Categorized | Business



By Tom Irmen

SIW, or self-inflicted wound, describes the act of harming oneself.

I remember a conversation I had many years ago with a business mentor that I continue to hold in the highest regard. I was sharing with him the poor customer service experience that I was having with a particular sub-contractor I had recently hired. His words of wisdom to me were to lower my expectations and thus, maintain my sanity. I regarded his recommendation as being somewhat cynical, but there have been more than a few similar experiences throughout the years where his recommendation has helped to preserve my sanity.

This raises the question, “How do your customers view your small business?”

Great customer service is a no brainer. Great customer service paves the way for a future of exciting success for both you and your small business. Poor customer service, on the other hand, will relegate you to a world of mediocrity. Poor customer service is little more than a SIW.

With the differences between great and poor customer service so significant, why do some companies choose the latter? I simply don’t know. It defies common sense. Customers view you negatively, and you pay for it with sub-par results. You gain nothing. In fact, poor performance usually requires a greater effort in time and money than great performance.

I recently had an experience with an area company whose communications ended immediately upon receipt of the required down payment. During the next 10 weeks, there was zero communication unless it was initiated by me. Needless to say, our reviews of their performance have been less than stellar.

More recently I contracted with a second area company, which resulted in an entirely different experience. They returned my phone call promptly. They scheduled the date and time that they would arrive to perform their services. They even provided me with the names of the two technicians that were to perform the work, and the CSR left her name and phone number in the event that I needed to contact her for any reason.

Which company would you refer to a friend or neighbor? Does your company experience repeated SIWs? Which company do you own?

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