The waiting game

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I’ve spoken before about a key reason the economy is hurting, and I’m going to again: On top of all other factors, professional performance and care for the customer is dying.

The reasons the economy is having a hard time recovering are myriad, with lots of blame to go around. We’ve talked about it here before, as has David DeCristoforo. I don’t usually repeat rants about the economy from as recently as a month ago, but an experience this morning is an excellent example of what I was getting at.

A week ago we bought a new kitchen appliance, and delivery was scheduled for today between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (It’s shortly after 10 a.m. as I write this). I planned my day around it, even rescheduling a routine doctor appointment to clear that timeframe. A few minutes ago – less than an hour before my delivery window – I received a call saying that because of the snowstorm we had, the delivery was canceled. It’s now going to be another whole week before we get that appliance, and considering that the appliance it’s replacing doesn’t work, that’s somewhat of a hardship.

But OK, a storm is a storm and things get messed up, right? Well, this is Tuesday, and that snowstorm that caused today’s cancelation was on Sunday night. Everything is clear now (the storm was only 5" of snow), and has been for the last 24 hours. Sure, there could be things about the delivery I don’t know, like maybe the delivery truck was destroyed in the storm, or perhaps even the shipment on the truck including my new appliance, were damaged. That would be understandable.

But why, then, are they calling now, less than an hour before the scheduled delivery window? Whatever that storm did to cancel deliveries was known when it occurred; at the very worst, they had to know yesterday – early yesterday, for that matter – that they weren’t going to deliver today. So why call me, and presumably every other person expecting a delivery, literally just minutes before they were expected?

I can already hear you telling me that’s what I get for dealing with those Big Box stores who don’t care about customers anymore; you’ve said that to me and David often enough in the past. But the thing of it is, is that this was a local company where I got the appliance, and it was a local delivery firm that was doing the install. I thought local business was the be-all, end-all of good customer service.

Instead, as I noted in last month’s blog on the same subject, this lackadaisical attitude toward professionalism and customer service when conducting business applies across the board. It’s not just the Big Boxes or the overseas businesses. The local Mom-and-Pop business can be just as guilty.

A.J.

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