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Posted on January 11th, 2013 by Ewen Rankin

Poor service killed Jessops, not the internet

Olympus E-P3

Jessops has announced the closure of all of its stores. The story on administrator PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ website points to obvious factors such as competition from the internet and supermarkets, and the fact that it has been in financial trouble before. But there is another story and it’s the one told by the consumers.

I am a professional photographer and, as such, walking into high street photographic stores used to mean receiving good advice from like-minded and competent individuals who were not trying to “pull any wool”. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, and online retailers or specialist stores are the only places where I feel that the technical support actually has something to offer above and beyond my knowledge.

Aside from technical competence, I really want to see a company that is hungry to please me as a consumer and keen to offer something extra on delivery, and perhaps even bail me out when I need urgent help.

Jessops’ reputation as a purveyor of poor camera advice preceded it

On more than one occasion, when at a customer’s premises for the week, I’ve found myself in need of a delivery. Decent online retailers such as those mentioned have stepped up to the mark and delivered products because they have taken the time to recognise that I am a professional and likely to be at other sites when I need support. Jessops have never given me any such confidence or support, and even failed to sell me a camera that was in stock whilst I was stood in the store!

Three weeks ago, I had the need to shoot video for a customer in a very dimly lit environment and wanted to purchase a Canon 6D. I was working in London and thought my best chance would be to try Jessops’ Oxford Street store. On entering the store with £1,700 ready in hand, I found the 6D, thanks to the help of the Nikon rep, and then looked for a Jessops’ member of staff. I saw four by the door but went back to the guy in the Nikon shirt thinking he could help. He did. He went and spoke to the Jessops’ staff.

None of them moved and they carried on with their conversation. I waited about five minutes then asked the Nikon guy: “Did you ask anyone to help me?” He said he did but that he was employed by Nikon and not Jessops, but would go over and try again.

This time a young girl came over and asked me what I wanted. “Canon 6D, please, body only”.

“What memory did you want it to have?”

I did have a fleeting thought that Apple had got under the Jessops skin and was trying to sell me a RAM add-on, but then realised she meant a memory card.

“It doesn’t come with any memory,” I stated, but she then informed me that I wouldn’t be able to take pictures without a memory and proceeded to try and sell me an SD Card.

“OK, I just want the body, thanks.”

Great! I was going to get my camera. However, she went back to the conversation with her colleagues for a further three minutes. Finally, she went to the right side of the shop and disappeared… reappearing two minutes later with nothing in her hands, rejoining the conversation with her three colleagues. I was aghast!

I then spoke to the Nikon rep and explained what had transpired and he offered to seek out the manager for me. I declined, as the girl once again disappeared to the opposite side of the shop.

I gave up and left the shop. In the near half an hour I had been in the store the only person who had tried to sell me a Canon 6D was the guy being paid by Nikon.

That’s why Jessops is in administration. Not the internet. Not the supermarkets.

In the hours after Jessops went into administration, the overwhelming comment from the Twitter followers I saw was “no loss then” and comments that were even more derogatory. Other retailers were attempting to console Jessops on Twitter, but the vast majority of the comments I witnessed weren’t bothered.

The internet was once primarily a place to buy the stuff you saw in the stores more cheaply, but that isn’t the case anymore. Consumers are more savvy. They read reviews online and often purchase sight-unseen for consumer electronics, safe in the knowledge that online regulation protects them heavily.

“The Amazon Effect” is still being mentioned in some tweets but the centre of that effect is good customer service and reliability. Jessops’ reputation as a purveyor of poor camera advice preceded it.

The demise of Jessops is evolutionary rather than the pure influence of the internet and the current economic climate. I fundamentally believe that innovators and those focused on customer services and the consumer will survive.


Posted in: Rant


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78 Responses to “ Poor service killed Jessops, not the internet ”

  1. Jd Says:
    January 11th, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    What on earth do you expect from the high street??? No where gives you advice and its only apple who seem to have people who know what they are on about… Not all of them but some anyway! And may I ask why you didn’t go to LCE where that camera is cheaper???

  2. Tim Irons Says:
    January 11th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Sadly similar to our experience. We found the service far better in John Lewis, and their price was slightly better. Due to a Canon promotion that day both stores were cheaper than Amazon.

  3. Ben Says:
    January 11th, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I remember them trying to sell me a memory card for £80 that was only a fiver on Amazon.

  4. John Faville Says:
    January 11th, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that you found such bad service in London but it is a pity that you have based your entire article on that one experience and assumed the entire collapse of Jessops is down to customer service. As a Jessops manager I have on many occasions driven to other Jessops stores to collect items to fulfil customer orders, spent hours chasing stock and getting it to my store for customers and always giving a service I would want to receive myself. Customers have been coming into my store today giving me their good wishes and genuinely upset that we will no longer be there for them and some of our customers have been with us for 20-30 years, yes you had a bad experience and of course there were good and bad people in Jessops but tarring all staff and stores with the same brush is naive.

