One of the eternal conversations among shooters is the one in support of the Mom & Pop gun shops and how they deserve our support. While in general principle I agree, I also have to point out some things that they do that more than once made me go online instead of doing business with them. I had several less-than-stellar interactions with different places and I will like to address them here.
First one is communication. Is there a reason why gun shops (and even some big gun companies) suck so bad at communicating? If you have a store phone number, you will be getting calls from people that know what they want and those who are new to the gun culture but amazingly just the fact that anybody would answer a phone appears to be a minor miracle and when it happens is some gruff-sounding voice that acts like you just drag him out of bed where he was enjoying himself to the favors of two sexually depraved super models and you are interrupting his bliss. The person calling might be ready to drop some cash into your till and having his/her call answered by a growling idiot is a good way to make sure that money is going somewhere else. Answer the phone promptly (within 3 rings) and have a smile in your voice. After that the rest sells itself.
I recently was looking for an FFL near my house to have a gun transferred from another state. I used Gunbroker.com’s FFL finder and the first number never bothered to answer even though I was calling 2 hours after posted opening, the second sent me to a computer who announced that all associates were busy at this time, to please hold and 20 seconds later the computerized voice came back to tell me once again that nobody was available, said good-bye and hang up on me. On the third one, I actually got a human who treated me like I was an ATF agent announcing I was on my way to check his bound books. It was the fourth one that sold me as a young man answered in a polite manner, gave me the price and instructions to follow for a smooth transaction. That store got my business.
And after paying some pimple faced nephew to build you a web presence, How come it is almost impossible from some gun shops to answer an inquiry that came via email? No one is stupid enough to deny that the Internet is fueling sales across the board so why would any business ignore email info requests is beyond my understanding. If you do not have a dedicated person to answer email or are swamped in business, set up an auto responder saying that you will get back to the person within an acceptable time frame (no more than 24 hours and hourly if you are smart) so you do not lose that piece of cash. I had people email me back three months after the fact which it is rather insulting. The internet is all about speed and emails cannot be treated as if delivered by the Pony Express.
More to come……