Change of tacticPC World abandons the hard sell

24 April 2006

A man working on a laptop

The new broadband deal is cheaper

Shoppers at PC World will no longer face hard-sell tactics after the company revealed it is to ditch commission-based selling.

The leading computer chain said staff across its 150 stores will now focus on giving its customers good advice.

A PC World spokesperson said: 'By removing individual commission, we can ensure staff offer impartial advice to customers, while rewarding staff for good customer service.'

PC World: Joint worst for customer satisfaction

The retailer's move is long overdue, says Lisa Barber of Computing Which?

A Computing Which? investigation published in January revealed that shoppers trying to buy PCs on the high street get inaccurate and confusing advice. It found the highly competitive nature of the computer market meant sales advice is often geared towards a straight sale, rather than finding a product to suit a customer's needs.

And in a Which? survey published last year, PC World came joint last for customer satisfaction. Only 11% of people rated the overall service at PC World as very good. This was much worse than the figure of 48% for independent shops and 41% for John Lewis.

'Hopefully the money PC World saves from not having to pay commission will be reinvested in training to ensure that staff are motivated to sell customers the equipment they need,' said Ms Barber.

Staff told to concentrate on advice

The new pay scheme, labelled 'One Team', will see the entire store staff rewarded for giving good customer service. The team bonus will be based on weekly independent surveys measuring customer satisfaction.

In the past, PC World staff were encouraged to sell more to boost their basic pay, an approach which often saw customers pushed into buying something that didn't suit their needs.

PC World, which is part of the Dixons group, said a trial of the new system showed that customers were more positive about their shopping experience compared to other stores still using the commission-based scheme.