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  • Semi-OT,Business,people and the internet

    This is partly a gripe and partly a lesson of life,feel free to contribute.

    Things I have learned in doing business is that 99.5% of the time,if a company either doesn't respond to a quote or catalog request in a reasonable amount of time,they aren't worth dealing with.
    The reverse is also true,speedy service in both quotes and information requests usually mean that they are at least on the ball.

    It amazes me that a company will go to great lengths on ad campaigns,websites and catalogs,yet they won't simply answer an e-mail.

    If weeks and months go by between the time the request is made and the material is provided,then that most times means the service will be the same.

    I've heard quite a few excuses why over the years they range from"well we don't really have a person to handle internet requests" to "we recommend that you order directly instead of off our website"
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    WTH?-Then why do you have an "information request" box on your website? And if your online ordering doesn't work,then why does that page even exist?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I realize that the concept of service is a rare and even foreign idea now and days,but geez,when the system is setup from jump not to be touched by human hands until the product(s) are being stuffed into boxes and shipped, that's going a little beyond sorry.

    At work we have accounts with over 70 different vendors,some large some small.The service has ranged from really great to so p*** poor it isn't even funny.

    We have one bolt company,while they deliver a good product and a good price,they never,ever in 10 years have ever gotten a single order right,not one.

    On the flip side we have a bearing and PT vendor who has gone into work on a Sunday,picked up our parts and then drove them in from 70 miles away as a courtesy.

    Is it just me,or do some companies not want to stay in business?
    I just need one more tool,just one!

  • #2
    Depending on others as part of your business....

    Weirdscience;
    Try being a middle-person in providing goods & services to your customers...
    With Plumbing fixtures & appliances; Kohler couldn't keep spare parts on hand for faucets for more than 5 years and they may source parts for the same model faucet from more than one supplier. Toilets are similar. I've special ordered parts for a $680.00 faucet that didn't fit & couldn't be returned, so they said. Over priced crap in my book.
    Rheem couldn't build a commercial water heater that lasted more than 2 years if you gave them all the design engineers in India....The warranty service sucks bigtime. Yet both these companies are still in business.
    Good point about websites. I guess a lot of people get sucked by a sales unit that spins a great storey. They may believe it will be an "automatic salesman" that will increase their sales and not want to be paid....(had similar sounding speils myself, hung up on the poor sales being. ) I have several suppliers with useless websites, more use to just open the catalog and use the phone.
    Have fun with the screwdrivers...

    Comment


    • #3
      It is amazing that they do stay in business. On the other hand, it just shows that there is always room for a new business in a crowded field if they are willing to put forth that extra effort. They will take away business from other long established firms. If anybody is thinking about jumping in, go ahead, and do it right! Especially if you are really good at what you do and are really tight with collecting the bills. If somebody doesn't want to pay on time, they aren't worth keeping as a customer so go find another one.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ****s42000
        Weirdscience;
        Try being a middle-person in providing goods & services to your customers...
        With Plumbing fixtures & appliances; Kohler couldn't keep spare parts on hand for faucets for more than 5 years and they may source parts for the same model faucet from more than one supplier. Toilets are similar. I've special ordered parts for a $680.00 faucet that didn't fit & couldn't be returned, so they said. Over priced crap in my book.
        Rheem couldn't build a commercial water heater that lasted more than 2 years if you gave them all the design engineers in India....The warranty service sucks bigtime. Yet both these companies are still in business.
        Good point about websites. I guess a lot of people get sucked by a sales unit that spins a great storey. They may believe it will be an "automatic salesman" that will increase their sales and not want to be paid....(had similar sounding speils myself, hung up on the poor sales being. ) I have several suppliers with useless websites, more use to just open the catalog and use the phone.
        Have fun with the screwdrivers...
        OMG! how do you not go nuts and start shooting?

        Parts,when customers ask me about parts availability I tell them not likely since by the time it breaks the company is likely to A,be out of business B,sold to another company,or worst of all C,sold to another company and chopped up in the process into 15 new divisions none of which support any of the old product even if IT'S THE EXACT SAME UNIT
        I just need one more tool,just one!

        Comment


        • #5
          Hah. Try the computer business. Computer years are worse than dog years. Stuff like memory gets hard to find in only a couple of years as it is superceded by new technology. If a computer is more than a few years old it usually isn't worth fixing even though you may have paid well over $1000 or much more for it.

          Most business failures are self induced. One of the most common causes of failure for really small business is failure to remit sales tax. A well run business provides a quality service or product in a timely manner, stands behind those services or products and makes the customer feel that they received fair value for the money. It is essential to collect what is owed and extending credit is best left to those who make a business of it.

          Complaining about competition and badmouthing competitors is a good way to shoot your business in the head. The way to be successful is to distinguish yourself from the competition.

          I do that in my business by providing the best possible service for my customers. I know what I am doing and never try to BS the customer. Most people have well developed BS detectors even if they don't know anything about the subject at hand.