  5. Nigel Says:
    January 11th, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    John, I can reassure you that i have always been impressed with the service and product knowledge of the jessops staff I have met.
    On a personal note, I’m now just hoping that the photo album that i spent hours on and is somewhere en route to a store somehow finds it’s way to me. I’m not holding out much hope though.
    However, my plight is minor compared to all the staff that have now lost their jobs so I wish you all the best at this difficult time.

  6. Ash Says:
    January 11th, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    I’ve been a Jessops customer for a long time and know the Edinburgh store well. Three times in the last year alone I have left lenses worth over 1000 pounds with staff without any receipt and never had a moments concern that these would be looked after carefully. I have found the staff very helpful and honest. As for their advice, well I’m not a professional photographer but I have a PhD in Optics and I’ve always been able to find someone who knows what they are talking about – many of the staff in Edinburgh have studied photography and related disciplines, or are self-taught enthusiasts. I can’t argue with your experience, but it is a limited sample and some caution about whether it is representative would be appropriate. PC PRO readers are professionals too, and a better standard of journalism is expected, especially when 2000 people have just been handed such upsetting news.

  7. joe Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 12:39 am

    I do not really like how you have based jessops going bust due to customer service.

    I have been working with jessops for two years in Manchester and i have always given 110% to customers. Im a pro photographer, so i know what they want and can talk to them and understand there needs.

    Don’t get me wrong there was a few bad staff in my store who didn’t really know much about cameras. but nearly all of the staff that shut them doors today did. or they are in uni doing photography.

    But you know what its fine i lost my job today along with another 1999 staff i have 2 kids one is 3 weeks old.

    Maybe you should show some consideration as we were not all BAD staff!!

  8. Gordon Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Yes. It’s a bit like saying Germany lost the war, cos Hitler’s brother’s cousin’s son sneezed whilst driving.

  9. lee Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 6:54 am

    I worked for jessops and always tried to give the best possible advice. Often telling a customer they don’t need to spend as much as they were planning on. I worked in two different stores and I found that staff in both the stores I worked in were just like me. I’m a photography grad so I believed I knew what I was talking about and was able to have my customers walk away with what they needed, not always hitting my targets.

    There was a lot of dictatorship from head office on what we should be selling and how we should sell it. For example, for every bit of hardware we had to add on 40% value of that hardware with things like, cards, cases, lenses, tripods and anything else we could sell the. I didn’t believe this was the best idea so I didn’t try hard to hit my target.
    Larger stores, especially London oxford Street, who was the flag ship store, had a tone more pressure to hit these targets.

    I have worked in retail for many years now and I’m finding more and more that people running companies are becoming like dictators. They just see numbers on a page and use a calculator not logic to work out how to improve them. I once worked in a toy shop that was very target driven and it ended up going busy as well. I just believe that customers aren’t stupid and can tell when a company is pressuring them to spend more. That’s what’s killing the high street.

    I find that frontline staff are expected to give there whole live to their work for little pay and few hours. There is much pressure on staff that they end up doing stupid things like turning down a big sale just because it is going out by its self. But don’t blame the staff for this, blame the people at the top.

  10. Tim Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I appreciate that there are good Jessops stores and Ipswich comes to mind, but there were also bad ones like Milton Keynes tarnishing the brand. When we complained to head office about the service we received, the response was very half hearted and our business was lost forever.

  11. Andrew Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 11:32 am

    One of the worst blogs I have ever read. PCPRO should be ashamed.

  12. Tog Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Jessops used to provide good (great, in many cases) service but I’d say that generally came to an end around ten years ago, when they became nothing more than a box-shifting operation with nothing to distinguish them from DSG, or even Argos, because most requests for advice were treated purely as a sales or upselling opportunity, with little or no finesse. The internet can’t be blamed because Jessops embraced e-commerce, but unfortunately without the competitive aspect.

  13. Robert Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Back in the days of film I bought a Tamron 300mm f2.8 telephoto for £1250,a lot of money in the early 80’s,but I didn’t use it as much as I thought I would.After 1 year decided to sell it and took it back to the Jessops store where I bought it,they offered me £40,yes forty pounds,I couldn’t believe it and the lens was in mint condition.I sold it privately for £750,needless to say I’ve never used Jessops since then.

  14. Av Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Blog is spot on. Exotbitant prices, awful service, photographic ignorance for the most part – at least in most London store and generally unpleasant shopping experience. They did have a lot of point and shoot and lil’ camera bags. I gald they are in he past tense. Good riddance.

