Thursday, November 05, 2009

Making Amends

It's been a while since I posted here, and much has happened in between:
A daughter's marriage...the birth of a kidney know, life.

Honestly, I've discovered that that stinkin' Facebook sucks up an inordinate amount of time, too. If they'd just leave the silly thing alone so we all don't have to keep relearning where everything is and what everything does every 30-days, that would be a help.
Still, it's no excuse for not keeping this more current...

(The FB page for the Radio Show is one you should stick close to--we're developing some interesting attractions that you will only be able to access through CNN650MorningShow on Facebook, so stay tuned...or, perhaps the more accurate tease should be, "stay logged-on!")

Something happened this evening that I feel compelled to pass along, because it's a good lesson for all of us (not that I expect the true target of my ire to ever see this!) There are lots of businesses being sold and bought as the economy continues to struggle along. If you're finding the timing is right to get out of your business, congratulations on finding a buyer.

If you're purchasing a business, congratulations to you, too, for having the cojones to take on a new project! So--what is the most important element of that operation you just bought?

If you answered "the customer base," you are 1,000% correct, because without them happily continuing to do business with your business, you're screwed. I ran across a business today that may already have a few turns of the screw burrowing into their backside.
Don't make their mistake:

When the company changed hands, there were certain obligations outstanding which the new business owner assumed, including pre-paid gift certificates for services. The agreement was for the new owner to honor the terms of the former owner with regard to redemption of the gift certificates, some of which were purchased by employees of the company at a discount.

My Bride and I were the recipients of one of these gift-certificates--a 90-minute massage package for each of us, purchased at a discount by an employee of the former owner. When we presented the certificate for redemption, we were told it would be honored only for the cash value paid--which essentially worked out to less than half of the intended massage time. A 90-minute massage session became a 30-minute rubdown (which was still nice for the half-hour it lasted...)

The new owner was adamant--only honoring the cash paid.

Here's what happened.
We took the 30-minute massages, and walked out of the business for the last time.
The new owner is clueless.

If they had honored the 90-minute package, we would have likely returned for repeat sessions. We'd likely have told our friends that this is a great place to receive a quality massage at a fair price. We'd likely have bought other gift certificates for our friends.

Not gonna happen now.
By being cheap (and cheating on the terms of the purchase agreement to honor all outstanding obligations), the new owner lost two primary customers, plus the reference power we wield with our friends. The new owner also lost out on additional business opportunities by being unable to book the unused time originally scheduled.

The moral of this tale is a variation on the familiar theme of the customer always being right: Make sure you're making your new/old customers reasonably happy, otherwise they're going to take their business elsewhere.

1 comment:

Crystal said...

I enjoyed reading this! Surprised about the act of "bad business" in this competitive market where luxury and personal items are really being hit hard by the economy. They lost a good future customer!