          I never charge for work that doesn't result in a repair to the satisfaction of the customer (and myself). I always have time to listen to what they have to say. I never make them feel stupid and never try to assign blame for a problem even if it was a BDU fault (brain dead user). I am still in business after 8 years and always make a profit. I do no advertising but do contribute to some local charities.


          If you have a good product that somebody needs at a price that people are willing to pay then the rest is up to how the business is managed and the attitude of the management. As with all human endeavors you will find a spectrum from excellent to terrible. The process of selection of the fittest is every bit as ruthless in business as it is in nature and the poorly managed business will fail, sooner than later.
          Last edited by Evan; 06-13-2006, 02:37 AM.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

          Comment


          • #6
            About a year ago I wasn't having a very good day.

            Phone goes and some guys says:

            "Can you tell me how much you will charge me to .............

            "Look mate if you have to ask then you can't afford it" and slammed the phone down.

            Still don't know who it was..........

            ************

            My fax line is on a withheld number and to be honest I don't know why I keep it as I don't use the fax, mainly email.
            So any calls on the fax machine have got to be cold calls and twonks.
            To get by our laws on calling withheld numbers they ring from calling centres in India.
            We get two main types of call, Personal Injury and free mobile telephones.
            When the fax machine rings I sprint for it, floor withstanding and the personal injury calls go something like this:

            "Hello? " [ slow quaky voice ]
            " Could I speak to Mr John please [ Indian voice ]
            "Hello ?"
            "could I speak to Mr John please"
            "Hello ?"
            "Is Mr John there please?"
            "There's no Mr John lives here"
            " No Mr John ? [amazed Indian voice ]
            "No there's only me lives here"
            "Well whilst you are on the phone can you tell me if you have had an injury at work ?"
            "No, never had an injury at work"
            "Have you had an injury at home then ?"
            "No never had an injury at home either " [ still using quaky voice ]
            "Have you ever had any injuries ?"

            "Had one in 1944 at Tobruck, - I'm 84 you know [ proud quaky voice]

            "Sorry to have troubled you - have a nice day......................"

            .
            .

            Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



            Comment


            • #7
              "Is it just me,or do some companies not want to stay in business?"


              I've been asked a number of times why I haven't responded to such and such request, and even sometimes "don't you want the business?"

              I can't speak about the vendors you've had bad experiences with, but over the years I've developed a sense of which people will turn into worthwhile customers as opposed to those who will only waste my time.

              For a small business responding, quoting, etc equals time. And time equals money. Many times I choose to ignore these requests. It's easy to ignore faxes, emails, etc. The in-person show-up's are something else... For instance if a person approaches me announcing he's an inventor I politely slam the door in his face (I've never in 25 years met a "real" inventor who called himself an inventor). Another door slam to people wanting repair work done, they seldom understand how much time it takes. Another to guys with a small job who would like to see the work being done. Anyway, we've always been far to busy to fool around even spending the time explaining to some people why we aren't interested in them or their requests.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by John Stevenson
                About a year ago I wasn't having a very good day.


                "Hello? " [ slow quaky voice ]
                " Could I speak to Mr John please [ Indian voice ]
                "Hello ?"
                "could I speak to Mr John please"
                "Hello ?"
                "Is Mr John there please?"
                "There's no Mr John lives here"
                " No Mr John ? [amazed Indian voice ]
                "No there's only me lives here"
                "Well whilst you are on the phone can you tell me if you have had an injury at work ?"
                "No, never had an injury at work"
                "Have you had an injury at home then ?"
                "No never had an injury at home either " [ still using quaky voice ]
                "Have you ever had any injuries ?"

                "Had one in 1944 at Tobruck, - I'm 84 you know [ proud quaky voice]

                "Sorry to have troubled you - have a nice day......................"

                .
                Well at least you get a living person

                Automated operators are all the rage it seems,apparently they are a status symbol of sorts.I call it the "oooohh look how big and important we are" sydrome.
                I can understand it for a company like GE,or General Motors that is large enough to need the call screening,but a hole in the wall joint with two employees?
                I got "if you need sales press 1,if you need tech support press 2,if you need customer assistance press 3" from one vendor.

                Just for fun I called and pressed 1,then I called back and pressed 2 and finally called back and pressed 3,got the same guy all three times,must be a busy guy
                I just need one more tool,just one!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have finally learned how to deal with cold call telemarketers. I am a receptionist at a small firm....yes, I could just hang up on them, but that looks bad if you have people in the lobby.

                  Is so and so there?
                  No, he was fired, you now want to speak to bob.
                  Is he there?
                  No, he's out of the office for the day.

                  Now, we of course do not have a bob that works here...so it at least tells you every time they call and ask for bob that they can sit on hold for as long as you want...until they finally give up.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    When I started my online business I was often spending 6 hours a day answering email inquiries (I didn't even bother answering the phone or else I never would have got any work done). Many of the emails led to sales but I was not hurting for sales, while I was hurting for more time in the shop.

