Updated, November 2016
Big brands are typically bigger than the sum of their parts, until you experience a bad brand experience at a local level. Even if yours is a small business, there’s a lesson in the following story.
A while back, I spent a week at a hotel in small-town Pennsylvania. The hotel chain has a reasonably well-known and positive brand, so I figured I’d be safe. Uh-uh.
At every touchpoint, the experience was disappointing. As a marketer, I am the first one to share my customer experience with management, but that’s where the problems lay. Continue reading
Vendors and consultants unite! It’s time that we demand the type of respect we deserve! Our prospects, customers, and clients should be thinking about their own brands when they take us for granted.
Negative experiences that emanate from them can make them look bad and word-of-mouth works both ways. So, share this Bill of Rights with them and maybe – just maybe, we’ll begin to see some changes in the business landscape.
- When we take the time to prepare an RFP or quote for you, we’d appreciate a response, even if it means that you don’t want our products or services. We often take a considerable amount of time to work these out with YOUR needs in mind, so please be fair and reply when we call or e-mail to follow up. This is about courtesy, not just the cost of doing business.
- Please advise us if you plan on getting umpteen other proposals or quotes. It’s only fair that we know in advance whether we are the only company bidding on your business or if we are competing with many others. That way, we can evaluate whether it is worth our investment of time and effort to join the throngs of others and whether we believe that we have a shot at earning your business.
- Please consider lead times whenever time allows. Products may be back-ordered or take time to fulfill and ship, and services often need to fit into schedules and have a strategy or outline developed. We want to exceed your expectations, so last-minute requests put us at a disadvantage. You want us to look forward to your calls, not dread them, even if we smile and never show our disdain.
- Please expect us to ask you lots of questions, if it’s appropriate. That way, we ensure that we’re getting things right and there are no misunderstandings. Better yet, be open to a written agreement for our work, whether by e-mail or a signed document. That way, both sides are clear on the delivery and outcomes.
- We want to partner with you, not just serve you. We welcome dialog and conversations that allow us to get to know each other so we can anticipate your needs and give you our advice. We also value your direction if you have preferences. We can’t read your mind.
- Be honest with us and communicate. If we disappoint you in any way, please tell us so we can set things right. Don’t just keep it in and then ditch us. Maybe there’s been some miscommunication, or others on your end that contributed to a misunderstanding. Of course, if we disappoint you too frequently, then it’s our fault if you decide to walk.
- If you’re thrilled with us, refer us to others. There’s no better way to show your appreciation.
- Please recognize that we are in business to make a living. We have the same responsibilities that you do and pay similar bills and overhead costs. When we offer you a fair price for the work we do or the products we sell, sure you have the right to go elsewhere if you find them for less. But, cheaper doesn’t mean better. We value our relationship with you and will often give you added value in our time, research, business introductions, and special offers.
- Please pay your invoices in a timely fashion. For those of us who operate small businesses, cash flow is essential to our daily operations. We find it uncomfortable to hound you for money. If you need to stagger your payments or pay by credit card, please let us know in advance and we’ll work with you.
- Please give us feedback. If you like what we do, tell us. It never goes out of style to hear the words, “Thank you.”