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Been Ignoring Customer Service These Days?

The Issue

At a time when landing new customers may be at the top of our SBO agendas, ignoring existing customers can soon become a self-inflicted, perhaps fatal wound.

What I Think: Last summer, Sue and I purchased 30 feet of sliding glass doors for our waterfront Clearwater, FL condo. Other than letting in lots of sunlight and a terrific view, the original doors could only be opened and closed by brute force. The new doors slid easily, but we soon discovered that none of the locks worked!

Security was not the issue: we have “wedge rods” as a backup to prevent break-ins; but we paid a lot of dough for those doors and we wanted them to work!

I immediately phoned the local dealer
, leaving a message about the problem. I received an acknowledging message, but then tried calling back five times in as many weeks to schedule repairs—all without success.

My last message included this comment: A competitor of yours who has been installing windows for a neighbor has agreed to check our doors. He will get the job and all other window work here at Sunfish Bay–we have 65 units–unless you motivate yourself by 1 July. And I’ll have a hot new topic:for the Websites that publish my weekly small-business columns.

Not only did the dealer never fix those locks, he never returned my phone calls! That was last year; but we’ve learned he recently went out of business. Gee, I wonder why?

What Do You Think?

Even in tough economic times like these, how would you have handled a customer-service matter like that, especially with such a ready-market at hand–and at stake?

Bill Willard is a freelance writer in Clearwater FL. He has been a high-impact writer and editor for over 30 years. In addition to his byline pieces, Bill’s beat includes ghostwriting and editing for businesses of all types and sizes, professional practitioners and individuals, and he is a Contributing Author.

Visit his Website: Or contact him at

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