How to never get repeat business

This week a long expected and long dreaded event finally occurred. We came to work on Tuesday in a torrential downpour and thought we had a ceiling leak. It turns out that the water heater for the bathrooms had finally rusted through.

Today a plumber came to replace the heater.

The heater is conveniently located over our coat rack but we had a bucket under the drip so no ones stuff was getting wet. The ceiling tiles that needed to be removed were also conveniently located over the coat rack and had become waterlogged over the past few days. When the plumber started removing the tiles he didn’t bother to move the coats or even to come ask us to do it. He just started pulling down tile right on top of them. Fortunately, there’s nothing I like better than a coat covered in sour-smelling water and soggy bits of ceiling.

When the plumber left today we found that he hadn’t bothered to clean up after himself. The women’s bathroom was a disaster. Rusty water, bits of ceiling and metal were strewn across the sink, floor and toilet. The hallway outside the bathroom was covered in bits of ceiling tiles and he didn’t even bother to ask if we had replacement tiles to put back in so the ceiling is still the residence of several soggy and broken tiles.

It is clear to me that this guy never expects repeat business.

Of course, this is an extreme example but if you don’t make sure that every step in the sales cycle at your store works well you could leave customers with a similar impression.

The biggest challenge is to set expectations up front that are realistic but also ones that you may beat. Don’t tell a customer that his custom order will be available for pick up in four days if the vendor you are getting the product from typically doesn’t deliver for five. If there are any unexpected delays be sure to keep the customer informed because each day that goes by beyond the date that you promised delivery is another day that the customer is stewing about his order.

Be sure that the impression you leave the customer with won’t be the last impression he ever gets of your business.


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