Today I had an interesting interaction with a local business that I have been waiting for some time to come and complete necessary repairs. As has been customary, it has been put off for yet another week with the usual response, “It’s a small job, we’ll get to it,” says the business owner.
It is an odd way to do business. I would think that upon first contact, my name would go on a client work schedule and that within minor delay and juggling of workload, I would be assigned a date.
What I suspect is that as orders come in for “bigger” jobs, I keep being placed to the back of the list. Is this greed? Is it a case of taking customer business for granted?
I think it is taking one’s reputation for granted. Your business is only as good as the report of each customer – large or small in order. It only takes one…and then another one, and another one to turn a thriving business around to one that has few customers.
It surprises me to see how many smaller businesses lack common sense actions and amenities to keep a customer coming back: Namely, saying “thank-you” for your business at the end of a transaction. That came to my mind yesterday in NYC as I exited a restaurant. The hostess stood at the door wiping the glass and paused silently to let me exit. I am not rushing to get back there any time in the near future. “Thank you for coming”, or, “I hope you enjoyed your meal”, might have offset the mediocre meal I had.
I have supported many individual entrepreneurs over the years with repeat business and sometimes with business referrals and endorsements, as well. Yet, it amazes me, how many have not returned the favor in supporting me with a one-time purchase of my product. It makes me wonder, are they even aware? Do they appreciate customer support? While there is no obligation, it would seem that if someone has helped to sustain your business repeatedly, wouldn’t you want to help that customer succeed at his/her endeavor, or community activity for which something like a donation, sponsorship, or ad is requested?
As we look to ways to solve the economic crisis, business-community partnerships, business excellence and community support of local businesses are key factors. As people try to figure out ways to sustain themselves from lay-offs, budding entrepreneurs need our support, as well.
I am happy to support the local businesses of my community provided I feel their pursuit of customer satisfaction and excellence are how they go about their business.
© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010