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Monday, January 7, 2013
Service is Key
It seems like every other day I hear about a local business going under. Cue all the folks bemoaning the loss of their favorite restaurant/store/business, etc. coupled by the bemoaning of others who have never visited said establishment, but are "sad" they are now unable to. The first thought that pops to mind is, "Well, maybe if you had frequented said business they wouldn't be going under." I'll place some of the blame on the public, whose loyalty is nowhere that of my dog's, but not all the blame rests with them.
Far too often in an attempt to cut costs and boost profits the wrong method is used by the business. For instance, if your museum is failing because of low attendance, you do not raise the admission price. If your restaurant is suffering from lack of customers, you should not raise the prices, and, at the same time, substitute inferior products while slashing portion sizes. Besides blaming the bad economy, and I realize it does suck, maybe the owners should also look to their service staff who may be driving folks away. I know a couple of joints I will no longer eat at, not because of their food, but because of how slooooooow and incompetent their staff can be.
Service is key. Recently I decided to no longer advertise with a local company that has had my business for fifteen years. Why? Besides the medium probably not being that effective anyway, I based my decision on the lack of service I have received. I gave them a chance last year, even though I was going to opt out then because I thought the direction they were going was ridiculous. But, my loyalty allowed me to listen to the salesperson's plea. I gave in. Like my dog, I am loyal.
We spoke about the ad I would take, and I reiterated how I was not interested in a "profile." A picture of me, along with the name of the church I attend (I rarely attend anywhere), the charities I support (I don't need to btoot my own horn), how long I've lived here, blah, blah, blah, is not going to bring me business. And if that's what a client wants to know before coming to my business, then frankly, I don't need them as a client. So, with that in mind I handed over my business card and said all I wanted was an ad of that. No problem.
When I finally received a proof it was a big problem. It wasn't what I wanted. I was assured it would be fixed, and it was. The next problem arose when delivery came around. My "ad" wasn't placed under the proper heading, probably because the proper heading had been eliminated, and a bunch of companies were lumped under a more generic title. My "ad" was at the back of the "barrage" of other companies, mostly profiles. It's been my experience over the last 15 years, and come to think of it, my whole life, that the letter "A" is at the beginning of the alphabet, not at the end. Apparently, alphabetizing was no longer being utilized in said book. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I thought the book looked amateurish, and worse, was not useful to a potential customer.
I called the salesperson. That was back in July or August. Well, I finally heard from her, two days ago, via email to let me know that "it's that time of the year again to renew." She began the email with "I think I owe you an apology as I do recall receiving a message a bit ago about the xxxxx, receiving the copy and not being pleased with something. If you'd like to buzz me next Monday afternoon or Tuesday, I'll be available to review the concerns." Oh, you think you owe me an apology?
The rest of the email was spent trying to get me to buy more ads, as well as a new "offering" to have them design a website for me, so I can spend even more money on their digital advertising. Guess what? Ummm, no. I'm not spending another penny with you. In fact, I'm not returning your email or your phone calls. Fifteen years should have stood for something, but apparently you don't give a shit about me or my business, so why I should I give a shit about yours?
So there you have it. Would it have made a difference if the salesperson returned my call 6 months ago? Maybe it would have. Service is key, and without it, you don't have me.