Monday, May 04, 2009

Seriously, you don't want my business?

I need your help. I want to hear your stories. Tell me about the many ways that businesses tell you that they don't want your business. Please post your stories here or email them to me at lauriebrown@thedifference dot net.

Here is a favorite of mine:

My sister-in-law was recently visiting NYC and wanted to buy a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Her husband googled "Comfort shoes New York." He found a number of shoes stores, one of which was Treadeasy shoes.

She called the number and this is the conversation:

Treadeasy shoes (TS): Hello

Sister-in-law (SIL): Hello, is this comfort shoes?

TS: (Deep sigh) NO! This is TREADEASY comfort shoes.

SIL: Well I am looking for comfort shoes and my husband looked on the internet and your number came up.

TS: (Sigh) This happens ALL the time. You need to return some shoes? They are on the internet and we are not. We are referral only. DId someone refer you?

SIL: No, I am just looking for comfortable shoes.

TS: Well our shoes start at $250 dollars and I am not sure THAT is what you are looking for.

SIL: Well, you are a shoe store, right? And I am looking to BUY some shoes.

TS: (Laugh) Well, OK.

SIL: Where are you located?

TS: Well, we can meet you on 42nd st.

By this time my sister-in-law was tired of trying to give this business her money. She thanked the woman and ended the conversation.

Now to be fair, maybe there is a great deal of confusion about the differences in the stores. But imagine if the conversation went this way instead.

TS: Hello. Treadeasy shoes. My name is______________. How may I help you?

SIL: I am looking for comfortable shoes.

TS: Well, that is great. We specialize in high end comfort shoes through referrals. May I inquire who referred you?

SIL: Actually we found you on the internet. Is there anyway that I can still buy from you?

TS: Of course. Let me tell you a little about our business and how we can show you our shoes.

Now, I don't know their business model. But, I truly believe that a warm greeting and not showing frustration is a good start no matter what your business model is.

I would like you to think about the way that you make it difficult for people to give you their money. Try instead to be warm, helpful and gracious. I can't imagine ANY business in this economy that doesn't need each and every one of their customers.