Warning, this does turn into a little bit of a rant!
I’ve had a couple of instances in the recent weeks (and they seem to be growing in number) where I’ve had to buy from people or businesses that I really didn’t want to, but had to out of necessity.
Okay to clarify – one of these times we’re talking about a coffee, and I had to buy from a particular cafe because it was the only place available at the time – I did have a choice of course – go without coffee (it wasn’t exactly a life or death situation) but you get the idea!
In these instances, I really begrudge handing over my hard-earned cash to those underserving of it.
Are you with me?
- the rude, abrupt sales assistants who treat you poorly.
- the companies that you have to keep chasing and chasing to get a simple answer about their product or service
- the ridiculous red tape or paperwork you need to go through for what should be something very simple
Have you had a phone issue recently? I will not name names of any particular large telecommunications company because quite frankly they are all as bad as each other but going into one of their stores nowadays is next to useless. How many times do you simply get sat down and put on the phone to their customer service line?
Those working in the stores seem to have little to no autonomy to actual resolve anything.
The problem is if we look at the very essence of marketing – that is, to get the right product, in front of the right customer at the right time – these businesses are getting it exactly right.
They are there when you need them.
Take my coffee example again – it was right there! I wanted coffee, that was my only option.
Did I begrudge the fact that it was overpriced – yup!
Did I almost walk out because the guy serving me was so rude and unprofessional – yup!
Would I ever go back there – hell no!
(Was the coffee downright awful?… what do you reckon!)
But do you think he really cares? He got my money, he sold his coffee – to him I doubt he ever cared about loyalty or repeat business or great customer service.
And yes, that’s only a coffee – I can certainly choose to avoid that place in the future and better plan my caffeine hit!
But here’s another example, there’s a particular electrical / homewares store near us that I genuinely like. Yes, it’s a big chain but every time I go in there the sales guy are extremely helpful – they are well trained, able to ask questions, I am treated really well as a loyal and returning customer, always given a good deal etc. etc.
Sounds great right!
Their delivery guy is possible the most awful man I’ve ever met.
Big call right – it takes a lot for me to really dislike anyone but he is right at the top of my list.
He’s been a couple of times to my house to deliver furniture items. Now, for context, we have stairs, LOTS of stairs but we always explain this and it’s always added to the delivery notes so this is not a surprise to anyone.
Yet every time (and unfortunately it’s always the same guy) he stands on my driveway and before even entering the house will have an argument about why he will not deliver the goods, how heavy they are (er, I know – that’s why I’m paying you to deliver them!?!) and (twice now) threatening that he will damage the walls and obviously will not be held responsible – what? – so are you telling me you’re going to actively aim for the walls!?!
This is a ‘family show’ so I’m certainly not going to write here some of the things he has said to me but quite simply he is a terrible man.
So now I’m in a dilemma – I literally never want this guy anywhere near my house again (yes, he’s that bad) – but I really like the shop, I’m happy to give them my money and other than this they really look after me.
This one person. This one ‘cog’ in the machine is letting them down so badly that I will seriously contemplate never buying anything there that is bigger than will comfortably fit in the boot of my car!
But it’s a really interesting point isn’t it.
Is there something that you’re doing to let your customers down?
Is there a certain ‘cog’ in your ‘machine’ that is leaving a bad taste in their mouths.
Are they buying because you’re the only option or are they buying because they genuinely love what you do and are happy to transact with you?
No one wants to be picked because they’re the only ones there!
If you’re doing right by your customers, they are loving you and want to be around you – all you need to do is work out how to be in the right place at the right time so they don’t have to buy from these substandard operators!
Do you agree? Have you ever had experiences like this where you have truly begrudged handing over your money to someone but had to out of necessity? Let me know in the comments!
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"Confessions of a Small Business Owner"
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Chief Brand Strategist
Kerry Chick is a stressed out business owner who, in her head runs a super streamlined, beautifully efficient, well-oiled machine of a business. The reality is a little different….here are her confessions!