                    Things I have done to spend less time talking to customers and not getting paid for it are 1) disconnect the phone, 2) add a FAQs page and 3) add an online forum where the customers can ask their questions. When a question is answered on the forum, 200 people read it and that saves me from answering 200 seperate emails.

                    That said, I'll admit that customer service is not my strong point. Why? Because I only make money when I'm in the shop making stuff.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a problem sometimes with sales people. I usually know what I want before I call a company so I don't waste time. I do a lot of tinkering big time
                      with different things. I called a supplier of heating element wire for a heat treating oven I was making, the receptionist transfered me to sales a man answered asked me what company I worked for-- Myself --he cursed me for 5 minutes for wasteing his time. I asked him his name and hung up and the longer I thought about it the more upset I became. I called the CEO and told him maybe I wanted 10 tons of wire. The salesman was fired because he was doing a lot of this. I can understand if you don"t want to deal with me don't be rude.
                      SOL

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jontwo13
                        I called the CEO and told him maybe I wanted 10 tons of wire. The salesman was fired because he was doing a lot of this.

                        Ahhh, sweet justice.


                        I guess I have more than the usual amount of faith in the way our capitalist system works. With the exception of some particular very large monopolies (Microsoft comes to mind), it's simply survival of the fittest. SOTF is not always swift, but eventually, inferior businesses fail. If you have lousy customer service, you better be damn sure you have a great product or some other thing to compensate for it. (In Microsoft's case, it's well funded marketing, corporate aquisition, and legal departments.) The sales and customer service components of a company are usually the face of a company, so if the company fails the "first impression" test, the odds are against a "second date".

                        OTOH, if you have a less-than-perfect product, but excellent sales and service, you can still do well. I stayed with an ISP longer than I might have because, although the product (internet access) fell short from time to time, the support was superb.
                        The curse of having precise measuring tools is being able to actually see how imperfect everything is.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Telemarketers

                          The phone rang as I was sitting down to my evening meal, and as I answered it I was greeted with "Is this Karl Drummer". Not sounding anything like my name, I asked who is calling.

                          The telemarketer said he was with the Rubber Band Powered Freezer Company or something like that. Then I asked him if he knew Karl personally and why was he calling this number.

                          I then said off to the side, "get some pictures of the body at various angles and the blood smears", I then turned back to the phone and advised the caller that he had entered a murder scene and must stay on the line because we had already traced this call and he would be receiving a summons to testify in this murder case.

                          I questioned the caller at great length as to his name, address, phone number at home, at work, who he worked for, how he knew the dead guy and could he prove where he had been about one hour before he made this call.

                          The telemarketer was getting very concerned and his answers were given in a shaky voice. I then told him we had located his position and the police were entering the building to take him into custody, at that point I heard the phone fall and the scurrying of his running away.

                          My wife asked me as I returned to our table why I had tears streaming down my face and so help me, I couldn't tell her for about fifteen minutes.
                          My meal was cold, but it was the best meal in a long, long time.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Beautiful,I gotta try that one!

                            Originally posted by Duct Taper
                            Telemarketers

                            The phone rang as I was sitting down to my evening meal, and as I answered it I was greeted with "Is this Karl Drummer". Not sounding anything like my name, I asked who is calling.

                            The telemarketer said he was with the Rubber Band Powered Freezer Company or something like that. Then I asked him if he knew Karl personally and why was he calling this number.

                            I then said off to the side, "get some pictures of the body at various angles and the blood smears", I then turned back to the phone and advised the caller that he had entered a murder scene and must stay on the line because we had already traced this call and he would be receiving a summons to testify in this murder case.

                            I questioned the caller at great length as to his name, address, phone number at home, at work, who he worked for, how he knew the dead guy and could he prove where he had been about one hour before he made this call.

                            The telemarketer was getting very concerned and his answers were given in a shaky voice. I then told him we had located his position and the police were entering the building to take him into custody, at that point I heard the phone fall and the scurrying of his running away.

                            My wife asked me as I returned to our table why I had tears streaming down my face and so help me, I couldn't tell her for about fifteen minutes.
                            My meal was cold, but it was the best meal in a long, long time.
                            Damn that's funny as hell,gotta try it.

                            Reminds me of the time a buddy and I were working rebuilding a engine on a gravel dredge.

                            It was a 12v71 Detroit,not an engine you can teardown and rebuild in 30 minutes.
                            Guy we were working for kept calling us every ten minutes asking when we would be done.

                            After the tenth call I decided to have some fun.

                            He asked how it was going and I said-

                            "Oh man it's going a lot faster now that the Coast Guard has the fire out"

                            Fire!?! What fire!?

                            "Oh not to worry,any minute now they'll have the oil slick contained in a boom and they'll give us the go ahead to start working again"
                            I just need one more tool,just one!

                            Comment

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