  15. alan smithee Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Why did you keep going back to the Nikon rep? Why didn’t you go to the staff yourself and complain? Why on earth did he not tell you to go to them yourself? What a bizarre turn of events.

  16. Wolf Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Agree with the blog and some of the comments. My earliest experiences of Jessops was mid 90s and i was impressed. I had my dad’s old camera and flash unit which I had found. The flash didn’t work. Took it to jessops who sorted out the battery compartment and gave me some useful advice even though the camera was dated.

    Went recently (about a year ago) and the salespeople didn’t have a clue about their equipment. I would pay more to be able to discuss cameras and equipment with staff than rely on the likes of amazon.

  17. Brian Baxter Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    I worked in New Oxford Street in the 1996 era a horrible place thye Manager called Wakelin only liked the sales staff to clean clean even the aircon units selling dont care I am soooo happy it went bust most stuff just knew about a roll of film and a wide strap

  18. Preest Says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    I know people who have had bad experiences at Jessops, but my own impression (Chichester branch, fwiw)was very positive indeed. Knowledgeable staff, obviously keen photographers themselves, and very happy to give advice. I hope they find jobs ASAP

  19. Gimboid Says:
    January 13th, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Like a lot of other High St setups, Jessops lost their way years ago.

  20. Mark Bright Says:
    January 13th, 2013 at 10:18 am

    The store in Birmingham is one I have used a number of times over the years… and when I have had need to discuss a potential purchase with staff, they have generally been very helpful and knowledgeable – but more recently there just didn’t seem to be enough bodies in store! My last visit lasted almost 40 minutes and I just could not get any help… The tills were manned and there were only two staff visible on the entire shop floor (Both with customers)
    There is still scope for actual camera stores, I would not purchase a camera without holding it in my hands and trying it first!

  21. mike Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 5:48 am

    I have used jessops in enfield were i live and oxford st were i work i have spent thousands in there over the years i learnt not to trust the online stock. between xmass and new year i went to enfield jessops to buy my sister a canon 50mm f1.8 a very common lens. when i asked for it he sales rep looked at me as if i was speaking Geek. i had to repeat myself 5 times then she asked me weather i knew if thay had it in stock? Oh and about a week befour my wife asked if thay stocked the lowerpro s-f delucx belt the older lady sales rep said in a realey shocked way “OH NO DEAR I DONT HAVE ANYTHING LIKE THAT” as if she were asking for a sex aid. then last tuesday the day befour thay closed down i went to buy a senser cleaner kit from jessops in oxford street. Thay didnt sell wet or dry cleaners so i had a look for lowerpro s-f lens bags thay had only two in stock not the ones i wanted so then i asked for a hotshoe softbox thay didnt sell them so i decided to buy a canon flash gun 430exII i had to weight for 5 mins but i had become used to the way jessops worked the way thay would try to sell you that over priced low buget uv filter and a care plan i also noticed that in the enfield branch the canon 7d i bought was taken out of the box befour i had bought it and played with and the same with the canon24-70mm this would put so many people off buying from the enfield branch it was like an ex demo model at full price well i geuss to sum it up I knew there days were numbered most of the items i asked for thay never had in stock this must demoralise the staff and in turn the customers some staff were very good and were interested in photography and some were not as up to date with the trends and didnt know the gear and its limitations which never bothered me but if i were new to photography and i needed help in decideding on the right camera and lens i would be overwheilmed by all the different types of interchangable lens cameras on the market and the miriad of functions and features that seem to be ever growing.Some good sound advice from a high street camera shop would be a service that a good number of people would pay for but sadly at jessops this wasnt always the case infact rearly did i get good advice but i did get to pick it up from the shops round the corner and if it was no good i could take it back how would i do that online? how long would it take? What if it got lost on the way back to WEX would i have to pay? This is why myself and many people would pay a bit more for a high street camera shop but jessops were sometimes £200 pounds more than WEX for the same mid range lens. Far too much in this economic climet. I did get a thrill of poping in to jessops to buy a lens on a sunny afternoon then catching a black cab back to primrose hill taking photos with the new lens of those big buildings or a candid portrait the first shots with a new lens i always remember them seeing in a new way for the first time. Much better than parcelfource bringing it round, cant take a photo of the dominium theater from my doorsteep

  22. Ian Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Ah, an anecdote. How … illuminating.

    I have no idea why Jessops failed. However, I am quite sure that random anecdotes, “backed up” by further cherry-picked anecdotes will in no way lead me to the answer.

  23. Paul Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 10:20 am

    There is no such word as ‘anymore’.

