Should Smaller Businesses Serve Small/Micro Businesses?



Kink: A difficulty or flaw that is likely to impede operation, as in a plan or system.

I’ve always believed smaller businesses should serve small or micro businesses. We can all learn from each other and help each other grow. However, last week I had second thoughts. I found it might be more costly to use smaller businesses who don’t have a strong customer satisfaction ethos and lack experience dealing with customers.

Then, I looked at my own micro business. If other small businesses hadn’t taken a chance on me where would I be today?

Yet, one thing that came to mind was that at any time I had ever faced a challenge serving another small business or individual I had been able to solve it not only because there’s only me in my business but most of all I treat my customers the way I like to be treated.

At the end of the day I ask myself “Is this good customer service?” ” Can I do any better?” I don’t stop there however, I go ahead and take action.

Unfortunately, last week when I had a challenge with City Link the whole experience lacked the zeal or intelligent problem solving skills you get when using a smaller business. There was no offer to remedy the problem except the one thing that I was avoiding – a late delivery.

I had booked this service on Friday morning when my clients placed their order, which they needed on Tuesday so it seemed there was more than enough time.

When Monday came by I waited all day for the driver to pick up but he never showed up. To make matters worse, I called the depot and was told he had forgotten. Plus, he wasn’t going to make a detour and pick it up.

The nice lady who gave me this information had no better way to resolve the driver’s mistake than to offer collecting the parcel the next day. And if you’re wondering why I called her nice it’s simply because had she not been honest with me I would not have been able to think quickly about resolving my client’s challenge.

I reckon you are asking the same questions I did when I was told that – “Don’t the drivers have a manifest?” “Shouldn’t they tick off their jobs?” Unfortunately, since I didn’t know of this kink till about 4.45 pm when my local post office had stopped collecting mail, I had to arrange a drop-off to my clients office for the next day.

This was by no means cheap and ate up almost all my profit. How lucky I was that they were only a few miles away in London. I can’t even start to imagine what would have happened if their office was in Aberdeen when I’m in Surrey.

Well, I’m still waiting to hear back from City Link regarding a refund in cash or service to balance my books. Simply put, when I choose to use a smaller business like City Link instead of Royal Mail, I look forward to a more personalised service especially when it comes to customer care.

Things are bound to go wrong in every day life which includes business but do you know how to deal with them? Do you only resolve problems when the customer has had a rant or are you consistently pro-active? Do you have any measures in place to ensure your team deals with service level issues instantly? Most importantly, are your customers satisfied with these solutions? Are your staff motivated to solve these problems? Do they get rewarded or at least commended for saving the business’ face?

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