Thursday, October 02, 2008

Crazy!


I return to one of my pet subjects – customer care!!


Real stories best illustrate my frustration with what I see as poor customer care.


A few months ago I needed some photocopying done and it was more cost effective for me to get the copying done at a small local shop that offers copying services than to use my own small home copier.


I wanted 30 copies of a six page document that I use as a workbook for a course I run on Team Development - a total of 180 pages. The shop manager asked me to come back in 20 minutes. When I returned he handed me 180 workbooks of 6 pages and a very large bill.


I explained that I only asked for 30 copies of the workbook not 180 copies and when he consulted his notes he discovered it was his mistake and apologised.


He gave me 30 copies of the workbook and I paid for them.


I suddenly thought I could use the ‘wasted’ copies in future courses so I said to the man that I would take them off his hands as they could, after all, only be used by me. He told me that I could take them as long as I paid for them. I said I did not want to pay for them because I actually only wanted 30 copies at present. I asked what he would now do with the 150 copies of the workbook that he now had on his hands. He said he would shred them in accordance with the policy. I said that seems such a shame and I would happily take them off his hands. He said I could only take them if I paid for them. We batted this discussion back and forth for a while and I left knowing that he was going to shred 900 sheets of A4 paper that I could have used.


With hindsight I could have made an offer to pay a reduced amount for the workbooks.


My point however about customer 'care' is that this jobsworth person was sticking to his procedure come what may and he was not going to budge - to coin a phrase 'The man was not for turning!'


His ‘policy’ said ‘shred wasted paper’ and that was his only position.


I would like to think if it had been me I would have said 'Sod the rules' and recognised it was actually crazy to shred 900 pieces of paper that would have been useful to a customer.


But then I always do see things far too simply.


I would be saying good things about that shop if they had said something like ‘Oh just take them – they are no good to us or anyone else and if you can use them that’s great’


Instead I see that shop as one which has crazy unfriendly customer practices and of course I tell people about it - is that good for their customer care reputation?


I just do not get it!


34 comments:

J.KANNAN said...

Dear Trevor,
‘Am just back to Chennai after my biz visit.

Trevor, Well according to me after reading through your experience with the shop Manager, he is not only “Crazy” but also “Cranky” of the first rate.

I feel, he should be made to feel and be aware of:-

1. Hold to the things of principles which are useful to the customers and a mere waste to him.
2. Look for “Simplicity”, embrace “Simplicity” and learn useful and valuable things out of” Simplicity”
3. To lessen the adamant attitude and meaningless policies and to refrain from wasteful shredding of documents which are useful to customers, instead shred his ego and adamant attitude/policy towards customers.

The good old saying is “Customer is King” and I have literally re-written this statement as “Customer is God” and effectively proved it to my team- and each and every one in my team have accepted this, and hope Simplicity reader’s will agree with my opinion.

Please bear one prime thing in mind that “If you don’t take care of your customers…….somebody else will”- and that’s for sure.

I certainly feel that we all should strive to educate the people dealing/ interacting with customers how important and valuable a customer is (the cause of our business and its existence)

A customer is so important and indispensable in business and to go a step further tell people dealing with customers that:-

“WE CAN’T SPELL S (U) CCESS WITH OUT YO (U) DEAR CUSTOMERS.

J.K

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks JK – excellent comments as always.

My point is that rules are good - we all need rules - BUT it does not take a genius to see when rules can be thrown out of the window because they just do not make common sense.

Though this incident was a few months back it keeps coming into my head every time I think about bad examples of customer care. The point people like this man seem to miss is that I will tell many people the story and that provides an image of his shop that I am sure he would not like to hear.

You have probably heard the Chinese proverb, "A man without a smiling face should not open a shop"

I would probably adapt it to "A man without common sense should not open a shop."

J.KANNAN said...

Dear Trevor,

A good and useful feed back indeed.

The Chinese proverb referred to by you is absolutely apt and I have heard of it, and the way you have re-written is really great and wonderful and I agree with your views in toto.

It reminds me of the great sayings by Mahatma Gandhi generated out of his foresight and vision for the protection and welfare of the customers and I earnestly feel that this must be adhered to by one and all involved in dealing/interacting with customers. And here it goes:-

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption to our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so."

I consider this as Great Words by a Great Man for people to use it and become great.

