Better Business
Through Innovative Thinking
Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Make Great Customer Service Your Priority

14 Aug

Cust Svs smilingPay attention to the little things, for they can add up quickly.

If it is true we only get one chance to make a good first impression, why do so many professionals out there continue to believe we will forgive them for slighting us, over and over again?

Our Promotional Marketing and Consulting business takes us in to about every industry out there. Anyone who is has competition in their industry becomes someone we can usually help, so when we find out what they truly need to capture more market share, we turn to hundreds and hundreds of our best supplier partners for help in recommending the right strategy, tactics and products that will help us help them meet their objective. It is smooth sailing, most of the time, but when we hit a glitch with a supplier, we find out very quickly whether that supplier sees the bigger picture or is just going to look out for themselves.  It happened again today.  Perhaps you can identify with this story.

We chose a product to show to one of our top clients. The  client chose the item, we notified the supplier partner and placed the order.  The item arrived to the client damaged.  This is where the ‘fun’ began, because when the supplier found out that their warehouse person pulled the product, packaged it up and sent it in a way that would damage the item, the supplier already knew he would lose money on the job, because the product had to be returned to the factory, the part replaced, the new product reshipped to the client and they had to hurry it up.

But, because it was a relatively small order to begin with, all my supplier seemed to care about was how much money it was going to cost his company. Over the phone, I could even detect distrust, as if we made it a habit of trying to take advantage in these situations for some bazaar reason.  Not a thank you for the order, not a I am very sorry this happened and it won’t happen again, just a half hearted attempt to say they would replace the damaged goods.

I notified our very good client we would arrange for UPS to pick up the damaged product and all the client needed to do was box it up and get it ready.  The client’s office happens to be in a more remote area of Florida where UPS doesn’t do daily pickups and deliveries, however, which prompted the client to ask if we could have Fed Ex pick it up.  The supplier doesn’t use Fed Ex, so I was told by the supplier that the client would have to take the oversized package, themselves, to a UPS drop stop, using their own car, their own gas, their own time. By this time, I am starting to fume, largely because this is one of our best clients and I do not want that person further inconvenienced regarding something that was clearly not her fault.

So, I called UPS and found out they would charge $6.78 for the pick up.  Six dollars and seventy-eight cents was all it was going to cost the supplier, extra, to circumvent the client’s further inconvenience and to also back us, the company that found them the business in the first place.

The supplier balked and told me that it is not their policy to do this and they would only do it this one time for me, at a cost of $7.50.


The resistance to caring enough about me and my client’s needs spoke volumes.  Will I go back to this supplier with more business?  Highly unlikely. Will I talk about it to other people?

I have only just begun.

The supplier could have won me for many more orders in the future.  What would that have been worth to them?  Instead, they focused strictly on what it was going to cost them to get this nightmare to go away. The thinking focused on the wrong need, in my opinion, and I think that is a dangerous attitude for any company. Instead, think bigger picture because it is in these times you can win more business if you will take the focus off yourself and place it squarely on the needs of the customer.

© 2017  Dave Ribble, Author & Coach

The Way of The Conscientious Connector

StandOut Marketing Strategies, A Promotional Marketing Consultancy