Especially for SME’s – 20: Time.

29 December 2021


SME 2: We were listening to the interesting case you were narrating- the big order that was lost.

Mr. Lowe: My client MD got a call from the same authority asking him whether he can print the same order: In examinations, you cannot delay the delivery since the exam. on the subject will start at the appointed time on the date already announced months ago. The central authority told my client MD that, the party they went to, has told them in the last minute – just two weeks before the exam. date that he cannot deliver it. The normal lead time for such large jobs is at least one and a half months. My client MD, soaked in the philosophy “Never say No to customer” said he would get it done, without thinking about even for a minute how he would make it happen, he had the confidence he can.

The press and the employees worked day and night to complete printing and an employee of the client organization was sent along with the parcel (as it is a sensitive material) and remained in his custody until it was delivered in the exam. hall on time- just the night before the exam. date!

SME 1: Looking at the dire situation the customer was in, (loss of face for a famous central agency if it cancelled the exam.) and knowing there will be additional expenses because of lack of adequate lead time and the fact the agency cannot go to any other agency as everyone will reject it only because of the short lead time, did the press, not ask for a higher price than it had quoted, before accepting the order? Mr. Lowe: Very good business, commercial question!

But the stand of “never say no to customer and making it happen” resulted in the following end-result: The customer gave a call as soon as the exam finished successfully, and told my client MD that he does not know how to thank him for all that he has done in spite of what the agency did to him in its last tender. “You don’t know what tension you have removed form my head. And the best thing is you never asked for more price, that is stupendous. You will get the price you quoted but we know what all you did to make it happen for us. You would have of course worked overtime, you sent a man all the way with the parcel which no airline would lift because of the minimum curing time required etc. and you would have incurred excess rates for transportation on an urgent basis. Please bill us for all these expenses extra, over and above your quoted price x volume printed. We will pay you. Not only that, we learnt a severe lesson, we have blacklisted your competition and you have become our favored / preferred supplier in future.

SME 1: Nice to hear such customers are there!

Mr. Lowe: No, here we have to question our own suspicious presumptions and more importantly the premise that a businessman is not a businessman unless he exploits the customer when he is in a tight situation. Airlines charges are an example. And that is why no airline in the world makes profit except South West airlines in the US because it follows a diametrically opposite policy of not only pricing but also cancellation charges. So what are the points to note:

Customer is God, serve him unconditionally and don’t exploit him.

Never say no to customer and make it happen.

Spontaneously say yes to him and don’t think of obstacles – particularly the cost- coming in the way of making it happen.

When he is in a crisis -particularly a Time- dictated tension, just get him out of tension first without an iota of hesitation. That is not the time to exploit him. You understand how time or the lack of adequate lead time, the number one resource, gives you an opportunity to you to leap-frog over your competition!

SME 3: Yes, I agree with all that you have said but I disagree with you when you say there is no occasion at all when we can say no to customer? ………………..contd.


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