J.K

The Dan Ward said...

That's amazing - I wonder what would happen if you passed along a link to your blog post to the nice people at that copy shop...

Would anyone there recognize the idiocy of their behavior?

dave wheeler said...

As one who trains, coaches, and develops customer service reps and as a manager speaking with escalated customers, it makes you just shake your head. You admit the error was yours and rather than looking for an opportunity to begin to repair and rebuild the relationship...you parlay it into a lose - lose situation. Ego, anger, fear, and ignorance are often the "root cause" issues I find in play when our reps make these bad judgment calls, not sure that all would be factors in the "small business" situation as you encountered. Ego, anger, fear and ignorance affect your judgment and are behaviors that can can be eliminated through coaching and development. In the world of the call center, poor service exists because "managers" often don't do their job.

In the world of your shop keeper the only thought that comes to mind is the name of one comedian Ron White's tours..."You Can't Fix Stupid"!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks JK, Dan and Dave - I have reflected on the incident which occurred many months ago - maybe even a year ago and as I said in the posting maybe if it happened again I would make an offer to pay for the 'wasted' copies but on the other hand my real point is that the 'manager' just completely misses the point about customer care.

Imagine if I was in a cafe and asked for a small coffee and the guy served me a large coffee - the manager I met in this shop would probably have taken my cup away and poured half of it down the sink!

You are so right Dave – ‘stupid’ can’t be legislated for! Forrest Gump said ‘Stupid is as stupid does.’

I sometimes wonder if it is me who misses the point and whether I’m being unfair on people like this guy… but then I think no – it just is crazy and JK’s reminder to us of the wisdom of Mr Gandhi sums it up. I’ve seen the same text from Mr Gandhi about Bombay Hospital and the word patient is substituted for customer – AWESOME words from a great man.

mark jf said...

I think the shop manager and Trevor were both wrong and should have seen the obvious compromise and agreed a reduced price. Ultimately, though, I come down down on the side of the shop manager.

Who wants customers who are belligerent and want to blatantly profit from your own mistake? The customer isn't always right - that's a stupid myth that leads to businesses having lots of unprofitable customers, e.g. most of the high street banks who've helped get us into the current credit crunch.

The shop manager does have an obligation to care for his customers but he also a duty to his business not to allow those customers to take the mickey.

BTW, the coffee analogy is unfair and out of proportion. There's a difference between a large and small coffee, of course, but it's nothing like the difference between 30 and 180 copies of a document.

J.KANNAN said...

Well, for me its really hard to accept"The customer isn't always right"- I shall agree with "The customer need not be always right". But "The customer is always right" is right. One will accept this fact only when one gets into real scenario of competing with MNC's and corporates in marketing to get and retain customers.

There is a saying "The Boss is Always Right" and if you have doubt refer to Rule No.1., which reads "The Boss is always Right,Even if he is wrong".

When such rules can apply to bossess why not to customers from whom we stand to gain.?

J.K

Andrew said...

Trevor,

I can certainly understand your frustration with this issue.

It sounds from your description as though the man concerned is the owner in addition to being the manager. If so, he could have used his common sense, and provided you with the extra copies.

However, if he was not indeed the owner, then I could quite understand his position. Employees, as you are no doubt aware, often have to follow strict procedure, and risk adverse consequences if they fail to do so.

In any case, it is imperative that employees be given the freedom to exercise common sense in relation to such matters.

(On one occassion, when I was a teenager, as a supermarket employee, I seriously got in trouble for telling a customer not to worry when they were five cents short of the required payment)

Trevor Gay said...

Mark – Always good to have disagreement. I respect your opinion - I just disagree with you completely.

• I was not ‘belligerent’ as a customer. I just asked a simple question in a very polite way as I always do.
• I already said in the posting and in the follow up comments that, with hindsight, I think making an offer to pay would have been a good approach.
• I was not trying to ‘blatantly profit’ from his mistake
• I was not trying to ‘take the micky.’

You make it sound like I was enjoying his mistake – I never enjoy other people’s mistakes. I make lots of mistakes myself and it hurts if people enjoy my mistakes and remind me of them. So I certainly would not do that to others – that’s just not my style at all.

