At the Atlanta Home Furnishings summer market this last Friday I had an unusual experience. I had been checking out showrooms for a few filler pieces for my mountain retreat and found Go Home. It is a resource new to me, which has some great unique pieces. I asked about lead time and the owner replied cheerfully “tomorrow.” This was terrific, as like my design clients, I hate to wait for anything! I asked the sales rep to write up the two pieces I planned on, but hold the order for just 24 hours, as I wanted to get back to my Highlands home and verify the fit. She disappeared for a few minutes and came back looking visibly upset. I asked what was wrong and she said that the owner (yes, you read that right) said that I either had to buy these immediately or not at all; he refused to hold the order.
Now, I hadn’t asked to hold floor samples, this was simply a written order with two pieces of furniture that once I approved would then be scheduled for shipment. I was truly stunned. She was distraught and I assured her I knew she wasn’t the problem, but that he had just made it impossible for me to do business with him. I was disappointed but knew that there would be other resources thrilled to work with me as already that morning I’d been to three showrooms, which were gracious, accommodating, and had ideal pieces.
Go Home may ultimately go out of business with this ludicrous attitude. Sometimes business owners lose touch with what is most important and become rigid in their thinking. They forget that it is customers and clients that drive their wheels and put money in their pockets. As business owners we must be EASY to do business with. We must accommodate every reasonable request (and sometimes unreasonable ones.) Word travels fast in every industry and I shared this story with subsequent showrooms I visited as I wanted to make sure I wasn’t the crazy one! I wasn’t.
In another recent instance I worked with Elite Designer Services on my move to Highlands. I have worked with Elite over the years for design installations and furniture receiving. I was delighted to learn that they take credit cards (this is not well known or advertised.) I had a very significant invoice and put it on American Express as a convenience. About 15 minutes after leaving their offices, their manager called and informed me that I’d either have to write a check or pay 3% handling for the credit card. This was not spelled out or detailed anywhere in their paperwork and while miffed I did pay it. This left a very poor taste and has given me the incentive needed to find another design installation company that is EASY to work with.
Again, if you are going to accept credit cards, you must accept them fully and include those fees as a cost of doing business. If you insist on charging clients and customers you must put that in clear written detail making it obvious and being prepared for lost sales by those that won’t pay it.
Nickel and diming is never a good way to do business. BE EASY TO DO BUSINESS WITH AND BUSINESS WILL BE MUCH EASIER FOR YOU.
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