The world is a constantly evolving creature. Much like each individual person grows and alters with their environment, the world as a whole tends to follow suit. Aspects of the world that don’t move along with the times tend to get left behind, almost like the weaker member of a herd that gets ditched to the rear of the pack. Such is the nature of life.
This concept tends to apply to most aspects of our society. Just think back to the decades preceding the internet. Landline telephones and phone ordering through catalogues were all the rage. But landline telephones have essentially gone the way of the dinosaur and most retail companies no longer entertain the aspect of a catalogue, especially with shopping sites like Amazon floating about. The industry had to follow the times.
The same applies to the business world. Most little mom and pop businesses are slowly disappearing in favour of large chains. Most people tend to forget that those large chains originally started off as mom and pop chains. That being said, it’s important for smaller businesses to understand that they have to keep up with the times as well.
Time for a story…
Last week, I had an unfortunate run-in with a local business. Despite my best efforts to meditate and keep a cool head, I often tend to let my mouth run off before I can stop it (I can almost hear my wife’s head bobbing in agreement…) This generally tends to happen most when I’m dealing with stupidity! But as usual, I digress…
For liability purposes, I won’t name the business in question nor will I specify what the problem was. But needless to say, we had an emergency within the home that required professional help. Given that it was a Sunday afternoon, our options were limited and we already knew we would likely be paying a hefty amount for calling someone out on a weekend.
While I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, my wife was calling the only available option. The person we called, who was obviously the business’ “on call” person, gave us an unreasonably expensive hourly rate and advised that regardless of job length, we’d be billed for a minimum of an hour. I’m not saying I was happy with that, but I expected it. Our situation was dire, so we had no choice.
The nail in the coffin came when we asked to be billed or invoiced, since we were trying to keep things under control at the house and couldn’t leave until the issue got rectified. The on call person made it clear that he would require payment on site and that if we didn’t have it, he wasn’t coming. Just to be clear: He didn’t say he COULDN’T come or that his company’s policies wouldn’t ALLOW him to come. Her very much said “I’m not coming.” I would have likely discussed the possibility of letting him do the work while I went out and got some money, but he couldn’t give us an idea of how long it would take. Hence, no idea how much money to go get. I asked how he expected us to arrange payment if the job ended up taking a few hours and we had no idea how much money to obtain. He seemed unmoved by our plight.
I won’t go as far as to say that I begged, but I repeated the urgent need to be billed or invoiced, which he curtly and adamantly refused. When I began explaining that most businesses in the city would usually bill for payment at a later date, he made it clear that his business has always done it this way and that they’ve done it this way for over thirty years. He also seemed insulted at being compared to these other businesses. The conversation pretty much ended there.
We weren’t able to get anyone else to come help until the following day. The delay caused a mess and some mild damage within our home. I don’t think I need to explain that I was NOT a happy camper.
I consider myself somewhat “old school” in the sense that I’m the last person to jump online and start bashing a business that gives me bad service (or in this case, no service). As a general rule, I’ll simply avoid using said business in the future. But I have to say, this business pushed my buttons.
When I started to read some of the reviews of this business online, I came to realize that they had a history of problems of this nature with a number of clients. This led me to wonder what has kept them in business for as long as they have been, considering the person we had to help us the following day went above and beyond what we needed and at almost half the cost!
Folks, the world won’t stop changing. That much has been made clear, over and over again. So for the business owners out there, I’m the last person who will ever say that the customer is always right. But in the interest of continuing to have a prosperous business, the customer does still need to be ACCOMMODATED.
Just because something has “always been done this way” doesn’t mean it is right. It may no longer be a viable method of performing your specific task. And this is true of all things in life. We often spend our lives in a routine setting. But eventually, the routine may need to be altered in order to keep up with the ever changing face of the world. Food for thought… ☯