  24. Paul Ockenden Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Jessops failed because it was a camera store that failed to notice that Smartphones had become credible point-and-shoot cameras, and so didn’t start selling them.

    Also, let’s not forget that Jessops started life as a mail order only outfit, and there was a big outcry when they started building a national chain of physical shops, with claims that they’d kill off the existing local specialist retailers.

    I think I’ll go and look up ‘irony’ in the dictionary.

  25. Sam Travis Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Jessops did not start as a mail order outfit at all. They started as a store in Leicester and then grew from there.

  26. Sam Travis Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    I also agree with other comments that to base the demise of Jessops on customer service is grossly unfair, the vast majority of the staff are camera enthusiasts, if not specialists who tried their best as lets face it most people do in their jobs. As with all these things the reasons are complicated and will not ever be fully know publicly I’m sure. I wish all the staff the best of luck.

  27. Chris Pugson Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    The blog tells of a similar experience to one I had at PC World in 1997. I never darkened their doors again. Seems to sum up a decent percentage of the population of the UK.

  28. Surefire Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    What I want to know is why the hell you couldn’t go over and speak to the staff yourself. If you are such a wuss that you need to get a go between to talk to shop staff for you I’m not surprised you don’t get good service. On the other hand, I suppose you got the service you deserved.

  29. Sam Travis Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    For a more reasonable view of what happened to jessops

  30. Sam Travis Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Or another view

  31. WG Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    They got rid of the guys with real Photographic knowledge and got in salesmen then maybe most people only buy on price. Now there are no Photography shop in our towns. WG.

  32. Sam Travis Says:
    January 15th, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Look at all the jessops sales people adding to blogs saying they are photographers and enthusiasts to know that just simply isn’t true. There were some ‘just’ sales people, maybe more so in conurbations, but the majority weren’t. Please don’t make sweeping statements with no basis in fact.

  33. daniela ortu Says:
    January 15th, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    easy to blame it on the customer service..and what about HMV or Comet and many others? there is a crisis out there and the high street is going to suffer…

  34. James Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I bought a panasoniz DMC TZ20 from the nottingham branch at a price £30 cheaper than on amazon! They where very busy but a sale assistant served me very promptly and got me the web price in the shop. I also asked him some questions about a futre purchase i planned of a cannon 60D or 650D and he was very knowledgeable about the differences. I will miss Jessops from the high street though I think their folly was chasing the cut throat mass market and growing the business to big with to small margins and then getting in to much Debt. Some debt is unnecessary for nearly all businesses to grow or continue through the peaks and troughs of annual cycle.

  35. Sander Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I agree with the author; the problem isn’t limited to Jessop’s, though.

    A lack of knowledgeable staff that care & know about the products they sell is apparent on the high street.

    Whether that is because the retailers have HAD to get staff that doesn’t know or care because they can’t afford the good ones, or whether they were trying to boost profits by employing cheaper staff, I don’t know.

    I do know that spotty youths in places like PCWorld, Curry’s, Comet, Jessop’s, that can NOT advise knowledgeable customers on the products they want to spend money on is a MAJOR reason for me not to use these stores any more…

  36. David Artiss Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    @Surefire and others…

    Re “why didn’t you go to speak to them” queries. Why should he? I’d do the same. As a customer it’s not for you to chase around after the sales person. I’d have left way before half an hour had passed.


  37. capt.b.lastam Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    well any self respecting photographer would never have gone to a store like jessops, they were just crap

  38. capt.b.lastam Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    lets hope if those staff who have lost there jobs find another and lets hope they are better at selling groceries than cameras

  39. capt.b.lastam Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    maybe they can work for the DWP they have the same attitude to customers

  40. capt.b.lastam Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    never in the history of mankind have so few owed so little to there customers…..

  41. BornOnTheCusp Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    MWMs (Minimum Wage Monkeys) are to blame for poor service in shops, hotels etc. I have had similar non-service in Argos and only go in if on-line ordering is not an option and I cannot find it anywhere else.

  42. craig melson Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Sorry, but this is based one experience, presumably in one of the massive london stores where they have reps (who arent paid, just trained more specifically in different makes).

    I’ve always found jessops to be great and helpful, but haven’t bought anything from there. Why?

    They have even less choice than
    even my local tesco extra, let alone currys or amazon!

    They often have only one or two of each model and most importantly- cost a lot more. On some compacts, they sell for over £50 more!

    On the pro market, they aren’t niche enough for pros or seriously hardcore photo people (as there arent enough of them), who want filters of different density and know all the settings.

  43. Stewart Neil Says:
    January 16th, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Jessops failed for a variety of reasons, but a distinct lack of knowledge amongst their staff was pretty high up on the list.

    At the end of the day, they grew too big to cope with actually training their teams properly – on products that no longer have great profit margins to cover the huge expense of those teams and premises.

