more time zooming in on what the customer really needs, rather than jumping and hopping between computers.

Whatever it was, he was the last customer that I serviced today, and I managed to bring in the Extended Service Plan (ESP) for him. (He even took down notes on the ESP card; that'll probably remind him to get one.) I told him the days I'm in the store - Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday - and told him, next time he comes, he could look for me and I'd re-confirm what he wanted, and we could wrap it all up for him. (Pity, I didn't bring in accessories he might need, like a laptop bag and lock... two very essential items on campus.)

Today was a good work day. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep on balancing all my activities together well. (Darned, I just realized that on Sunday, I might not be able to play soccer... coz of work... gee... then again, work ends at 5pm, so I might well be able to join them in soccer later.) The real challenge comes when I start school in September.

Bring it on.

No comments: