Two incidents from today:
1) I received a shipment from one of our suppliers today. Noticing that the product was not the right size, I called the company. The woman on the phone told me it would be at least a week before it could be rectified (even though their company driver had just left). She then proceeded to tell me that I agreed on two separate occasions to the smaller size, in an angry and aggressive voice. I tried my best to calm her down, admitting that possibly the mistake was mine (I learned later that they had called to verify the size change the day before but were greeted with questions marks from my employees--so much for "double-checking"). Even if the problem was my fault, the way that it was handled on their end left a sour taste in my mouth. Customer satisfaction is the most important part of business. Even if it is the customer's fault, trying to maintain a relationship is much more important than pride-of-being-right. Her pride has, quite possibly, lost her a potentially lucrative account. Not to mention that if something is wrong, you should go out of your way to make it right, not "It'll be a week" for it to travel 25 minutes from the warehouse. What that says to me is: "You are not important as a customer. Our system is much more important." However, without customers nobody pays for the system.
2) I called a newly opening banquest facility to try and get our catering side of business on their rolodex. Allow me to write out the entire conversation.
"Welcome to ... Food Service and ... Banquet Center. Please press "1" for an alphabetical list of employees or "2" to dial their extension directly."
I have no idea who I am calling. There is no contact information past the initial phone number. I press "1".
"Dial "1" for John, "2" for Larry, "3" for Monica"
Names have been changed to protect the forgetful. I press "1".
"Hello, this is John, what can I do for you today?"
"Hi, my name is Russ Warren and I'm looking for a way to get in contact with the ... Banquet Facility."
"Let me see if I can get them to help you."
At this point, I'm put on hold, wondering who exactly "them" is, because if "them" was option 2 or 3, I would have the ability to call back later if they weren't there. But what if, horror, it wasn't someone on the automated list? I couldn't only wait and hope.
And wait and hope.
And wait and hope.
And, after almost 10 minutes on a muzak-less hold (not even a reassuring voice telling me that my call was very important but obviously ignorable) I hung up. Obviously, the banquet facility has no desire to have anyone rent it. They had no idea what I was going to ask for, so I may have, for all they knew, wanted to rent it out every Thursday for a year. That would have been a great contract. However, such was not the case. They didn't care about me or any other potential customer. Any business that doesn't have a human initially pick up the phone to talk to me already has shown me contempt. The difficulty here, though, is different from incident 1. They will get by just fine without my catering services (although they need to redo their phones so that folks can get in touch with them in the first place), however I am out of a potentially profitable rolodex because they don't care to take care of people.
Customer service, RIP 2007.