French electronics chain Darty has apparently already sold 30,000 "boutons connectés" (connected buttons), which are buttons a consumer can use at home to instantly get one of the chain's employees on the line.
"People aren't used to this type of service anymore"
"A logical extension of our engagement and our act of faith", Darty CEO Régis Schultz called the physical contact button that consumers can use to get a wireless connection to the help desk. "Innovative but useless in a time when Darty's classic post-sales service is free", was the vision of the French consumer association Que Choisir at the product's launch.
French consumers apparently disagree with Que Choisir's vision as Darty has already sold more than 30,000 Connected Buttons in no more than 6 months. There are two different types of this "intelligent button": a physical version costs 25 euro and you can stick it to your fridge for example and then there's a digital version which is basically an app for your smartphone. The customer also has to pay 3 euro (or 8 for the premium) on a monthly basis for the service.
Vincent Gufflet, Darty's director of After Sales, is not surprised at all the company managed these numbers: Someone who instantly calls you back, no delays, no computer voice but an actual adviser on the other end of the line, someone who knows your name, your purchase history and even your previous calls. Someone who doesn't hang up until your problem is solved. People aren't used to this type of service anymore. It carries some sort of magic sensation."
Backed by this success, Darty is now contemplating a successor, currently called "predictive maintenance". The chain intends to contact customers proactively when his appliances have become technologically outdated and could use replacing. In essence: reach out to the customer before he thinks about visiting a competitor...