The simple point is he was going to shred papers that I could have used - so his company had already ‘lost’ the money!! I think anyone can see it is just plain stupid jobsworth behaviour. Anyone with a brain can understand he would have made a ‘friend of the company’ and a great 'advert' for his shop if he had shown some common sense. Instead he has made an enemy and I tell other people.

I’ve worked for probably 15 -20 years in direct customer facing jobs in my ‘spare time’ outside my main NHS job Mark in bar work, paper rounds and for the last four years an as independent consultant and trainer. I’ve often broken silly company rules by using common sense – that is my point – 99.9% of customers are not the belligerent, mickey taking people you suggest – 99.9% are normal well meaning honest people. You are describing the 0.1% and the rest don’t deserve to suffer for the bad attitude of the 0.1%.

I also think the coffee example is a perfectly appropriate comparison - the principle is identical.

Is that 15 all? :-)

Trevor Gay said...

JK – I agree with you one million per cent!! - I think you understand my point.

Trevor Gay said...

Andrew – I certainly wouldn’t want anyone getting into trouble for breaking ‘company rules.’ My point is the ‘company rules’ are probably stupid and need to change allowing trust in front liners to make the right call. I am simply asking for front line folks to be trusted to use common sense and not to be ‘told off’ when they make a very sensible decision based on common sense. Too many companies don’t trust their front line employees to make the sort of simple judgement calls a 10 year old child could make. I agree that company policies are made to adhere to but they are also there to be stretched and challenged.
Sorry to hear about your experience over the 5 cents problem. Many times in my career as a front line worker dealing face to face with customers I’ve let people off paying a small amount and on occasions I have even given people money from my own pocket which is of course totally against company rules – but it was using common sense and seeing the bigger picture rather than being frustrated by some silly company rule – and more important I was thinking about customer loyalty.

David Wike said...

Mark I’m pleased to find that you have put the counter view as you seem to be an ally in keeping Trevor on his toes, even if sometimes it is as devil’s advocate!

I say to people that the customer is not always right, but he/she is always the customer. I quite agree that there are some customers that you are better to do without – by the way, I’m not suggesting that Trevor is one of them! If you don’t enjoy working with a customer, then you are better off not to have their business. And if it isn’t profitable, you are certainly better without it.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi David

“And if it isn’t profitable, you are certainly better without it.”

I disagree with that too.

Some customers may well NOT be” profitable” (whatever that means) in the short term. You may in fact make a LOSS in dealing with them. But if you respect your customer and you are loyal to your customer, they may, in the long term, become your greatest and most profitable customer.

It is clear that what is meant by customer ‘care’ is in the eye of the beholder.

I know what good and crap customer care is as far as I am concerned. You and Mark have a different view of course and that is great – that is how it will always be in such discussions. We don’t have to agree.

I’ve always imagined having my own company with huge signs that scream out to customers – PLEASE COMPLAIN IF YOU ARE NOT COMPLETELY SATISFIED

Why don’t we see that?

Mark JF said...

Trevor - you can defend yourself against the suggestion of belligerence; the shop manager can't. We only have your side of the story.

You can make terribly unfair statements like, "the manager I met in this shop would probably have taken my cup away and poured half of it down the sink!" How do you know? What a dreadful, cynical, near-libellous assumption.

"I was not trying to ‘blatantly profit’ from his mistake." Yes you were. It's self-evident that it had cost a fair bit to produce them; it's self evident that having no-cost handouts would improve your profit margins - unless you're telling us you'd have given your next customer a rebate to the value of the hand-outs.

You can rail about it as much as you like but in my view, neither of you comes out of it well. I'd have been far more impressed with this posting if it had been less of a rant and more of a, "I really missed an opportunity to turn around a mistake and preserve someone else's dignity" story.

Trevor Gay said...

‘Dreadful, cynical, near-libellous assumptions’ – Mmmmm …. Actually it seems what you are saying about me Mark – but no problem I have a thick skin!

You are right - you do only have my side of the story - and I assure you I was not ‘belligerent’ nor was I trying to ‘blatantly profit’. I do not lie.

I’m sorry to say you continue to miss my point about customer care.

Have you ever actually had direct face to face contact with customers Mark or are your beliefs about customers informed from an office far removed from direct contact with the paying customer?

Your tone suggests customers are nothing more than an inconvenience, an interruption to the smooth running of the business. ‘The company is always right and the customer must fit in’ seems to be your motto.

