“Courteous Treatment Will Make The Customer A Walking Advertisement“. J.C. Penney.
I am getting old(er), which results in a lack of patience for broken promises, poor service and a failure to communicate when you cannot meet a commitment. Truth be told, I have never had much patience with folks who over promise and under deliver but it is becoming commonplace today. If you are still working, please give my thoughts in this musing consideration. It might make a difference in the survival of your business as courtesy is still revered. Mr. Penney, a proud Missourian made a lot of money relying on courtesy……we can learn from him.
I have always prided myself on candid assessments of goods and services that come my way. It is a perk you earn by spending time on the ground at the mercy of folks who deliver everything from medical care to lawn care and the things you use in your lives. I am on my high horse today because a trusted RV dealer has failed to understand the principles that, to date, has kept him off the social media pages where folks go to absolutely slam this industry.
We have a new RV, the third new unit bought at this dealership. I have not only recommended this store to many others, but have blogged the quality of the sales and service experience here. While on vacation a month or so ago, several rather commonplace problems developed with this latest trailer. Mind you, I have no clue how any structural integrity remains in today’s rather sophisticated RV’s given the state of our roads and bridges.We made an appointment, the first available, for about three weeks out. A week later, we had to cancel that appointment and rescheduled for another three weeks out and delivered the trailer on the appointed day through a steady rain. That was on the 24th of March. I called yesterday (April 1) to check on progress and was told they had not started on our unit, and that it was second in line, likely being brought in to a bay Monday of next week (April 4). Apparently, appointments do not matter. In the interest of fairness, I can conjure up a number of possibilities as to why they could/did not get to our unit as promised. I CANNOT come up with a single reason why they could not pick up the phone and call, advising us there was going to be a delay. This is important as I am confident that at least one of the repairs will require ordering a part from the factory and this will further delay the return of our unit. The bottom line here, pick up the damned phone and communicate with your loyal, repeat customer. You can bet that I will reinforce this perspective, in person, with the dealer when I pick up the trailer.
I feed my lawn all kinds of stuff. This requires access to our back yard, through a locked gate. We have asked, even demanded, that our chemical applicator call the day before he is to do an application. It allows us to make arrangement for the gate opening by a neighbor who has a key, should we not be there. We have replaced an expensive, wooden gate affixed to steel 4×4 imbedded posts as a result of folks climbing over instead of calling. Once again, pick up the damned phone and communicate with your loyal customer. Sharon will burn the house down if a bug finds it’s way inside. We use one of a number of local pest spray services, and they NEVER fail to notify us a day ahead of an application, are on time and obviously value us as customers. We love them, because they pick up the phone and check with us with absolute certainty. Courtesy can happen…….
I am on the Board of Directors for our local Fire and Rescue service. Greene County has built a new jail in our fire district, a state of the art facility. They have chosen to annex this site into the city of Springfield so the city fire service can respond if there is an event. We can’t argue with this concept (our service is not chopped liver, rather is very capable of responding and calling for assistance if needed) but I take great exception to the lack of courtesy in our finding out about the annexation and fire service planning in the local media. Once again, pick up the damned phone and talk with us. Believe it or not, we are all in this together.
I’ll sum this up. Honor your commitments, if you cannot, then communicate the changes to the customer. Finally, wrap the whole interaction in courtesy. It seems elementary but is slipping away from us. Folks have a phone in their pocket damned near from their first steps as a baby until the undertaker hands it to a family member at the end. Use it. Come on folks……courtesy and communication goes a long way….especially when a commitment can’t be met.
Have a great week!