Sunday, December 13, 2009

Be Authentic in Business So We Know

This past week, I was soooooooo glad that two different businesses I interact with were authentic in their dealings with me. Because of their authenticity and consistent treatment, I've taken my business and hard earned cash to their competitors. Happily.

In the first case, it was a service organization who had no clue how to manage a potential customers expectations. My kids take music lessons and since the school they had been with moved too far south, I'd found another school opening a new studio near my house. We signed up with them months in advance of the opening to secure the spot we desired. Time passed and there was no call from the business to our house to confirm the start of our engagement. I made three calls to the company to gage when we could expect to start the classes. On the final call - two weeks AFTER the classes should be going, the owner was slightly agitated when I pressed to understand the exact date the lessons could start. "We are going to start fresh in the new year and I'll call you to confirm the date."

Further, I asked if they had a referral program because others at the school I patronized were looking for a new location - she said, "No, but I'll happily take the referral and thank you." Then the kicker - the owner asked if I could change the night that I'd secured almost four months prior because she could not work out a teacher.

They were fired that day and I called another nearby studio who had availability on the night I need to accommodate both children - piano and guitar.

A day later, I was attempting to purchase a necklace at an establishment where they experienced a temporary loss of credit card processing with a long line of customers. I was midway through the line and heard that they were accepting checks or cash. So I piped up that I was a cash paying customer and started toward the front of the line. I was immediately admonished that I was "cutting" people who were there before me (all of which were paying with credit or debit). I held out my cash and explained that I was ready while all those people wanted to wait for the credit machine to boot up again. Nothing. I was told to get back in line and they'd wait on me when it was my turn.

They were fired that day and I went to their competitor two days later and purchased the same necklace for about 40% less.

Moral of the story here - believe them! The first time!

Don't think that the business you deal with is just "having a bad day" when you are mistreated.

Don't give them the benefit of the doubt more than once.

Yeah, this is a rant but as a future business owner, it's also a note to my future competitors.

Go ahead, be yourselves.

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