One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses making is a lack of respect for the customer and poor customer service. In reality these are two halves to the same problem. I call it "You Owe ME" attitude. I can name off several examples but the most recent one will illustrate the idea nicely.
During a recent bout of rain and wind one of our larger trees fell across the fence that separates us from our neighbours. It fell on the fence in such a way that their dogs could get into our yard and our chickens could get into their yard. Either way a bad situation. Being responsible home owners we called a tree service listed in the phone book.
The owner of the company came out, looked at the damage and the size of the tree, and quoted us a price for removing the tree. He also made an appointment for the next day to get the tree off the fence, so we could go about repairing the rest of the damage. Well, appointment time came and went with no tree service and no phone call. PeterC called them again and the said "Oh, we didn't have time today but we'll be there at 7:00 am tomorrow." Fair enough, they were busy but they could have called to tell us they couldn't make their appointment especially since PeterC had to take time off from work to be here.
The next day rolled around and again no one showed up or called. PeterC had to take the day off to make sure he was here to deal with the tree service guys. At 9:00 am he called their office. The receptionist had no idea who he was or when the tree guys would be out. The while PeterC was on the phone she says "Oh, he just walked in. Let me asked him." He, the person who had made these appointments and owned the business replies, "OH, just tell him we'll be there tomorrow."
And that is the trouble with most businesses. They do not care about the customer, the customer's time, or anything else. All they had to do was ask the receptionist to call to move the appointment and that would have at least been one step to showing some respect for the customer. A simple voice message telling us they were running behind would have allowed PeterC to go in to work an hour late as opposed to 4 hours late. And, we would have been willing to work with them to make a new appointment that was better for both us and them.
Instead their listing in the phone book has a mark next to it. A mark that reminds us that this company failed to show for appointments or call to tell us what was happening. A mark that will remind us to never use them again. A mark that tells us and everyone we know that this company can not be trusted, is unreliable, and a waste of a phone call. In other words, an all around bad experience.
In the end we contacted another tree service who arrived that afternoon and started removing the tree. They told us up front that they would have to finish it the next day and they did not require PeterC to be on hand for them to finish the work. And, they did exactly as promised and the bill ended up being less than they estimated on top of all that. If we need more trees removed, or even some trimming done, guess who we are going to call first. And, all it took was doing what they said they would do.