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Old 11-21-2008, 09:24 AM   #1
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I'm presenting this a different opinion on our economic situation.

One of the things that happens in an economic downturn is that businesses that are not well managed and an asset to the market place are "shaken out". Those that are barely holding on cannot survive as they were and they either change or go out of business.

My comments are based mostly on two recent events - our purchase of a new(to us) toad and our daughter's car being burglarized. We have purchased or tried to purchase other things, too. From those events and purchase attempts, things needed to happen, parts needed to be ordered, actions needed to be taken.

1. Of 10 orders that I've placed, only one was fulfilled without my intervention - THANK YOU RV UPGRADES! For all of the others, the things that I ordered weren't available, there were backorders or other problems. IN EVERY CASE, noone notified me and even when I contacted some them repeatedly (up to 10 times)promised actions did not occur. For every purchase, lengthy information was collected from me - phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses and ONLY ONCE did any of those with fulfillment problems attempt to contact me. When I order online, I use Pay Pal so for almost every one of those, I paid up front for the products.

2. We attempted to contact our insurance carrier to find out how to proceed with getting the burglarized car repaired. Finally, I made arrangements to have smashed window repaired on my own (to secure the vehicle). It took two of us, multiple days to get hold of the claims representative. When we did, we were given the names of a couple of repair shops. With the first repair shop, multiple calls across multiple days failed to provide a reasonable approach to the situation. It was "drop the car off and we'll call you when it's ready. Oh, by the way, there may be problems with parts since we don't have direct access and we are approaching the holiday season so we might not get to it." Since the vehicle is drivable and there is no rental car option, you can understand why that approach isn't going to work for us.

I fully understand that I'm not the only customer in the world and that businesses are not going to drop everything just to cater to me. I have been spoiled, however, by other situations where the business goes well beyond my highest expectations. Using an Internet website, I located Tenkiller marine in OK and ordered a part for a 30 year old Johnson outboard. Within 24 hours, I had the part in my hand, there were no problems with the billing, I didn't pay a king's ransom for the shipping, the part was exactly the one represented on the website and fit perfectly. If that can happen for a 30 year old outboard engine, the rest of what is happening to me today makes no sense at all - other than a number of businesses need to suffer through harder economic times to get their act together. That starts from the Big 3 car makers and works it way down the line. Hopefully, the businesses that do survive will know why they're business, who their customers are and the best ways to serve them. That is the part that seems to have gotten lost.
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:24 AM   #2
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I'm presenting this a different opinion on our economic situation.

One of the things that happens in an economic downturn is that businesses that are not well managed and an asset to the market place are "shaken out". Those that are barely holding on cannot survive as they were and they either change or go out of business.

My comments are based mostly on two recent events - our purchase of a new(to us) toad and our daughter's car being burglarized. We have purchased or tried to purchase other things, too. From those events and purchase attempts, things needed to happen, parts needed to be ordered, actions needed to be taken.

1. Of 10 orders that I've placed, only one was fulfilled without my intervention - THANK YOU RV UPGRADES! For all of the others, the things that I ordered weren't available, there were backorders or other problems. IN EVERY CASE, noone notified me and even when I contacted some them repeatedly (up to 10 times)promised actions did not occur. For every purchase, lengthy information was collected from me - phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses and ONLY ONCE did any of those with fulfillment problems attempt to contact me. When I order online, I use Pay Pal so for almost every one of those, I paid up front for the products.

2. We attempted to contact our insurance carrier to find out how to proceed with getting the burglarized car repaired. Finally, I made arrangements to have smashed window repaired on my own (to secure the vehicle). It took two of us, multiple days to get hold of the claims representative. When we did, we were given the names of a couple of repair shops. With the first repair shop, multiple calls across multiple days failed to provide a reasonable approach to the situation. It was "drop the car off and we'll call you when it's ready. Oh, by the way, there may be problems with parts since we don't have direct access and we are approaching the holiday season so we might not get to it." Since the vehicle is drivable and there is no rental car option, you can understand why that approach isn't going to work for us.

