Do others impact your network?

As you may know, I’m in the middle of our home renovation. Don’t worry; I will spare you the many tales of the chaos it has thrown my life into and just focus on the point I am making here. As you can imagine, one of the most critical elements is staying on top of the schedule and this means that the timing of ordering and delivery items must be exact.

I’m a firm believer that everyone in any organisation plays a pivotal role when it comes to relationship management, be it internal (within the company) or external (with clients, suppliers, partners etc).

Have you ever dealt with a company where you had a really good impression based on the initial person you dealt with and then another person in that same company didn’t provide the same level of communication/ service?

It’s happened to me a few times recently and it really affected my loyalty and desire to do business with them again. You see, it’s no good encouraging your sales and front of office people to be good with customers if your logistics and delivery people are rude and un-helpful!

When choosing our new windows supplier, I based my decision on how helpful they were and if they could meet our requirements in a timely, cost effective manner.  One Sales Executive stole the show! Where most companies couldn’t be bothered quoting, she did so within the hour. We spoke countless times to get measurements and sizes exact and then she assured me of a 2-week delivery timeframe (most others were 6 weeks).

Tick – first batch of windows ordered (we are also replacing existing old ones in a few weeks but urgently needed the ones for the extension), and now onto the next item… or so I thought.

The day before delivery, I had a voicemail from someone at the company saying that delivery cannot be made as agreed. When I called him back he said there was a problem with the glass manufacturer and delivery was postponed for nearly a week! I tried to explain that we needed them on-time so our place can be secured – can’t have big gapping holes for doors and windows (especially in winter). He was not very empathetic and said there was nothing he could do. It took me to call the sales exec and she then investigated further. Turns out only the glass for the doors was delayed and she could arrange all other items and frames to arrive earlier to enable correct fitting. Phew!

They never showed up on the new date agreed. I was training with clients the next day and checked my phone at lunch to get a very abrupt message from someone else at their company. Truck was on its way and if I wasn’t there to sign for it they can’t deliver.  I saved this message because it was left in such a rude manner. There was nothing I could do given I was with clients and didn’t pick up the message til lunch.

We managed to sort it out and they finally arrived safely. But I am now hesitant to order the rest of my windows from this company. No matter how good the initial service is, if others in the supply chain don’t demonstrate any care or concern it negates the first person’s efforts completely.

I bet this happens all the time in companies and hope this bulletin is a reminder to ensure that anyone that deals with any part of your networks needs to uphold the same values and commitment as the rest of the team to ensure that company continues to operate.  There is always an impact to every action and even though we got there in the end, the way things are handled has a huge bearing on your overall experience. If communication is more emotionally intelligent it will reduce stress and ensure both parties’ needs are met.

My neighbours have since started a renovation and they asked me for recommendations. Based on the two ‘bad seeds’, I didn’t feel comfortable recommending our supplier. 

Share your stories or comment here.
As always, get in touch to discuss your networking relationships.

Posted on July 29, 2011 .