Saturday, November 06, 2004

How's Business?

Is the economy good or bad? Is your business successful or not? Two words come to mind, C-U-S-T-O-M-E-R S-E-R-V-I-C-E. I am writing this slowly and in big letters to make a point to anyone that is not doing well or can't understand why they are not more successful. What many businesses and people working for those business seem to forget is the old axiom that the customer is king. (The customer is not always right, but a good business recognizes that and lets the customer think he/she is.) Customers drive businesses. Happy customers drive businesses to success. Unhappy customers drive businesses out of business. So take care of your customers. This is called customer service and it is the most important thing in a service oriented business. How hard is this to comprehend?

This past Monday, I called three tree services and asked them to give me bids to remove the Mexican Fan Palms I posted about earlier. I chose them out of the Yellow Pages and selected them by the size of their ads. You can have the best product in the world and fail miserably if you do not market and advertise your products or services properly. I usually start with the biggest ads knowing that the companies that place them have been established for at least a year and hopefully have the revenue to support the monthly fees. I gave all the three companies the same requirements and both my home and office number, each of which can receive messages. All said that they would get back to me within a day or so. Today is Saturday. After six days of waiting, I receive only one bid to remove the trees. That bid is just under $2000.00. Not as cheap as I would have hoped, but reasonable due to size of the trees, the hauling away of the debris and removing the stumps. Someone ultimately is going to make some money on these trees, but it damn sure isn't going to be the other two vendors I contacted. If they can't even drive by the front of my house and look at two simple trees in a timely fashion how I can trust them to show up and remove my trees? I hope business is that busy for the two vendors that have failed to win my business. I believe in referrals and word-of-mouth. The last thing you want is a customer bad mouthing you.

I don't know if I will go with vendor number three as I want to get competing bids, but I will say that they understand how to service people. I received two confirmation phone calls before they came out and the bid was waiting in my mailbox when I got home. Pretty simple. This company went so far as to leave me a copy of their insurance as well as their contractor's license number. Nice touches that I notice and am always impressed by.

The next time you want to complain about business being bad, make sure you look inward first and ask yourself am I doing everything I can in my position to take care of my company's assests. No matter what job you do, if you draw a paycheck from an employer you have a fiduciary responsibility to protect your employer's business. Plain and simple. If you don't care about these kind of things then you have no business in business and you should try to win the lottery. Until then please find a rock and crawl under it.