I fully understand that I'm not the only customer in the world and that businesses are not going to drop everything just to cater to me. I have been spoiled, however, by other situations where the business goes well beyond my highest expectations. Using an Internet website, I located Tenkiller marine in OK and ordered a part for a 30 year old Johnson outboard. Within 24 hours, I had the part in my hand, there were no problems with the billing, I didn't pay a king's ransom for the shipping, the part was exactly the one represented on the website and fit perfectly. If that can happen for a 30 year old outboard engine, the rest of what is happening to me today makes no sense at all - other than a number of businesses need to suffer through harder economic times to get their act together. That starts from the Big 3 car makers and works it way down the line. Hopefully, the businesses that do survive will know why they're business, who their customers are and the best ways to serve them. That is the part that seems to have gotten lost.
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:25 AM   #3
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I agree with your view on the economy. I own a service company and I can't wait until this is over and the weak ones have gone by the wayside (some of them already have). It is getting very difficult for most to stay open in businees right now because the credit has dried up.
My company prides itself on giving "service beyond your expectations", one customer at a time. I am tired of cleaning up the messes of the slugs in town that are in my business and don't have a clue how to treat people or how to run a business because they haven't taken the time to educate themselves. They might be a great Technician but they are lousy business people.
I also agree with your experience with trying to order things online or to get things fixed, I feel your frustration. Thanks for the great post

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Old 11-21-2008, 10:43 AM   #4
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Thanks for your reply, Bob. I suspect that there are lots of good companies like yours out there that are "covered up" by incompetent ones. A friend of mine tried to open a wholesale nursery but had a rough time competing with others who had no idea about their business model and just sold things below their costs. It took a while for them to close their businesses. In the mean time, he was able to generate business by working on customer satisfaction as you do. He survived and prospered when the others were gone.

At the end of the day, I'm a cost conscious as the next guy but believe that quality and customer satisfaction are important elements, too. It is my hope that businesses who agree with all 3 elements are the ones who shine in the downturn.

I also suspected that I wasn't alone in my experiences. While my approach may seem a bit negative, I really think some good can come out of this. It is like Mother Nature "pruning" trees in a wind storm. Unfortunately, she occasionally gets carried away and takes the whole tree out.
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Old 11-21-2008, 12:02 PM   #5
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I believe that there are three elements to any businees and they are,Service,Price,and Quality. I also believe that you can only pick two of the three,but you cannot have all three together. We choose to focus our business on Service and quality. My bigget threat(not really)are the bottom feeders that focus their business on price and sell below their cost (because most of them don't have a clue what their cost is in the first place). Their beleif is let's sell cheap to get more customers,but they soon find out it doesn't work that way. If you know your costs of doing business, and you keep selling below cost, you will eventually go away. I also believe that if you are really slow and need money coming in to keep afloat, that a break-even day is better than a no money day, but you need to know your cost of doing business before you do this.
I had a competetor in town that beat me so bad on a big job last year,(even bragged about it). I said there was no way he could do the job for the price he bid. The material costs alone cost more than what his total bid was. Guess what? He didn't finish the job, and he went under.The other part of this story is his trucks were reposessed and they were brought to the repo lot that my partners and I own at our business.
They had to come here to clean all the material and tools out of their trucks. His theory was to go in low, get the job and "Keep his men busy" I guess he did keep them busy for a while. I don't ever wish any ill will on anybody, but I believe if you want to get in business know the game inside and out from A-Z. The sad part about this story is I know of another comnpany that did this same thing about five years ago and followed the same exact path, sad but true! They do nothing but hurt my industry.
Just my two cents.

Bob O
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Old 11-21-2008, 01:24 PM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Bob O:
I believe that there are three elements to any businees and they are,Service,Price,and Quality. I also believe that you can only pick two of the three,but you cannot have all three together.
Bob O </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I disagree with this statement. I own a custom frame shop and we pride ourself on having ALL THREE. We bend over backwards to take care of our customers and we hold ourself to a higher standard on our framing then other shops in our area. Then again, that's why we do as well as we do.
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:47 PM   #7
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I respect your opinion

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Old 11-21-2008, 03:54 PM   #8
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Bob O, I agree completely with the way you conduct your business. I am retired now, but ran a successful small business for 15 years using this creedo----" The quality remains long after the price is forgotten. I have no qualm for those who sell for less, after all, they know what thier service and product is worth."


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Old 11-23-2008, 04:32 AM   #9
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As an economics instructor, I advise my students that an economic downturn, although painful to some, is our economies way of thinning the herd of weak and inefficient businesses. If a business has proper capitalization and a product or service that meets or exceeds customer expectations, they will survive. Based on the falling price levels and decreasing interest rates, a consumer with a good credit score and stable employment is having a great time.

“Quality” is defined by the consumer, not the designer, builder or quality control inspector. The consumer determines quality based on the product's ability to meet or exceed expectations relative to its price.

