In my previous blog post, I outlined the importance of first impressions. In this blog post, I want to explain about the importance of the follow up. I will be the first to admit that following up is not my cup of tea and I don’t always follow up with everyone, but I do my very best (if they’re on Twitter, I will definitely give them a shout out to their business). Back to my preferred local carpet guy and after our initial meeting, he explained my carpet options, agreed on a date of measuring the house for carpets and said that he would call back as soon as he had finished.
I waited eagerly but no call came. I thought that I would wait a day: perhaps he had several places to measure up, or maybe he had a carpet installation. He didn’t call the next day either, and so I finally gave him a call two days later. He explained that he couldn’t get through to me on the number I’d given him, which was rather strange as I had received several calls throughout the day, but I gave him benefit of the doubt. He explained that for one section of the house, he would have his colleague call me, and he would call me the next day to finalise the rest. I waited a day for the rest of the quote. Neither he or his colleague returned my call.
I happened to be in the vicinity of local carpet guy’s showroom a couple of days later so I popped in and I explained that I had been waiting on his and his colleague’s call. There was no apology or explanation, but he did proceed to give me all of the quote. I left the place a little dejected. Maybe he didn’t want my business. I had expected to be asked when we would like to be booked in, or whether he required a deposit, but I received nothing. After my experience, I reluctantly went into a big chain just to see what my experience would be there.
The showroom was laid out perfectly. Big bright lights, free of clutter and easy for wannabe customers to walk around. It’s kind of what you’d expect from a big corporate. One of the sales assistants came over and asked my sister and I several questions. He gave us a bit more advice than the local guy which I was extremely surprised at. From past experience of going into large department stores and being served by a young college kid who had no experience and didn’t really want to be there, this sales guy’s knowledge, advice and customer service was surprisingly refreshing. He booked an appointment for one of the guys to measure the place, and after the house was measured, the original sales guy followed up with a phone call a couple of hours later to see how we got on.
Surprisingly, the quote wasn’t very different to the local guy and so it left me with a dilemma. Do I go corporate or do I shop local? Do I choose excellent customer service with great follow up or go for the local guy whose customer service wasn’t entirely my cup of tea? Price wasn’t a consideration because the quotes were both very similar. Both products were of the same quality, so all I could to differentiate was the level of customer service. After much deliberation, even though I had given the benefit of the doubt to local carpet guy several times, I reluctantly went with the corporate guy. Following my decision, the corporate guy followed up my decision with an email confirmation; a text confirmation of date of installation and then a further email asking for customer feedback following the carpet fitting. I still haven’t heard back from local carpet guy.
What are your thoughts? Was I wrong to go corporate (it certainly felt like it!), or should I have given local carpet guy one more chance? Do you have any local business stories to share?