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In Reply to: RE: Is good service today required for survival? posted by dadbar on June 28, 2012 at 13:24:29
Why is it unfortunate? Whose fault is it that you deal with sleazy customers?
When I make any kind of purchase, whether it's an automobile, a full suite of hi-end kitchen appliances, or audio gear for example, I fully research the vendor to see if they have a track record of good to excellent customer service before I'll even consider doing business with them. I've learned this lesson in the past. There are some vendors that have made my "never again" list and many who I have no problem patronizing again. And I'm not shy about sharing my experiences with those who ask. I'm okay with spending a little more for the piece of mind, and often have been very glad that I did.
The "unfortunate" part has to do with what some customers seem to define "good service" to mean. I enjoy working with the vast majority of our customers. There is a small segment that are making outrageous demands that drive up costs that we must pass on to others.
This same thing is happening in consumer markets every day and in so many other markets. People want good service but are unwilling to pay for it. Perhaps it is the natural evolution of business that stores like Best Buy helped bury the smaller local stores....and now they will face annihilation too as more people start buying stuff online or accessing content through the cloud.
My brother who works for a plumbing wholesaler once put it well, as it was explained to him. Far too many businesses operate as an upside down pyramid. The bulk of the money goes up top, while the works/grunts are viewed as 2nd class or worse within the company. Their pay is the bare minimum they can pay. Incentives are far and few between. Wont even bother bringing up benefits, although that is why no one wants full time employees anymore.
BB is gonna disappear because they offer nothing more than Amazon, Frys, Newegg does. Overall their employees are unhelpful, lack much knowledge, have nearly no incentive to perform, and are often teens. This is not to say a good workers dont exist there. But often they find better jobs, graduate schools, are picked, so on. At a BB only the depo manager earns commission, not the guy working with you. So you have disappointing whip crackers demanding the min wage workers who get next to no real valuable training, to be all they can be for you. As scary as this may sound, a proficient sales/service working at the likes of a BB IMO should be a skilled worker so to speak. Again, if BB cannot bring anything to the table that an online site, which sells for less can, what place do they make for themselves?
All that being said. The ma and pa shops of today really have a chance to shine if they play their cards right. That and have a community around them that have the money and know they exist. I totally acknowledge this is quite the set of circumstances. But it can happen in this climate.
Again my 2c
Not trying to pick a fight here but I think the comment of one being at fault for dealing with sleazy customers was a rather poor rationalization.
Especially considering the poor economic climate we're in, doing business is a hard game for nearly everyone. I know for myself, Im just happy to be working now. Im sure as heck not making what Id like to be, but in the same breath I cant complain too much. Half the people I speak to at work seem to be either in school or looking for work. Some by their own doing I will admit. But these are really hard times for many.
I assume the poster you replied to is in his own niche market. You dont get to hand pick those who want your product and are willing (and capable) of paying. Imagine if said poster told someone he felt was being difficult to go fly. They might talk with others in his area and tell them to stay clear. This is simply one of countless scenarios in which one might dig their own hole being too proud to work with others.
I see your off in Colorado. My best bud who lives just outside of Boulder tells me of life near himself. In his own words, in Boulder it is like a world onto itself. Economic down turn seems nearly non existent to him. Allot of upscale, well to do, well off folks going about their business. He is an air craft mechanic for a private company and is doing ok. He did 4 years in the military and 4 in college. He is a bright and reasonable guy. Very much self made and a believer in pulling one self up by their bootstraps so to say. But even he says out there its like a bubble compared to back home here in WI.
I dont want to imply too much here, but the idea that people have the luxury of doing business with whomever they wish whenever they wish is sadly not the case. Man I wish it where. If one is too proud to bend a little to make folks happy. They may find themselves with allot of free time nowadays.
All this being said there are limits to everything in life.
Again, just though that remark was a bit sweeping there... All the best to you though
Perhaps I'm being presumptious, but you sound like you might be relatively young.
Had the poster not started off his reply with the word "unfortunately" I would have been a bit more lenient in my answer to his post. He gave me the impression that he felt that it was unfortunate that he had to provide a certain level of customer service. With that attitude he needs to either get out of the line of business that he's in, or better yet cater to a better class of customers.
However, I will try to address your responses on a point by point basis -
Sure, these are hard times for most people, but the context of this thread is focused on the necessity to provide good service to your customers, especially in these times. If people are unemployed or under employed how does that fact relate to the OT?
Does one really have to "pimp himself out" and work for or with sleazy individuals in order to justify making a living? Not everybody has to stoop to that level. Get out while you can. Life's too short. Move to an area with a better job climate. Start your own business that fills a need that others aren't filling. One can try to be industrious, creative, innovative and free onesself from that kind of degradation if he's brave and really tries.
I used to live in the Peoples Republic of Boulder, had a business there, but that was over thirty years ago. Yes, Boulder is a place not like most others, but I've been living 250 miles west of Boulder across the continental divide on the western slope of the Rockies since the mid-1970's and believe me with an unemployment rate that's one of the highest in the nation life here is no cakewalk, especially for those who are not suited for it.
I never said that one doesn't have to "bend a little" (or a lot) in order to "make folks happy" or as I'd put it - retain the customers that are worth retaining. But what I heard from the OP goes quite a bit farther than bending a little. It sounds like some of his customers are asking him to do things that go against his principles or standards. So he either stops whining about it and swallows his pride or he mans up and just says no. I'm happily retired now, but when I was in business (not too long ago) I politely refused to deal with anyone who engaged in behavior that I considered suspicious or sleazy. (I never got rich, but I'd call myself independant and comfortable). After over forty years of dealing with the public a good businessman tends to develop a sixth sense about those things. In any case, I always provided a high level of customer service but I did not, and would not, sacrifice my principles, morals, pride, or sense of self worth for a dollar. I haven't had to. Maybe I'm just lucky.
Im assuming you and I have more in common than we dont. That is, in our view of business.
Yep, Im young. By some folks standards that is, 31. Being in computer technology, I personally feel rather old. As a teen in the 90s, what I knew as far as technology, now feels like a lifetime ago.
I feel I now better understand your reply to the poster. However I will stand by, I feel you overly painted it black and white. When in reality, you even view the scenario a bit broader.
Let me make my case a bit better. Hypothetical, but close to what Im guessing some deal with. Say the fellow sold a hardware/software package to the fellow he flew overseas to to deliver in person. It sold for $40K with $25K profit. Maybe you sell 4-6 of em a year. Thats his income. Is sacrificing time, a few $K and some headaches once and while worth the sale. Damn right it is IMO. Thats a huge chunk of your yearly income. And as a small batch, high dollar business owner/worker, thats the game your in.
I guess in all fairness, you and I need to apply our thinking and standards to the scenario with more exacts. The actual scenario would really dictate where lines of principal are crossed.
One thing too about us younger business folk. IMO you and I are part of different business models. In the sense that, now the WORLD economy plays a FAR greater role than ever before. Also, competition is in FAR greater numbers. Nearly any job these days is in competition with what some web site also offers. Short of a consumers car breaking or heater/air dieing. One can see their offers from others in way never before possible. IMO its changed the dynamics of business like never before. Again only my little opinion. For all its worth.
Overall I really agree with you. I just feel more info needs to be known of the buyer and seller, before making any snap judgements.
Enjoy your retirement. I hope to one day have the chance. Im damn sure trying to make it happen.
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