    I went into Jessops once last year – their team were overworked and focusing on low profit items – spending 30 minutes selling an £80 camera to someone. I was waiting patiently to view a Canon G12 that was securely locked behind a glass case – making it impossible for me to just pick up and get a feel for. I didn’t actually need someone to do a sales pitch on it, as I probably knew the product better than they did – but putting these barriers in the way of the consumer do not make sense!

    For my main camera equipment, I’d rather drive an hour to a proper specialist with trained staff and decent levels of stock (such as Park Cameras, who are brilliant by the way).

    And Jessops – why didn’t you charge “normal” prices for your memory cards – at least then you would have given professionals / enthusiasts a reason to go into your store in the first place!

    Their whole business model was fundamentally flawed in this modern age and treated both their customers and staff as if they were about to steal everything. Can you imagine a woman going into a dress shop to buy a £150 evening dress and not being able to try it on – or worse, have it locked behind a glass case. Crazy!

  44. Colin Robinson Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I bought my first digital SLR online, a Fuji S1, from a reputable internet company about ten years ago . I had asked Jessops for their best price, but sourced it online for a couple of hundred quid less than Jessops’ best price. The internet supplier also threw in a massive 1GB CF card. I was in a Jessops store a few weeks later buying some little thing and the assistant asked what camera i used. He went on to ask if I had bought it from them. I told him the story and he said you should have come back to us and we would have price matched it. The point is they were quite happy to take an extra large profit before -and I felt I was being talked down to when they asked how I would get the camera fixed if it broke down. I told him I would do exactly what Jessops would do-return it to to the manufacturers. I have gone on in my photography career in the last ten years to buy a lot of photographic gear – including a Fuji S2, Nikon D2H, Nikon D2x, Nikon D2XS, two Nikon D3 bodies and a Nikon D4, and the following lenses, a 50 1.4, a 14-24, a 24-70, two x 70-200, a 105 macro, a 300 2.8 and a 200-400 zoom plus flash and odds and sods. I did not spent one penny in Jessops.
    So, for any company who wants to follow Jessops’ route- happily admit you are prepaid to rip off potential customers, talk down to them when they point it out to you, fail to provide your staff with training so they have the knowledge to speak with someone who is potentially going to spend real money, over many years in the future, not a one off £130 quid on a happy snap camera – soon for later, you will become history.

  45. Colin Robinson Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Re my previous post :- I am not blaming the front facing staff themselves, but the company for failing to provide suitably trained staff. Perhaps that policy has changed. My point is , that because of a bad experience about ten years ago, I decided not to spend any of a substantial amount of money with Jessops.
    I am sympathetic, of course, to the staff who find themselves without employment in these difficult economic times, and hope you find alternative employment.

  46. aarken Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 9:54 am

    When it first came out, I ordered a Nikon D80 from Jessops in Plymouth. I was informed it would be in store by the end of the week. I’m still waiting for it many years later! I went to Currys where it was cheaper.

  47. Dave Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Have to say, my experience of the Croydon store matched the poor experiences mentioned with staff not really interested. Suspect this is down to management or lack of it. Clearly there were a few shining stars around though who did a great job in spite of what seems to a company-wide failure. I’m sure that the good people will find a company that values their talents.

    I can only contrast it with my experience of a recent mail order purchase; it was actually a Christmas Carol book with missing pages needed by a church organist for a carol concert but could just as easily been a faulty camera needed for an urgent job. Amazon immediately understood the urgency and sent a replacement by first class post (it had been 3-5 day delivery originally) at their expense and the faulty item just had to be taken to the nearest convenience store within 30 days for a free return. Easy, simple and a crisis averted. Would Jessops have done something similar? If I couldn’t even get someone to serve me in the first place, I very much doubt it.

  48. Monty Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 11:10 am

    The fact that Nikon put it’s own Rep in there says it all.

  49. Don Tocher Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Sorry, you can’t tar every Jessops store with that brush.
    Just before Christmas I bought a Canon Speedlight from Jessops Winchester. The chap there was knowledgeable, helpful & friendly. OK, I paid “over the odds” but the service was terrific.
    I use lots of high street stores & online retailers. It’ll be a sad day when all we have to choose from is web based stores.

  50. Davidbb Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Like others my experience at Jessops was very patchy – and down to the individuals on the shop floor. Come across a couple of duff-uns and very very quickly your customers will go elsewhere. Like sitting in their armchair with a cup of tea and laptop and getting it from Amazon.

    So the Jessops tale is partly just a sign of the times but mostly it was just shooting themselves in the foot. Repeatedly.

    Quite easy to come up with a list of a dozen or so other chains who seem not to care about their customer’s retail experience. Give it another couple of years and surely these guys will be down the pan as well.

