Happy customers mean business

All it takes to turn one’s attention to a particular problem is a few bad experiences. These experiences usually lead to a revelation, which in this case is amazingly, the concept of respecting customers is sorely missing at too many businesses these days.

For example, the trunk light in my wife’s car was not working, but the bulb looked fine. So we had it checked out. Sure enough, a switch had gone bad and would cost almost $200 to replace. We chose not to replace the switch, and to use a flashlight for finding things in the trunk from now on. 

When we picked up the car, the mechanic told us he intentionally (and unnecessarily) cut a wire to the switch. We were never told of his intention to cut the wire, and therefore never gave him permission to cut it, which made us mad. 

We called the service manager the next day, and he expressed shock at what his mechanic had done. He fixed it the next day and returned the car to the condition in which we brought it in. Lesson learned: Respect your customers by not assuming you, as the expert, can make decisions for them.

Another example is our quest to find someone to do some brick work around our house. We encountered one landscape company after another that never returned calls, or that scheduled appointments and never showed up. We came close to finding one when a guy showed up only to change his price without informing us. We discovered the discrepancy on our own. Lesson learned: Respect your customers by not deceiving them to make more money.

Perhaps business is so good that these landscape companies don’t need our money and can afford to coldly turn down our business. If this is the case, we understand. But they’d be better served by telling us the truth and earning our respect rather than blowing us off and losing it forever. 

Similarly, with the booming housing market, it would not be surprising for a home builder to turn down extra business. More work means more headaches, right? Well, some experts continue to insist that the housing bubble is ready to burst. Others don’t. Even if experts can’t agree on the bubble theory, they agreed at a recent NAHB economic forecast conference that if the bubble doesn’t burst, the boom is at least expected to slow down. 

What better motivation does a company need to start lining up future business than an expected market slowdown? Beat the rush and invest in your business’ future by doing a good job now. Do yourself a favor and continue to respect your customers, because every happy customer could be a source of business when times get tough.

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