How not to deliver customer service


I have a private theory that many small businesses don’t actually want to make any money.

They say they do. But not really. They deliver atrocious customer service, and make stupid, avoidable errors. Then they wonder why they go bust.

I’ll give you an example.

This week, CMP wanted some printing done. We approached two firms in Chichester, West Sussex. One had an online enquiry form. We spent 15 minutes filling it out – only to find it didn’t have a submit button.

So we emailed them, got an autoreply saying they would respond quickly, and have never heard from them since. That was a week ago.

We tried another firm. They got my name wrong, and then made an error in the quotation. I told their director: “Our usual policy with new suppliers is, ‘Any doubt – pull out’. Past experience shows they tend to be the tip of the iceberg in terms of quality.”

Before Christmas, we moved office, and submitted enquiries to five firms.

One replied. They sent a guy round to assess the job. But their written quotation gave the wrong name, wrong moving date, a different price and the wrong address. And they sent it on a web document: we had to download a free trial of some web software to read it.

We all make mistakes. But some businesses seem to make it their Unique Selling Point.

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