I am always amazed at stupid business owner moves that ruin a company’s name in the community and kill future sales.
I had been trying to buy a conversion ping pong top to go over our office pool table because our staff doesn’t seem to care about pool. So I called around and they were about 150-200 bucks. I had seen Prianos Billiards and Spas in Coeur d Alene off the highway and so I called them also. Theirs was $400.
I asked the sales guy why it was twice everyone else’s. He said: “It’s not like your buying something from Sears or Costco. It’s a high quality table and you get our customer service.” (I really want you to remember this because this is their excuse for sucking later on…)
So that’s always a power pitch for me. I often will pay extra for better customer service and dealing direct with a decision maker of a company. So I got my truck out of storage and spent half a day getting a ping pong top from Prianos and paid twice what I could have anywhere else. In there I was dealing with David the owner which always makes you feel good about where you’re spending the money. He was working up literature for a $2900 arcade game with all the fun old school classics, and I was going to also buy a $900 air hockey table from him. Hopefully to deck out our office a little more with some fun stuff.
So fast forward to getting the ping pong top to our office; I unload it and take it out of the box and it’s trashed. Corners are all banged up and it’s not in a playable condition. I call David back and ask him to take care of it. I asked that he had one of his delivery and set up crews bring out a new, undamaged one and take the damaged one back.
HERE’S THE PIVOTAL MOMENT. I’m talking to the owner of Prianos. He says he’s too busy to have his crews come out and replace it. He blows me off for a few days. I call them back and the same guy that sold me on them over the phone said I’d have to bring it back myself because their crews were too busy. He said: “It’s the same as Costco. It’s not like they’re going to come out and replace it.” So their pitch was that they aren’t a Costco and have better customer service, but their EXCUSE is that Costco wouldn’t do it….
So I get my truck back out of storage, reload the torn up Brunswick ping pong top back into the truck and deliver it back to them. Low and behold when I get to their parking lot there’s 3 DELIVERY VEHICLES in their parking lot… Not so busy I guess.
So what’s the moral of the story? Basically the owner of Prianos has decided that his customers and the good name of his company aren’t worth the effort. If I were in his shoes I would have loaded up the ping pong top and delivered it the same day I called after hours if that’s what it took to take care of a customer. ESPECIALLY after giving a pitch that what you’re paying double for is customer service.
So they lost out of a $400 ping pong top sale, a $900 air hockey table, and a $2900 arcade sale.
The bigger picture thing is that now I’ll never shop there again, I’ll never tell anyone to buy there, and if someone asked, I would have to say that they don’t care about their customers and don’t stand behind their products.
Buying is habitual. This is the reason Discount Tires will rotate and balance your tires for free, EVEN if you didn’t buy them there. They want you in a routine of going to their location. They want the only thing you think about when you think of tires to be their physical location. This is also why buying existing businesses for their location is valuable. Small businesses don’t have the option of telling clients to screw off. Every client is an opportunity to form a habit.
I’m always amazed at how many businesses in Coeur d Alene just don’t get this concept.