  51. DaveF Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Unfortunately it doesn’t take many bad experiences to tar the whole company.
    Companies need to trust staff set realistic targets – we want every customer happy & ready to come back not we want every customer to spend 40% extra on hardware. Easy to measure but not really helpful.

    I stopped using jesops after their own brand camera died within weeks of purchase, as did the replacement.

  52. Katsu999 Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    A ‘Pro’ photographer shopping at Jessops? That’s just naive.

    Claiming that the Internet had NO effect on the collapse? Even more painfully naive, but also short-sighted and stupid.

    Not realising that young workers these days are there simply for the ‘Social Club’ aspect of a job, and don’t give a t*ss about customers, treating them as an intrusion into their personal time? Truly deeply naive, and completely out of touch with ‘modern society’.

  53. Math Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Customer service in Jessops has been very hit or miss for years. I remember waiting for ages to speak to the one member of staff who clearly knew what they were talking about. Others looked blankly at basic questions and kept pushing me towards over priced memory cards. They became a place to get hands on – but not to ask questions and, so, not to buy.

    Clearly the internet has had some effect in the companies demise, but pretty much every photographer I know would rather buy from a local shop than buy online even if it cost a bit more. But Jessops frequently cost a lot more for the good kit.

    I think they were turning themselves round, but it’s clear these changes in credit terms caught them. They should have followed the Apple store model years ago – have a clear, smaller range of items; train their staff about all their stock; and teach all the staff that customer service wins the sale.

  54. Nigel Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    That’s not been my experience of Jessops 282 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow – absolutely excellent professional service over many years. Really sorry to see them go.

  55. Jimmy. Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    I was sorry to see Jessops go, but they seemed to be dull old shops that didn’t seem to move with the times.

  56. CS Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    The account sounds spot on to me. The odd time I’ve bought something from Jessops I’ve inevitably had to suffer the hard sell for extended warranties and massively overpriced accessories (£03 for a memory card that costs less than a fiver online?).

    In the last few years Jessops became just another box shifter along the lines of Currys and PC World.

    No great loss.

  57. DCL Says:
    January 18th, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Re Don Tocher’s comment “It’ll be a sad day when all we have to choose from is web based stores”

    Totally agree – and once they’ve got a monopoly that’s when they’ll put up their prices. And again the consumer will suffer.

  58. Mike Shinn Says:
    January 18th, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Ewen Rankin may have had a bad experience with Jessops but his analysis completely fails to identify the root of the problem. Online retailers have very low overheads compared with high-street retailers, and can therefore be very profitable with low prices and margins due to high volumes and high efficiency. The high street retailer can’t both offer online prices and maintain numerous fully stocked retail showrooms and pay staff at a level that would ensure that they can demand a level of expertise and integrity worth far more than margins will allow. How many people use high street retailers to gain product knowledge before buying online? 50%? 70%? 90%?
    I know I frequently do. We do the best we can for ourselves under the prevailing circumstances. Unfortunately for all of us, and especially for the retail staff, we are now reaping the consequences. It’s not about blame – online sales are killing most of the high street. Thats why retailer try to get you to buy all the add-on products with better margins – they’re fighting for survival!
    It’s conceivably only a matter of time before manufacturers have to pay showrooms around the country to display and demonstrate their products so that online buyers have somewhere to see them.
    Meanwhile, let’s have some sympathy for the thousands of underpaid retail staff, many of whom do give good service in spite of inadequate product training, and who are under threat from all sides.

  59. Mike Says:
    January 18th, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Been through a few jessops stores. Unfortunately the one in New oxford street in london WAS awful in the service dept. Staff was unhelpful and lacked knowledge… and patronizing to boot. No doubt Jessops also lost in modernising their business and I have sympathy for those good staff members who lost their jobs. But the blogger’s experience was not uncommon. Not sure if this was the sole reason or even the main reason, but inconsistent customer service will have played a bit part in the lack of customer loyalty.

  60. Janet Says:
    January 19th, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I think a retailer can make the difference by providing well informed and interested staff. Not only interested in what item has the highest profit rate, but interested in the customer and his wishes. Because that is where their true added value is. Poor customer experience will certainly help speeding up the closure of a retailer, especially when the prices are higher.

