Especially for SME’s – 19: Time.

22 December 2021


SME 3: I have never treated my external customers like that, I have given a lot of promise on delivery and ditched them on 90% of occasions, giving them a very true looking excuse every time!

Mr. Lowe: Suppose God was your customer. Will you do the same?

SME 3: No, no because he is all powerful!

Mr. Lowe: don’t you think your customers also are all -powerful too, in the sense they can pull out of you at any time, even without giving you notice and put you in total soup?

SME 2: So you are telling customer is God!?

Mr. Lowe: Not only I am saying so but I strongly believe he is God and treat him as such. To me he is a God I can see and feel. Because I never say no to God I can’t see, I also say never to the God who is in right in front of me in flesh and blood!

SME 1: But customers are many times very unreasonable.

Mr. Lowe: Yes, do we feel God is sometimes unreasonable? So what we do? We pray to him? Can’t we take our problem to the customer in question himself and explain and ask for a resolution?

SME 2: Yes, once my customer asked for a price reduction. I went to him with all facts of costs, showed all proof and explained to him how I cannot accommodate that price reduction. I even politely asked him if his customer asks him for a price reduction under similar cost situation. He wanted time to think and gave me a call and told me he is not insisting on a price reduction. He then told me my competitor offered him the lower price for the same product and after I talked to him, he enquired about the competitor’s performance and was convinced he failed in his promises many times. I was also told he does the same trick of quoting a lower price only for entry purposes to a new customer and after entry starts justifying his non-performance on the low price!

Mr. Lowe: Yes, this is what happens to competition when they can’t beat you on performance. But suppose such competition does get entry to your customer, you lose your customer and then the same customer wants to switch to you in weeks. How would you respond to such a customer?

SME 1: Why should we entertain him?

Mr. Lowe: This step does not even arise, if you are starved of customers yourself. But assume you are not in that awful situation, and are in a position to say no to him: What will be your response?

SME 2: We must make him realize his mistake and the trouble he has put us thru and so, I would say no to him – at least for a few more weeks!

Mr. Lowe: But what would happen if you say “ok I will do it for you?”

SME 1: He may think we have no choice except to accept his orders!

SME 3: There is a chance he may even think “ I let him down but yet he treats me the same way as he was treating: I would never leave him hence forward, even if tempted by any competition of his”.

Mr. Lowe: Saying no to a customer is like saying no to God! We don’t judge God or teach a lesson to God. Why should we think of doing it to a customer? I will narrate a real-life incident that happened to a client of mine. The client was a security printing press and they were printing question papers for final board examinations of states and centre. On one occasion a big central authority fell for the price undercut trick by a competitor of this press. They placed the order with him and my client lost that big order.

SME 1: Then what happened? …………………..contd.


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