I know we will never agree on this one but thank you for the frank and up-front exchange. At least we are dealing with it in an adult and I hope constructive way.

It is not compulsory to agree and I just hope we can both see some aspects of each others point that we can learn from. I can say I have learned from your words.

This posting is a rant about what I perceive as poor customer care. I would love to have posted that I had a fantastic experience where a shop manager was a marvellous example of all that is brilliant about really caring for customers and showing terrific initiative. That he was a shining example that I can proudly boast about as a role model for Britain … Instead of that all I did Mark was to say it as I experienced it and offered my opinion of the customer care shown.

I have, in my almost four years of writing Simplicity Blog, written about some great examples of customer care when it has worked well and I will do some more in the future I’m sure and if I experience poor customer care, that I think is worthy of writing about, I will also do that.

Have a great weekend and if Man United win tomorrow I will get you a ‘virtual’ drink!

Richard Lipscombe said...

Trevor.... I agree with Mark and David...

When I first read this blog I thought what was "crazy" was that you did not do what you said you should have done....

You said "(w)ith hindsight I could have made an offer to pay a reduced amount for the workbooks".

Surely if you had done that you would have offered the shopkeeper a golden opportunity to say "no just take them, we are only going to pulp them anyway so you may as well use them. Sorry about my mistake - is there anything else I can do for you right now?"

Customer service always has two ends - the customer and the service provider ends - and so the better the rapport between these two ends the better the outcomes for both.

Simplicity in action in customer service to me might go something like this - think of the other person in the transaction first and foremost rather than yourself.

I believe that if you are "generous" not "mean" with your perspective of any customer service situation then you will rarely, if ever, have "dud" outcomes.

dave wheeler said...

This particular shop's profitability is not necessarily increased by getting a paid a reduced amount for the excess copies. He's out the materials , time and labor either way. I've talked to folks I would rather have spontaneously combusted sitting in my chair than credit a nickel to but you have to because it's the best business decision due to a variety of reasons such as long tenure or average revenue. If it's about "relationships"...and if nothing is done you lose the costs of the mistake anyway...give him the copies. A happy customer with a blog is more likely to be better for you and your business than a dis-satisfied customer with one!

tomjam said...

I have to say I'm with you all the way on this one Trevor. Firstly, the manager made the mistake of not being attentive in the first place to what you had asked for and therefore messed up your order. Secondly, if its a choice of shredding great quantities of ducuments or giving them to someone who can make use of them, then to me its a no-brainer. As you rightly say, this was a lost opportunity on his part to nurture a customer relationship, and enhance his shop's reputation in the process. You never know, he may also look back at this incident and wish he had handled it differently!

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Richard – I have no problem whatsoever understanding the relationship is two way. I assure you I am a very, very easy customer to please. I am not particularly demanding – I just don’t like to witness stupidity.

My style as a customer is ALWAYS to look for win-win situations.

You Dave and Mark clearly feel the provider is ‘in charge’ of the relationship but I fundamentally disagree with that. If anyone is in charge it is the customer and he/she will always be in charge. He/she has the money that pays the wages of the provider staff!!

This is a no brainer – the customer is king or queen full stop.

To me this guy might as well have burned the papers in front of me just to rub in the fact that he was ‘the boss’ in our ‘relationship’ – I can only think you David and Mark are probably trying very hard to wind me up - and that’s great banter.

I love the fact my Blog creates discussion and as I said a few weeks ago when reviewing my own ‘customer feedback’ I like the fact people challenge me and disagree with me.

One of the great joys of life is celebrating ‘difference’ – this particular discussion is not about ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but about different perceptions – LIFE IS GOOD my friend!

Trevor Gay said...

Dave – simple common sense as always.

Somebody once told me it may take 20 years to build a reputation but only 30 seconds to lose it through one bad customer experience.

In a nutshell customers vote with their feet and unless suppliers and providers grasp that concept (not really a difficult concept is it?) the company leaders and jobsworths can have as many academic discussion about how awful these inconvenient customers as they like but in the meantime profits dip and eventually the business goes to the wall. ‘Nero fiddling while Rome is burning comes to mind.’

Dave - In the world of the blind the one eyed man (or woman) is king.

Trevor Gay said...

Great to hear from you again Tomjam – I hope you are keeping well.

