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What’s the cost of saying “No”?

ID-100305442Most businesses are constantly chasing leads and seeking new business, but what happens when it all clicks, and you get bombarded with business and are forced to say “No” or to delay customers using your service or buying your product? Worse still, how would your regular customers feel if they were greeted with such as response from you?

A couple of recent examples have occurred in my world, and it made me ponder how others may feel.

Example 1- A government service provider has been actively promoting an energy efficiency program for your home, offering a free service. When called, there was about a 5 month wait to have this service completed!

Example 2- A small business offering bike repairs was contacted to service a bike (as a repeat customer) only to be told they were too busy and had about a 3 week wait, therefore would not be taking orders any more until they “caught up” to avoid the delay in their service.

These are two separate scenarios, but both have a negative impact on the end-user. Sure, the government offer was probably just too good to refuse and they were inundated with calls, but, wouldn’t it make sense to stop promoting it until the wait time had been reduced? Was there adequate pre planning and projections on the ‘what if’ scenario of what happens if this really takes off? Can we cope? How many residences can we actually service etc?

In the bike scenario, there is a risk that a blocking of service will in fact putt off regular customers and force them to look elsewhere, potentially jeopardising the ‘life time value’ of their customer base?

It is a difficult (and you may argue nice) problem to have, but this contingency is one that all businesses must plan for. If running a campaign, you need to be fully aware of what your capacity to service is, and have a plan to discontinue your promotional activity temporarily to avoid over booking.

A simple philosophy to monitor your promotional activity is the 3E model. For all activity constantly review and decide whether to:

Enhance – if it is not working as you planned, modify it.

Extend – if it works well and you can still service or supply, continue

Exit – if it’s not working, or if you need to ‘back off’ to catch up and provide the quality service you promote.

Success in business, or in a campaign is great, but be cautious not to do it at the risk of a short-term gain for long-term pain or damage.

Tony Ozanne


Image from Stock photo – Image ID: 100305442
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