Is the staff at your firm better than the dryer delivery guys?

What amazes me today is our complete willingness to accept less than stellar performance by people we give money to in return for goods and services.

Just moments before I’m writing this, I tipped two delivery guys $5 each for what most would consider less than stellar service.  Why did I do that?  Well, let me tell you the story, and then I’ll reveal my diabolical plan.

It was our time.  The dryer finally went and died and my wife Maria, the ECIIC (East Coast Italian In Charge), was not going to wait a single moment longer than necessary to get a new one.  She could have saved money by waiting for delivery but instead, she paid the higher price, and had it delivered the next day.  Because of her demand, everything cost more.  Delivery was more; the dryer was more expensive,  even the dryer kit was more expensive.  So, the store arguably made a higher margin on our transaction.  Fine, no problem, we were paying for speed.

So, the delivery was scheduled for ‘sometime after 12:30’.  First thing in the morning the delivery guys called to say they had us on the final delivery of the morning and they would arrive at 11ish.  We had to jump through hoops to make that happen but we did it.  Around 10:25 Maria received a call that they would be there in about 25 minutes.  Maria didn’t answer the phone because she was tending to her commitment.  After listening to the message a few minutes later, she called me to inform me and I was on my way to the house.  I arrived at 11 to find the pink hanger on the door, time-stamped 10:49 saying: Sorry we missed you.  I called Maria. She called the driver, who in spite of his best attempts could not convince the ECIIC that ‘sorry, you’ll have to wait until Monday’.  According to their note, I missed them by 11 minutes.  It took them over 30 minutes to get back to us.  That math doesn’t add up.  The bottom line is, they wanted an early Saturday.  Unfortunately for them, they ran headlong into Maria, the East Coast Italian In Charge.

When they arrived, I was furious.  Not so much as a customer, because I know what they were trying to do. But, they got caught, pure and simple.  Rather, my fury was as a business owner.  There is no doubt in my mind that the owner of this company has dropped the ball.  The truck they were driving was non-descript, which tells me they used a third party service.  They were not in uniform, in fact they were dressed like slobs. They even had the quintessential quarter slot showing.)  They carried an ‘I don’t care’ attitude and the tension in the air was palpable.  This owner wasn’t doing his job.  He let the customer experience be determined by someone who just didn’t care.  Regardless of how good the marketing is this utter disappointment in service is enough for Maria to say, that’s the last purchase they’ll get from me.

And guess who she’s told about the experience? EVERYONE.

So why did I tip them?  Because this lack of attention has become so commonplace, such accepted normal behavior that most of you are probably thinking yeah, who expects the delivery guys to be on time, to be polite, to dress in uniform and  to actually care about the customer?  I’m tired of arguing.  I’d rather let them go on believing that what they are doing is right.  Maybe we’ll make room for an entrepreneur who cares and is willing to do the work of inspection on his business.  Let them keep screwing this up day after day like some Darwinian movement toward thinning the herd of lesser mortal entrepreneurs.

Let this not be you.

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