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No Sales Goodwill Here April 10, 2009

Posted by David Dirks in Dealing With Competitors, Keeping Your Customers.
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David DirksThis morning I went to a local printer I use for to a quick print job I needed for a presentation.  I walked in the shop and begin to explain what I have and what needs to be done.  The woman at the counter simply says, ‘we’re closed’ and points to the sign on the outside near the door…yup the sign says you are closed.  However, the lights are on in the shop and the door is open.  Not only that, the sign says they are normally open from 8am to 5pm on Fridays.  How would I know they decided to ‘close’ today?

What’s worse is the part when I ask here if she knows of another printer who could do the job.  She meekly says a name of a office supply store which I won’t name but you wouldn’t have your resume printed there.  It’s not there thing.  No big deal right? Well, except that the store she named wasn’t even close by.  And right next store, in the strip mall next to theirs is a Minuteman Press.

So I’m thinking to myself, you will send me to some schlocky outfit rather than your competitor next door?  Is that the best you can do for me, the customer?  I think not.  So, I took my business over to the Minuteman Press.  He was open and took care of me right way and, pretty much by default, he earned my business today.  By the way, the job I had in hand was worth several hundred dollars.

So, here are a few points worth noting from this sad tale.

  • If you can’t do the job, recommend one of your competitors who can.  This was the ‘moment of truth’ that the first printer flunked with flying colors.  I would have appreciated the close proximity of the press next door and my ability to get the project done today.  I would have felt gratitude to them for helping me find the appropriate printer.  It would have earned them much goodwill.  Instead, it made me mad and bought them no goodwill whatsoever.
  • If you are going to close your store on a normally busy day during your regular business hours, don’t close unless you absolutely have to.  Except for an emergency, your customers are expecting you to be open.

Trust me when I say this:  the first printer didn’t seem to care about my need for immediate, high quality printing.  “We closed”, is the only advice I really got.  Well, keep that up and you will be closed…only permanently.

There.  I feel better now. 🙂

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