  61. Mendipden Says:
    January 20th, 2013 at 12:19 am

    I totally agree with the comments made in the review. I have so many emails to the chairman of Jessops over several years about their customer service.I can only relate to stores in Bristol and Bath but they were all terrible.On my last attempt,I tried to buy a Canon 7D twice in one day from two different stores.On both occasions staff said they were busy with customers. However, one was talking to friends and in the other, three members of staff were tied up finding lost photos. I did get a 7D in my hands after about 20 minutes of waiting to find that they had no charged batteries!! No apologies, just a resigned shrug and an expectancy that I was going to buy it anyway. When I said I wanted to see a working example, he just walked off and served another customer who wanted some photos printed. I dragged the manager out and he criticised me for being unreasonable in expecting a working demonstration. Needless to say, I walked out and never went back. I class PC world in the same category as Jessops on customer service. I appeared on Don’t get Done with Dominic Littlewood over a laptop from PCW such is my determination to get customer service. However, I happened to be in their Cribbs Causeway store in Bristol several months after my Jessops wounds had healed. I was approached by a friendly member of staff who then engaged me in a conversation with a Canon rep.After looking at the latest range,I purchased a 650D. Yes, I probably paid a few pounds more than Amazon but I valued the expertise and advice more that the extra cost. If son of Jessops is to emerge on the modern high st, customer service must be at the forefront of their priorities.Staff must be well trained and skilled at dealing with customers face to face. After 30 yrs in sales and training, I find retailers pay very little attention to personal skills and just recruit a body on the shop floor.These people are liabilities to a retail company and when I encounter them, I leave and spend my money with those who do offer excellent service.

  62. John Hawkins Says:
    January 20th, 2013 at 1:26 am

    I realise that there are good and bad in every walk of live but poor customer service is rife in the UK. Staff are usually just damned lazy. Go into any supermarket and ask for something that’s got non left on the shelf and the stock reply is “If it’s not on the shelf we haven’t got any”

    As for Jessops, Around eight years ago I bought what I thought was a Canon lens hood. When I got home I found they had actually sold me an empty box. When I phoned about it they said I must be mistaken which is their way of calling me a liar. I have not been back to a Jessops since.

  63. Tom Donald Says:
    January 20th, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I’ve bought occasional items from Jessops in Sauchiehall St, Glasgow, but I’ve NEVER enjoyed the experience, perhaps I have been unlucky with the staff I’ve happened to meet, who generally seemed stressed out, uncommunicative, and hostile.
    I blame the management locally and nationally. Complete lack of focus for more than ten years…
    I’m glad there may be space for some independents again.

  64. A Chap Says:
    January 20th, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Late to the party (as always) but I’ll add this. I stopped buying PC Pro years ago. Why? Well, this article typifies their useless idea of reporting. Go figure.

  65. russell g Says:
    January 21st, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    High Street stores need to concentrate on the benefits having a physical presence brings, i.e. the interaction with the customer which is impossible for web only businesses. I have had both good and bad experiences in Jessops, but when your bigger ticket items are generally sold to informed people who know a lot about the product then your staff need to too. It doesn’t help when you sell luxury items when people don’t have spare cash to spend on such frivolous things anymore (I’d love to buy a new speedlight and wide angle lens, but I don’t have any spare money at the moment). I bought a Nikon D70 years ago in Jessops, the lad behind the counter looked like he was about to have a fit because someone wanted to spend £700 on a camera!

  66. Robin White Says:
    January 21st, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    They had far too many stores with such a variety of staff.

    I am sure that if they had concentrated on something like 30 or 40 stores with real photographers as staff (being paid a decent wage) and where you could have a hands on with ALL the cameras they could have done well.

    As has been mentioned before their prices for accessories was just stupid.

    Still all too late now.

  67. Jenny Says:
    January 23rd, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I’ve never really been that impressed with Jessops ‘knowledge’ or ’service’. My uncle bought me a voucher for Jessops and upon purchasing an item (after waiting at the til for 15 minutes with barely a hello or acknowledgement) found the voucher did not have any money on it and they had sold my uncle a deactivated card! As I did not have receipt (which made me feel like they were accusing me of trying it on) I had to request from my uncle that he contacted the store. He gave his info to the store who eventually found a duplicate receipt on their system. I took another trip out to Jessops relieved that they’d found another receipt. I arrived at store again and asked for the manager who knew about the situation. He left the till to go get the receipt, I was told he couldn’t find it and the person who spoke to my uncle on the phone who printed the duplicate receipt wasn’t in today so id have to come back another day… This 3rd trip probably would of cost me the same as the voucher I was trying to redeem! I told them I wasn’t happy with the service, he didn’t seem bothered. I spoke to my uncle and eventually he himself went into the store and demanded a refund which he got. I then got the cash off my uncle and walked into another local independent camera shop and within a few minutes was served and walked away with my product. That was the last time I shopped in Jessops and even if they’d been open today and had a bargain I would still pay more for better service else where. I feel for the staff who lost their jobs as I’ve been in same position twice and it’s not their fault they’ve not had the right training.

