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Bad Attitudes, Grudges Held Have No Home in the Small Business

Lamentable Truths, That's Customer Service
March 30th, 2011 No Comments »

I received an event e-vite today from a Facebook “friend.” I use “friend” loosely. She was a client who, after I delivered the one project I wrote for her and her organization, she acknowledge receipt. But after that, nada. She never replied to my emails asking for feedback. She never returned my calls. She never responded to messages left with her peers collaborating with her on the project.

So I’m a vendor scorned. Sort of. I eventually got paid. But others ran interference for her, and processed the invoice in her stead, and apologized for aloof abstentia.

Then the evite arrives in my inbox. My gut said, “The Nerve!”

But then I thought, Is the small business any place for resentment, a bad attitude, harboring ill will or holding a grudge?

Probably not – unless you’ve been horribly, irreparably wronged. Otherwise, simple bad client behavior overlooked today could result in paying work tomorrow (and after all, I did get paid).

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Small Business Pricing and the Cost of Loyalty

That's Customer Service
August 24th, 2010 No Comments »

We were pricing new flooring for our master bedroom recently. Nothing extravagant, but enough money that we needed to price-shop (heck, if you price shop for a ream of paper or a toner cartridge, I guess a room full of floors deserves similar treatment). We ended up getting our floors — and a lesson in small business pricing strategies.

We called a three local flooring companies. They came out, measured our bedroom, and matched some sample product to their prices. Then I called the friend of a friend. He went through the same process — and came in 20% higher than the next highest bid.

So, based on recommendations and an inspection of a previous job they’d done, I went with the middle of the three — NOT the friend.

When he called to inquire what we intended to do, and I told him the truth: He was out of the ballpark so I went with someone else — and saved about $300.

“Why didn’t you tell me? I told you I would have beaten any price,” he complained.

“You weren’t even competitive in the first place,” I said. “I don’t appreciate prospects beating me down on price, and I wasn’t going to do that to you.”

It’s a fine line in small business pricing policies and strategies. Do you price what’s fair — or what you think you can muster from a client? Similarly, when working with vendors, do you beat them down, or assume the best price they’ve offered is the best they can do?

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Hey, Customer Service: I’m Just a Home Officer Only Trying to Help

That's Customer Service
September 15th, 2008 No Comments »

As a home office journalist and blogger, I get a chance to try out some really cool stuff and interact with some really great companies. I also come across dud products and Duh! companies, too.

Case in point: I demo’d The Sanctuary power charging station from BlueLounge Designs. It’s a very cool repository for all your power-hungry tech gear. With adaptors for up to 1,500 different products — MP3s, cell phones, data devices, GPSs and the like — it’s an effective de facto “home” for those of us who our wives are keen to note we’d LOSE OUR HEAD IF IT WASN’T ATTACHED. (yes, dear…)

They have great stuff, and they’re a company I no doubt will be following down the road.

Then there was a recent online interaction I had with VistaPrint…. Read More »

Tap Tech & Deliver to Make Your Home Office ‘Virtual’ Firm Look Big

Create & Run Your Biz, Telework & Virtual Officing, That's Customer Service, Uncategorized
July 29th, 2008 No Comments »

I received an email from Prasoon this week. His dilemma was nothing new: How can I make my home-based virtual market research firm not seem like a scattering of home offices across the landscape? Credibility was his concern.

Fair enough question. Overlooking for the moment my issues with those companies that try to hide the fact that they’re home-based and all the benefits that come in kind (like greater employee/vendor balance, and lower costs vs. corporate officing, and the associated financial benefits to clients), I nonetheless understood Prasoon’s concern.

The central solution boils down to “branding.” While Prasoon seemingly wasn’t looking for a branding / positioning solution, that’s the simplest answer. Read More »

Sure, Your Throughput Stinks. Here’s 60 Bucks – and a Few Tips to Getting What You Pay For

Commentary, That's Customer Service
April 18th, 2008 No Comments »

What’s a year’s worth of 3 mbps broadband worth? $450? Seventy-five bucks? Priceless? AT&T seems to value it at $60.65.

As a home office worker, I’m caught between saving my sheckels and spending to improve my business operations. When I spend anything, I do my due diligence (here’s a great FreelanceSwitch post from Skellie on treating yourself every now and again).

So when I lost my DSL connection last week, and?called customer service the second time to get a status report, I happened to mention slow speeds. Once Sarah got me up and running, she offered to run a speed test. “You’re paying for Extreme, but getting half that speed.”

Putting aside the?concept of a broadband vendor actually admitting to underdelivery,?I was paying?double, but getting half. Apparently my CBA (cost benefit analysis) was based on faulty information … Read More »

A Nod to a Great Home Office Tool

News & Reviews, That's Customer Service
April 5th, 2008 No Comments »

Mag-LiteEvery once in a while, you come across a product that’s been designed great, outperforms its specs, and begs a nod to its maker.

I had that experience this week with my 22-year-old Mag-Lite.

Who cares about a flashlight? If you work from home, a flashlight is one of the must-have power tools you shouldn’t be without (the others are a small Phillips and flat head screwdriver, hemostats [as pliers], and even a pocket-sized flashlight for poking around dark places, like behind the PC or in the cable/wire chase).

But my experience with my Mag-Lite really stole the show, captured my attention, made me think about how a killer product delivers beyond expectations, and begged for a little public display of affection (PDA). My message is below (I’d also like to hear about what tools YOU think are must-haves in the home office). Read More »

Home Business Customer Service 101: Listen & Answer – or Lose

Commentary, Marketing & Publicity, That's Customer Service
March 21st, 2008 No Comments »

Got this from?Marcia Yudkin this week. As you read it, think about where you fall in the customer service continuum – regardless of whether you’re in a home office, a retail shop or the corporate tower downtown…

She came across?an?interview with a veteran marketer who said: “If you think that buying my $2000 product lets you ask?me questions, that’s not a reasonable expectation.”

Her response: “Wow…” Read More »

Do Retailers or Home Officers Really Want to Know Their Flaws?

Commentary, That's Customer Service
March 14th, 2008 No Comments »

Humans are creatures of habit.

That’s good — and bad. It’s good, in that habit?can be?— as Aristotle said — the path to excellence. It’s bad, if all our habits only duplicate bad experiences or events. As a home officer and small business owner, I strive to deliver good service, acknowledge or reward the good service of others, and let business owners and managers know when they or their people have gone awry.

When service takes too long, or a product isn’t in stock, or a staffer is rude, I would like to believe that owners or managers would like to know. My kids get embarrassed when I pipe up (to which I always tell them, “Never get embarrassed in front of someone you’ll never see again…,” and “It’s always?good policy to complain about a restaurant?after the food has arrived”).

The following tale is about a customer service experience gone bad — and my humble efforts to make it good (and a manager who took the baton and won the day). Read on, thinking whether you, 1. Would have done the same thing, 2. Would have appreciated someone making the effort, or 3. Think I’m wacked for even caring so much about?my morning?cup of tea — and realize now why my kids cringe when I beckon the manager… qy千赢提款 游戏对战平台排行榜


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