As I my usual dedication to customer service, I went and hand delivered a quote to a customer last Wednesday evening. There I was, presenting a 4 page quotation with option after option neatly laid out clear for the customer to see and understand, with our company logo sitting proudly at the top with a glossy sticker in the top right hand corner showing off our 33rd year in business. The customers were very impressed with what I had brought them. Most are when I drop a quote of such detail off. However these folks had even more reason to be surprised by the quality of my own quote.

The husband proceeded to take out of his pocket a scrunched up piece of paper with some figures scribbled down. That, believe it or not, was the quote supplied by a rival company of ours. They told me the name of the business who provided that wonderful piece of salesmanship, but I had never heard of them before. If they were new in town, scrappy bits of paper with some ink on them like the days of old is going to ensure they don’t stick around too long.

Needless to say, they were far more confident about what they may actually be purchasing from my paperwork than the other company’s. To be honest, I thought things like this had all but died out by now. I know from what my Dad has told me about the industry in years gone by that quotes written on fag packets and business cards were common place, and so were the complaints about the products once they were fitted. But in 2014, where the technology is by far cheap enough to cobble together a half decent looking quote, this sort of downright poor customer service is archaic.

To be blunt, it just shows a lack of respect for the customer. They have invited you to talk to them about YOUR products, in THEIR home to potentially give you their business. The least that you can do is to leave a presentable quote with information on there describing what they would be getting for their money. To not do that is frankly quite rude. No harm in putting in the effort, whether you get the job or not.

The end result of this little encounter is that my company looks far better in their eyes now. The business that left the screwed up bit of paper stands to not only not gain this couple’s business, but also face the risk of negative comments being circulated via this couple’s friends and family, further ruining any chances of new business within that group of people.

We live in an age of the all powerful consumer. It is important to remember that at any stage of the sales process, any poor customer service, right up until the last bit of silicone is dry, is going to stick in the customer’s mind. So for God’s sake, don’t try and sell to them with a bit of back pocket paper!