A few decades ago, I assisted a dear old friend as he shopped for a new sofa at a local furniture store. In a very short period of time, he found what had to be the ugliest, cheapest, yet one of the most comfortable sofas in the store. The color and design of the sofa did not match anything in his house but he was unwavering in his choice. The salesman was polite but persistent about the purchase of an extended lifetime warranty until my friend explained that he was 86 years old and just hoped he was still around to meet the delivery truck. The salesman said no more about the warranty and the sofa was delivered that afternoon. The quality of that ugly sofa far exceeded the needs and expectations of my dear departed friend.
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:25 PM   #10
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Service, price , and quality.

I suppose one forgets that there is a VAST difference in what one person desires to make, vs what the other guy in the same business desires to make. (Using the northeast, vs the southeast in cost and profits, is akin to commiting murder)

Quality is quality , period.

Service is in the eye of the one being serviced, not the owner doing the service.
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:21 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Service is in the eye of the one being serviced, not the owner doing the service. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Exactly, Mick. The point that I'm trying to make with this thread is that many businesses seem to have lost sight of the fact that the customer, not the service provider, decides what quality is and whether they will ever do business with that organization again. As I indicated in my first post, I've ordered a large number of things in the past couple of months and good service is the exception, rather than the rule, on the vast majority of those transactions. I do not believe that it is because I have high expectations but that the businesses that I picked have no understanding of why a customer that pays for something would like to know what is going on. Like the tele-marketers who violate the do not call lists because a fraction of the population will still doe business with them, some organizations have stayed in business in the "boom" times because there was lots of business. As things tighten up and business is down, hopefully it is the organizations that provide good customer service with their products that will service. At least I can hope so.
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:09 AM   #12
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Hi Guys! Been following your thread with interest. Don't know much about much, BUT, your perspective on "quality" hit a cord. During this past few weeks debate re: the "bailout" of the "Big 3" automakers, the "quality" thing really struck home. They testified about "quality" (among other things), but I, for one, don't think they have a clue. Myself, and ALOT of folks I've discussed this with, would and DO purchase one of the foreign orginated vehicles (Honda, Toyota, etc.) rather than an auto out of the U.S. Why?,.....Ya REALLY get "quality" from those outfits. The Hondas, and Toyotas just keep working and working and don't have things falling off, exteriors looking like heck in a yr. nor interior rattyness due to junk construction and for us who can't afford new every few years, the foreign originals provide, I mean REALLY provide the durability somehow lost in American made vehicles. All the bombast about "improved quality" of U.S. autos is still, simply TALK!! while the Japanese industry committed to, and actually do, "walk the walk". What you said about the consumer determining "quality" IS RIGHT ON THE TARGET!! Until the U.S. automakers dispense with the B.S., the quality of foreign built autos will keep them selling cars...even in (or maybe esecially in) tough economic times. Steve
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Old 11-24-2008, 04:30 AM   #13
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Steve, I'm not sure that all of us haven't been mislead about the actual quality of some American cars. I, too, have had more past success with Hondas than with several GM purchases. More recently, however, that tide may have turned somewhat. The quality of our DD's 2001 Honda Civic is NOT the same level as the 1985 Civic that I bought new. Statistically speaking, many of the Big 3's offerings may meet or exceed their Honda or Toyota rivals.

With the last two weeks, however, the 2001 Civic was burglarized to steal the stereo (aftermarket Alpine) and the dash was ripped apart. Dealing with Honda in trying to acquire replacement parts and assess their costs was a whole lot easier and at a higher level of service than my looking for parts for our recently purchased 2005 Saturn Vue. Even when I contacted Saturn corporate, they pretty much told me to "stuff it." when I tried to purchase a grommet for the fender wiring. I've encountered that same arrogance when I dealt with GM as a vendor. IMHO, it is the pervasive arrogant corporate attitude, more than the actual products, that is the root of the problems with the Big 3 and many other servicers and suppliers. I understand that no one can allow their customers to run over them and stay in business but customer's deserve to be treated with respect in business dealings. It is possible to say "no" without demeaning the customer in the process. It is also possible to communicate with a customer when all the contact information about that customer has been collected. It really infuriates me to provide email addresses and phone numbers for a service or order related matter and then have to re-initiate contact myself to get follow ups. That same contact information seems to work very well for future marketing to me by that same company, however.
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Old 11-24-2008, 04:01 PM   #14
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It is hard to weed out anything when the government is using MY money to artificially "save" the institutions that fell to the pressures of giving loans to people they knew, KNEW FOR A FACT could not repay.

Thanks to both parties I now have a debt to pay of over $100,000 in my family of 2.
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