The business world is brutal, competitive and challenging. Many small organisations do not survive. Many make the mistake thinking it is all about the pricing. But in today's experience-economy era, I would say it is all about the service. Customer service. It can make or break your organisation.
I was looking to order posters and some door gifts for our company's annual dinner and thanks to Mr Google (Ads), my colleague managed to find a supplier nearby who had almost everything we wanted on their friendly and informative website. Excited and armed with the designs our team had in hand, we easily found the vendor.
Wait...Did I say excitement? If I did, that enthusiasm ended as soon as we entered the vendor's office front door. We met several personalities... a not-too-excited looking boss who decided we were 'small-time-business' so passed us on to an even less enthusiastic sales person. We also met a grouchy designer working on his Mac who seemed to complain (right in front of us) about the lack of professionalism in our designs. (If you add RM250, we can do a better job for you, they say!) There seemed to be charges for every slight adjustment they decided we needed to do for our design. We were still OK with that. Then we wanted to select the door gifts, and this is what happened.
"If I were to order this item, how much would it cost?"
"I don't know... it depends on your design."
"OK... the design is right here. Based on this, what would you quote?"
"I don't know... you will need to finalise all the details and I'll need to check with our other supplier"
"I understand... But I just need a ball park figure..."
"(Sighs)...we can't give you a figure just like that... it depends on many things...If you order more then it's better"
"What about the price range for an item like this... just give us a range so we know if it's within our budget"
"I'm not sure. I have to call them and ask"
The conversation went on along those lines for another minute or so. And it all went down hill from there. No smile, no PR, no customer service. We tried to make the deal work, they were more interested in securing a deposit, but not interested in building a relationship.
We left and decided to get a quotation from another printer three doors away. A small scale organisation. But guess what? Huge smiles, take a seat, would you like to drink, how can we help, here's the quote, take your time to decide, it's ok if you need to compare prices... we understand...
It was two different worlds. And within 1.5 hours, one company lost a RM35,000 business and one company secured the deal with a promise of return business.
BOX Solutions's Guest Contributor