When I use the term “them,” I’m referring to your customer. The good thing for all of us in the business world is that what comes around goes around. By that I mean that, in our daily business, we probably supply someone with a good and/or service, but after hours, we’re customers of someone. That’s a good thing because it allows us to understand how consumers feel when put in different situations. This makes us better business people if we learn from our experiences.
I was recently put in a situation that’s a great lesson for all of us. I want to stress that this company and product is not automotive. It is used in my hobby, and NO, they do not make, market or sell in the automotive space.
I needed a particular product and had been searching for some time for something that would do a specific job under specific circumstances. I tried several I thought would work, even though they did not claim to work in this situation. Turns out the manufacturers of those products know more about them than I did. No surprise!
I finally sought out professional advice from someone I do business with and they happened to know a product that would do just what I wanted. Awesome! I immediately ordered this product from a legitimate dealer in the industry and paid full retail. By the way, I was glad to do it! Keep in mind this was a well-known manufacturer in the space providing what appeared to be an established product, bought through an established distribution network and sold by a trusted dealer. I received the product in August 2014 but did not actually use it until spring of 2015. Within a day of using the product, I knew I had a problem. It never cured. I was left with a sticky mess that leaves, bugs and dirt were immediately attracted to and trapped in. I was aggravated, but since I had followed the directions, I was confident this well-known manufacturer would make it right.
I started the process of contacting them, and it took two-and-a-half weeks to talk to a real person. I also won’t bore you with the details of how unprofessional the individual was. I stuck with it because I needed help.
The end result was that he told me I had improperly prepared the surface by not using virgin or laboratory-grade acetone. He then told me that the product I had bought was four years old. He decoded the build data from the tube of product and told me it was four years old and would be out of any warranty. He did tell me that I could use the regular acetone I had to clean the mess up.
So what don’t I want you to do to your customers? Do not let inefficiencies or sales programs get in the way of your customer being able to use fresh product. In this case, I was a victim of either an overzealous sales program four years ago or an inefficient stock rotation regimen. Wherever you are in the chain, be sure your customer is not caught with the mess. The good news is, my non- virgin acetone is from current stock and is working fine…