Grrrr…I need to get this off my chest.
Too many “busy” businesses do not value nor understand the importance of good customer service. I don’t care how busy you are, if you’re unable to treat your customers professionally, it will come back and bite you.
In the age of the Internet, news of poor customer service travels fast. Even if everything was a misunderstanding, if you don’t try to remedy the situation, once word gets out, there’s no taking it back.
On the other hand, I believe in karma. Although I feel as though I was the one wronged in this situation, I won’t out the company that mistreated my business and me, because I believe that putting that kind of energy out there will lead it to eventually come back to me.
Having said that, I hope there’s a lesson here for you business-owners.
For weeks now, I had been searching for a very particular product. I could get this product from any number of stores but I had been dealing with this company for several years and had no reason to stop conducting business with them…until now.
I had called a couple of weeks ago to ask if they had said product in stock. They said they were hoping it would arrive in a couple of days so, they asked me to call back to place an order when it was in stock.
I called several more times to ask if said product was in stock. I kept being told it would arrive “tomorrow, hopefully.” Keep in mind, I hadn’t ordered yet as it was “never in stock.”
This morning, said products arrived in my store before our operating hours. Luckily, someone was here to receive it. Unfortunately, because it was an unexpected delivery and it was outside of business hours, there was no one here to make payment.
The driver decided since we were long-time customers, that he would leave the products here and he would allow us to mail the payment instead.
I arrived at work a few hours later to a ringing phone. I answered and the first thing I was told was, “Since you don’t pay, we no longer want to do business with you.” This was followed up a long verbally abusive chain of accusations that made no sense to me, and ended with me complaining to the business owner, who was equally as rude.
I think what made it even worse was that rather than apologizing, which probably would’ve resolved it, the owners went on to say our business didn’t matter to them because their product was in high demand.
As they wished, I’ve now walked away. It didn’t take long for me to find someone else who carried the exact same product and charged even less.
As a business that acquires most of our revenue from wholesale customers, we take pride in taking the time to get to know our customers. From the co-op owners of The Big Carrot, to the bakery managers of several Whole Foods stores, we understand that behind even the biggest corporations are people — people that deserve respect.
Even the big guys will sometimes accept a delivery and realize that no one had prepared payment. IT HAPPENS. When it does, it’s not a surprise. Businesses are run by people, and people make mistakes.
As a small business, a little hiccup in payment can create huge problems so, I can sympathize with this company for being upset that they didn’t receive a cheque BUT, I repeat, IT HAPPENS. And if your goal is to keep customers long-term, the best thing you can do is SUCK IT UP.
When it happens to me, I let it slide, as long as it doesn’t become a habit, because I know my customers and I trust them. I don’t pick up the phone and yell at them over one missed payment.
Such language tells me that not only do you lack respect for me as a person, but that you aren’t interested in having me and my business return to you to purchase more products in the future.
It’s unfortunate that after several years of a peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship, I’m now walking away.
If there’s something you, as reader, can take away from this it’s that, in this day and age — where speed and mass production is commonplace — it’s usually possible to find an alternative of your product elsewhere. And hungry business owners are willing to offer you better deals in order to get you to switch suppliers.
Having a proprietary product only goes so far.
If you’re not personable or even just a little bit tolerable, people will be put off and will not come back to you.
You’ve been warned.