Let’s review the basics of customer service:
- The customer is always right.
- When the customer is wrong, refer to rule #1.
- A happy customer will tell 2 friends.
- An unhappy customer will tell 2200 friends, associates, and colleagues.
Now, I am not suggesting that you lose your shirt in any deal, or that if your letter of agreement (aka contract) states clearly your terms and they are breached that you should ignore it. I am recommending that there are times when it is better not to fight a client/customer and instead, in the interest of goodwill, make concessions.
I had a recent “incident” with a local furniture company representing a national brand. It had taken me three painful weeks to finally put together an order for me (the most difficult client I have) that was going to be in stock. I had married two lines that ironically were NOT designed compatibly yet had the same finish, same title, and both were Home Office. (I agree, who was out to lunch when this was launched!?) Ironically, within 24 hours of approving the order, my cabinet maker came back to me and said he could do all pieces in the time frame desired at same or better cost. I know him, I love his work, and he is easy to do business with, the vendor had been difficult at best.
I cancelled the order, or so I thought. This led to a flurry of calls and faxes to the store sales person and manager. They argued it could not be cancelled because there were two pieces they weren’t going to carry (for a wholesale total of $400). Long story short, they ate it, but not after creating so much ill will that I have shared the story, will never use or recommend them and ultimately will write the president of the national company a letter regarding the well designed but non-coordinated collections.
Had they been accommodating, reasonable, and avoided the “snarkiness” (only word that fits) on the part of their manager in his final communication to me, I could avoid mentioning never to do business with Eller & Owens in Franklin, NC. And the national company is Bassett. Surprising because the stores I’ve been in are ghost towns, and they seem to want to climb from their discount status to more midrange in the market, this isn’t going to help them.
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