It is great that we see different opinions in this discussion and I thank you for your opinion. I keep asking myself have I missed something really obvious but I keep coming back to your excellent point:

“If it’s a choice of shredding great quantities of documents or giving them to someone who can make use of them, then to me it’s a no-brainer.”

Like you I hope the man may have learned from the experience – I certainly learned. That is perhaps the important bit about this whole discussion – what did we learn?

I genuinely hope the man will have reflected a bit …. Though I just have this feeling he is one of those types - you must know them - who ‘had a policy and a procedure to adhere to’ ….. ‘I was just carrying out orders’ .. That sort of attitude … but there I go again being judgmental :- )

I am clearly seen as being unreasonable by some and that’s ok then I remember the great GBS!

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw

tomjam said...

Hi Tevor, the Shaw quote is very apposite and makes me think of one of my 'hobby horses' which is that I think our education system teaches us from a young age that respect for rules, conformity and 'good behaviour' are to be rewarded and intitiative, creativity and asking awkward questions are to be punished. I'm not advocating anarchy or anti-social behaviour at all. On the contrary, I think decency and compassion are the number one 'rule' we should be taught, and also we should be helped to become confident at 'improvising' in social and work situations. In other words rules and regulations are useful as guidelines, but in the real world to be effective I believe we need to have the freedom to bend rules in situations where a relationship with a customer or colleague points to doing a things a different way. Many of us, I think, reach adulthood not trusting our values and our intuition over the 'rules' and ultimately the result is often less satisfactory on both sides, as was clearly the case with your print shop experience.

Going back to my point about education it is not a criticism of teachers, many of whom do wonders in stressful circumatances but more a comment on an outmoded command and control system that was set up several hundred years ago-and is still replicated in many workplaces.

My last observation would be that there are many who struggle in the education system who thrive once they've left it-Richard Branson?-because they refuse to just fit in and follow the rules. Sorry for the essay Trevor, I did say it was a hobby horse!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks again Tomjam – as you know Richard Branson is one of my heroes and a shining example of what you say. He is also dyslexic of course. Another unhelpful label.

I remember Tom Peters once saying words to the effect there is nothing more charming, honest, creative, and innocent than a three year old. We send them to school and it’s down hill from then onwards. I’ll second that.

Victor Palmieri said – ‘Strategies are Okayed in Boardrooms that even a child knows are domed to fail. The problem is there’s never a child in the board room.’

Can you remember the Tom Hanks movie called ‘Big’ – that film sums up Palmieri’s quote perfectly?

David Wike said...

Of course we’re winding you up Trevor, it’s far more fun than agreeing with you all of the time! It’s very difficult to know the rights and wrongs, the missed opportunities or the reason for the other guy’s attitude. On the face of it he may have been a complete ******** but maybe the situation wasn’t 100% black and white.

Let me give you a positive story of exceptional customer care. This morning I walked to the newsagent’s to buy a Saturday paper. They had sold out of the one I wanted. The owner apologised and said that he would get one from elsewhere and deliver it to my house. I only buy a paper on a Saturday and only occasionally buy other things from the shop. The cost of the paper is £1.60 or around US$3. In no way can I be considered a valuable customer but clearly my custom is valued.

Trevor Gay said...

A RESULT!

Thanks David - I have a proposal ...

Can you get the newspaper shop person to run the photocopy shop and we will all be happy. This newspaper shop person ‘gets it’ as far as customer care is concerned!!

He or she wins my prize for simplicity, common sense and genuine customer care!!

THANK YOU GOD!!!

I rest my case!!

Mark JF said...

Trevor - let's turn your story around. Let's assume you go to visit a prospective client and - per his request - submit a price for running 30 seminars. It then turns out that you've made a colossal error and the guy was talking about 180 seminars. Don't lets get into an, "I'd always ensure I understand the brief, put it in writing" etc etc riff; let's just make an assumption that you've had an off day and you've misunderstood the whole thing.

Let's also assume neither of you can spot the compromise and the client insists you stand by your offer. After all, he's the customer so he has to be 100% right and you must do what the customer wants.

Would you say, "My fault, don't worry, I stand by my price and I'll run 180 seminars for the price of 30."

Or would you walk away from the whole deal?

Trevor Gay said...

