Posts tagged ‘business’

June 12, 2012

Customer Service

by pastortimfowler

Central Market customer service.

I am not an economist so I can’t speak with great authority on the state of our economy, but I am pretty sure that it isn’t that good based on the anecdotal evidence that I see in my hometown. My wife and I went out to eat the other night and within a block saw no less than 7 businesses that were closed. When you ride down the main thoroughfare of our town there is business after business that is closed or going out of business. My friends who own their own business tell me that it is really tough to make ends meet. All of those millions of jobs that are being created don’t seem to be here, but like I said, this is purely anecdotal.
Anyway you slice it, business is not the best that it has ever been. And since the recession has started, and seems to never end, you would think that those who have a job would go out-of-the-way keep that job and earn your business. It is what use to be known as customer service. This is where the customer is served in such a way that they feel as if you appreciate them doing business with you and you try to ensure that they come back the next time that they need your service. I am finding it harder and harder to feel as if I ever want to go back to the places that I give my business to or in some cases trying to give it too.
I was in a store the other morning about 8:30am picking up a few items that I was going to need when I go to Cuba on my mission trip in a couple of weeks. At the check out when I swiped my card, the machine asked me if I would like cash back and I hit yes and asked for $20. The cashier looked at me and said, “You know ATMs are open 24 hours a day.” I was not sure what to say back to her. I told her “Yes, but the machine asked me if I wanted cash back and I said yes.” She again said, “You know ATMs are open 24/7”. So I asked if she worked for the bank or the store that I was standing in.
This store was not busy. It was not a small “mom and pop” store. They had cash in the drawer. I was only asking for $20 so I did not see the problem.
I have been trying to get the guy who installed our AC in our church to give me a quote on routine maintenance for our heat and air system. When we got our last unit installed I asked the owner 3 times for a quote and have called him twice since. I know that this time of year is busy for AC guys, but I want to give him money on a regular basis and hopefully for an extended amount of time.
A couple of Sundays ago, our fire alarm went off because something in our coffee shop started smoking. It was a piece of bread or something, so there was no threat. The alarm company called and I told them the situation and they said thanks. A few minutes later the fire trucks pull up and tells me that the alarm monitoring company said that no one from the church could be reached and so they were dispatched. I called to find out where the confusion was and in mid sentence was hung up on by the operator who monitors my church alarm system. When I called back to talk to the supervisor, she told me that no one hung up on me, that I was put on hold. I responded by saying, either way, I was in mid sentence when it happened, and that they need to have their phone system checked because their hold button hangs up on people.
The latest bout with non customer service is with the people who inspect our fire extinguishers. Every year they need to be inspected and a tag put on them saying that they are in good working order so when we are inspected by the fire marshal, he can see that we are meeting code. Every year we call to have them inspected and every year we tell them to put us down for annual service. So I am on my fifth day of leaving a message to one of the few people who do this and have still not gotten a return call. This inspection takes every bit of 15 minutes and they charge $75 to do it. That comes out to $300 dollars per hour and I can’t get them to even call me.
Customer service wins people’s loyalty. I know that some customers can be a real pain in the butt sometimes, but the majority of us just want some basic courtesy. We don’t want to inconvenience you by offering to give you money for a service that you provide. If it is that hard, we will find someone else who wants it. Thank you, is enough most of the time. Please come back, and is there anything else I can do for you today, would go a long way for most people deciding to come back. I have decided that as of today, I will not do business again with anyone who does not proved basic, courteous, customer service. Anyone want to join me?

February 17, 2012

Its Free!!!

by pastortimfowler

Without saying that I am a Republican or Democrat, I am saying that I am sick of politicians promising everything to everyone and saying that it is free. The latest argument that insurance companies should give away contraceptives to people who are poor is another of the many “free” things the government promises. The latest vote on the Hill is to continue giving unemployment to those who are still without work. They are “giving” us about $40 extra in our paychecks by not taking more of our money. The sacrifice that no one is talking about is that this gift is coming from our future Social Security. I can probably do without it now more than I can do without it when it is my retirement plan.
Who pays for anything that the government “gives” us? Where does the government get “their” money? Its call our taxes. Its called taking our money and using it as if it was theirs. I won’t argue about who should pay more. Rich or poor, we should all pay our share because we must fund the basics of what makes our country function, but welfare and handouts don’t make anyone more productive and those things are not free. The only people who do not pay for these things are those who are making it their lifestyle of taking and never giving.
I ran a business a couple of times in my life. Nothing was free. Every factor of business was accounted for and was figured into the pricing of our products and services. If I incurred a cost such as a raise in rent, power bill, payroll, or made to give something away, I passed the cost on to the customer. Don’t gasp in disbelief, because every business does it. Otherwise we can’t stay in business. So when the government, who has no money of its own, tells any business that they must pass on a service or a product to those who can’t pay and make it “free”, someone will have to pay for it and that someone is the paying customers.
Freedom is not free. There is always a price for something valuable. Those who get things for free continually have no value in what they get and someone else is paying for them. They become dependent and often feel as if they are owed the hand out. The right to have property comes from the privilege of having a job or a way to produce a product that has value to someone else who is willing to pay for it. A home given to someone who has no desire to work and no concern of losing it is often a just a building that eventually has no worth to anyone. A check that is given for doing nothing but walking to the mailbox only makes one want to walk to the mailbox. Sure we pay for unemployment insurance, but that has its limits. Congress extending those benefits for what is now years, are not spending the big pile of free money that they make, but rather they are taking money from my paycheck that I earn and giving it to someone who now, may not be willing to work anymore.
Everything has a cost and some has to pay. Usually those who pay the highest cost are those who have the biggest heart. Government has no heart. They are not giving out of love and concern, but rather the desire to stay in office. If they want it to be free, give it from their paycheck and leave mine alone.
I give to church and other charities. I help those in need and do it because of the motivation of knowing Jesus as my Savior. But never forget that Jesus worked. He told people to work and give and even to pay taxes. But paying taxes was never to take care of those who want something for free. His command was for Christians to personally take care of the family and people they knew who were in need and the church to take care of the poor that had no family…not the government.
Stop believing when people say. Its free!