  68. Mark Says:
    January 29th, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Stores vary. I have spent a lot in Jessop’s Cirencester branch recently (Canon DSLRs, assorted lenses and compacts) and have received superb service, excellent advice from a knowledgeable staff, and swift delivery. I am really sorry to have lost such a good local store.

  69. Bratski Says:
    February 4th, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    the thing is if you pay sh it money you’ll get sh it staff and that’s most of retail in the UK, fu ck it it’s all of retail in the UK. In London the staff are all ungrateful europeans who when they’re not smoking have a real grudge against the brits, take this from a kiwi, this place stinks of cigarette but and camel toe

  70. John.S Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I always found the staff ignorant, arrogant and even downright rude. And Im not just talking about one single store – their poor respect of customers srepad like a virus throughout many stores. Definately Good riddence..

  71. Catharine Says:
    March 2nd, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Amazing article, cheers, I will sign up to you RSS now.

  72. dave Says:
    August 14th, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    before jessops went they had an Ipswich shop, the manager was a little ignorant about many things but his staff were not that bad and i spent a fair bit in there, after they went and came back i went in again, new staff same layout, i went to the counter where a young lad around 20ish i think was chatting to a girl who worked there, after 3 ‘excuse mes’ each a little louder he looked at me as i had the nerve to interrupt him and asked me what i wanted, not can i help you, i simply asked if they knew of a repair service for a manfrotto tripod, i thought reasonable as they sold them, all i god was they looked at each other, laughed at me and said ‘net mate’ and walked off, he didn’t even try to sell me a new one, so the new Ipswich jessops is run bu ignorant little wannabe gangstas, that will work……

  73. Stuart Says:
    August 14th, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    The reason for jessops going bust wasn’t due to poor service, that’s just one person complaining about their own experience, you get it in every store where the staff get paid 2% above minimum wage, I myself work for an electronics retailer that sells over 11,000 different products, you cant expect people to know everything about every product, if the staff were getting paid more for their technical advice and if companies thought more about their staff then maybe everybody would receive better service.
    The reason for jessops going under was because they owed a lot of money to their suppliers and tried to reduce that amount by increasing the prices on the products they were selling which in turn put people off buying

  74. Tim Ashworth Says:
    January 5th, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Walked into Jessops….asked about a Fuji HS50…was TOLD…’I'm a Canon Specialist’ and he walked off WITHOUT attempting to find another Staff Member to help me.
    Store was NOT busy.
    Blown away…who needs Drugs?
    (Apologies for Capitalisation but I feel they are necessary).

  75. S Says:
    March 9th, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Jessops was what it was. I used to work in the photolab in one of their branches a long time ago. The counter staff selling the camera’s back then were knowledgable, but us lot in the lab knew nothing about either photography or developing photographs and there we were running a supposedly professional operation.

    The point is, they paid peanuts and got monkeys.

    Back then, the photolabs and counter staff were two separate teams. You couldnt get on the sales team unless you knew something about the things you were selling. Us lot in the photolab were just hired button pressers.

    What it seems to me is that over the years, their philosophy of having the monkeys in the back, and the smart guys out front seems to have gone out the window.
    They seem to have gone monkeys in the back, monkeys in the front and it doesn’t surprise me – the recession forced then to cut wages.

    I feel lucky to have worked there at a time when the counter staff were professional and highly trained, at least one group of people were – not us in the lab though.

  76. Fernando Says:
    May 6th, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Totally agree.
    Went to buy a camera in the brand they had in Uxbridge and seemed they didn’t want to sell anything at all.
    They didn’t have the one I was looking for, so, I asked, could you order it?, the guy went with: No, we don’t do that, these are expensive cameras and you could not come after ordering it.
    Went back home, checked online and they had one in Harrow, ordered it to collect in store the following day, and when reaching there I got a call from the branch to advise that despite of what the web said, they didn’t have any, so back home. I ended up buying thu Amazon. Sorry but the whole process was so absurd that I thought it was kind of a joke.

  77. Jim B Says:
    October 19th, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Did it occur to you that they had probably just been given the news of their impending lack of employment – and as a result maybe were discussing their options. I wonder also whether you would be inclined to show 100% professionalism in light of that type of news. Just a thought…

    October 21st, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I had a bad experience at Jessop Oxford Street, London.
    I took a PS memory card to transfer photos into a CD for some reason the kiosk machine CORRUP the memory card and I lost 1200 photographs from a trip to India.
    They defended the case with all their might, one of the leading solicitor’s company, 8 witnesses etc. No way I can win with like this, even the judge took their side immediately we enter the court room, their solicitor made the talking, no way the judge allowed me to said a word nor to look at me directly, always looking to Jessop solicitor.
    I’ll NEVER using their service again in my life.


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