Great question Mark. I hear what you say

Firstly it would have to be a bit more more than an ‘off day’ for me to give someone a price for 180 seminars versus 30 – if we assume £1000 per seminar a difference of £150,000 is something I’m pretty sure I would notice before I signed my letter or gave the promise verbally! – With respect you are comparing apples and pears

In the case you describe I’ve not already COMMITTED AND WASTED expenditure other than a bit of my time in giving the client a price. In the copying case the mistake that was made resulted in actually producing 150 unnecessary tangible products that were of no use whatsoever to the shop and were going to be thrown away.

I have done a number of free seminars/workshops as loss leaders to drum up business and establish a reputation. It sometimes works and it sometimes doesn’t work. If a client asks me to do something and I give the client a price then that is what I charge – the scenario you quote is not believable really.

Anonymous said...

I sat in a hotel lobby one morning last week while the desk clerk explained clearly over and over again to a couple that they weren't entitled to the complementary breakfast this time as they were paying a discount rate on their room rather than a package deal last visit, that by the way, had entitled them to the comp brekkie for only the first day of their previous stay.

Over and over again. In a clear voice that carried across the lobby.

I have a complete understanding of the hotel's breakfast policy now- we will demean our repeat customers in public for the price of a muffin and coffee. Ouch!

Lois Gory

Trevor Gay said...

Brilliant though sad story Lois – thanks very much for sharing that.

In the words of the immortal Pete Seeger song “When will they ever learn, When will they ever learn”

So ‘caring’ for customers in that hotel is to humiliate them in public?! – Amazing how stupid some company policies can be don’t you think Lois?

I love your words – ‘demean our repeat customers in public for the price of a muffin and coffee.’

mark jf said...

Trevor - I'm not comparing apples and pears at all but you're clearly ducking the issue. I'm asking you whether if you made a big mistake, you'd stand by it or if you'd look for a compromise (if you and the other person were able or willing to do think on your feet about it: it's always much easier in theory than in the heat of a meeting) or if you'd actually walk away from it. The question, and your possible responses, challenge the idea of the customer always being right and would then lead on to a question of whether this is the sort of customer you want to deal with.

Personally, I'd explain my mistake and ask for the customer's forebearance in submitting a revised price, which I'd discount a bit for the hassle. If he was stroppy about it or tried to get me to do 180 seminars for the price of 30, I'd have no hesitation in walking away from it. And I'd have no hesitation, in the latter case, in regarding him as a customer I am happy for the competition to have to work with.

You say in your original post, "...I always do see things far too simply." I live in a world where there are multiple colours and many shades of grey in betwixt black and white.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Mark

Sorry if you think I’m ducking issues – here is my friendly take on it:

I would do the same as you in the case of 180 seminars and I suspect that 99.9% of customers would understand the mistake was a crazy oversight on my part and, like you, I would offer a discount on the correct full price for 30 seminars

If we come back to the actual case and I put myself in the position of the shop manager I would definitely have given the customer the 150 copies without any hesitation rather than metaphorically burn then in front of his/her eyes for no other reason than ‘I have a policy to follow.’

I do see things very simply but that does not mean black and white. I also see almost everything as multi coloured.

I hope you agree that crazy rules are recognised in any language or colour.

Marilyn said...

Hi Trevor,
Hmmm...let's see. I did the math. There were 150 'extra' copies of the workbook. If you ran 5 more workshops, 30 people per workshop, and used those workbooks, even if they were titled and dated wrong.....

You would have gladly and glowingly promoted that print shop by name, five times, to 150 people.

You saved at least part of a tree by re-using paper.

You have a great customer care story that you tell to many more people.

You look great, the shop looks great.

What a lost opportunity for that print shop manager.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Marilyn- that is a fantastic summary – why didn’t I think of that??!! :-)

If they had given me the copies or even sold them at a much reduced price I would have been more than happy to have put on each of the 150 the copies words to the effect ‘Kindly Provided by …….’ This would have given the shop free advertising to a large local audience of potential customers.

Actually the documents are not specific to a particular workshop and they are not dated so they can be used at any workshop. Even more reason why it would have been great publicity of the shop!

I think your comment sums up exceptionally well the loss of goodwill and free advertising.

To me it also sums up the difference between simple common sense leading to great customer care … and ‘blindness of customer care’ leading to missed opportunities.