Service In The Global Financial Crisis

7 August 2009

As a business owner in the GFC, the question I am asked the most is how we are being affected. I feel incredibly lucky to answer that we are doing well and that to date, although we are aware and cautious of what is going on, we feel that our business is as strong as ever. I would like to think that a great deal of this is down to service ... I am constantly at my staff to maintain an excellent quality of service in all aspects of our business. It fascinates me that businesses feel that they can get through these tough economic times without it.

As a business owner in the GFC, the question I am asked the most is how we are being affected. I feel incredibly lucky to answer that we are doing well and that to date, although we are aware and cautious of what is going on, we feel that our business is as strong as ever. I would like to think that a great deal of this is down to service ... I am constantly at my staff to maintain an excellent quality of service in all aspects of our business. It fascinates me that businesses feel that they can get through these tough economic times without it.

Banks ... (have I lost half of you already? I promise to keep it short). We recently went through the experience of changing from one large bank to another. I quickly learnt that they do not care about losing your business. After two months I am still hoping to receive a phone call from them asking my reasons for leaving after 15 years of loyalty, but come on who am I, are we that important to the bank? Of course not! The media recently went into a frenzy at the announcement that the banks were to cut their exorbitant debit fees – why give them praise for this move? To me, this simply means that in the past we have all been taken for a huge ride and robbed.

In 2008, a long saga began with another large multinational freight company, to whom we had been loyal customers to for 10 years. In a nutshell, they lost or damaged five freight consignments over a period of two months. Having got through the nightmare of paperwork and some of the worst customer service ever experienced, we decided to use them for another large consignment overseas, which again arrived damaged, causing us to lose a big client and cost several thousands of dollars. Had there been some kind of care, apology, kindness, and service from the beginning, perhaps the whole thing could have been resolved without hours of work, lawyers’ fees, and even court appearances (we won).

The final experience was just last week when I found myself with seven other businessmen, wandering the streets of Sydney on a Monday night looking for somewhere to eat dinner. We wanted to spend money, we were ready to spend money ... and we were hungry after an intense conference. Despite this, it took three attempts to get a table of eight in a restaurant that were simply all dead quiet. The first simply did not want to serve us and after 20 minutes of no one coming to take even a drinks order, we left. The second said that, despite only having two other tables in the restaurant, they could only do two tables of four so we decided to try again. Our final destination, now after 30 minutes of walking was a restaurant in Walsh Bay that was completely quiet. We were lucky to receive a smile and there was no attempt to upsell to us whatsoever. Come on people ... we are in a GFC.

Until next time ...