I regularly sing the praises of local businesses that meet and exceed my expectations, and I generally try and avoid naming names if the service I receive is less than stellar. I often tweet about great business finds, and I will occasionally write up a review here on the blog (although not all of my reviews are local businesses).
Today I decided I wanted to get laser hair removal for my underarms. Thrilling stuff, I know. I get really bad razor burn, don’t like waiting for hair to grow out between waxes, don’t like the chemicals of depilatories, and yet am not comfortable with just letting it all grow. A friend of mine recently bought a group buying coupon and was singing the praises of getting the laser hair removal for her underarms and so today, while walking home from picking Kale up from preschool, I saw a local business who shall go unnamed, and their sign offering medical esthetics, including laser hair removal. I like supporting local businesses and decided I would go that route even if it cost me more money than the Groupon or TeamBuy route.
So I looked up their website, and like most of the local businesses, it is terrible. There was a “email me” button so I clicked on it and asked a few questions looking for clarification. The response I got was lukewarm, and half heartedly answered my question, and directed me to “look on the website” for more info but didn’t bother to provide me with a place to look. The business uses an online booking system, which is great in theory but the user interface of how it’s been set up is terrible and there’s a note that essentially says “I’m a one person operation so you’ll just have to create an account with this third party scheduling system if you want to use my service.” Annoying, but okay, I will. Except I couldn’t find the vague thing the business owner told me to do. So, I replied, and asked about making an appointment via email. I listed all the times I was available for the next week and asked if any of those slots were available.
The response was (and I’m paraphrasing because this is what I think the business owner meant, it wasn’t well written) “I think I’m busy but if you look on the website you can find out for sure. I have to go now and get ready for a client”.
Well, sorry, but you lost me, unnamed business. I will randomly wait for a group buy coupon and take my business out of the community. I was willing to drop upwards of $500 with you, but I’m not going to do that now.
So, here are some tips about retaining my business, local business owners.
- First, have a website that doesn’t suck. This one isn’t hard, although most of you say it is. If you can’t afford a web designer, throw together a single page that has your email address, phone number, and address on it. It would be great if I could shop online but I’m perfectly okay just coming into your store, so even a list of what brands you carry is great. Do not make me hunt for that info, either.
- If you have email, check it. Daily. I agree it is kind of sad how much we as a society rely on email, but you know what? That’s life. We do, so if you aren’t capable of checking your email every day, then don’t bloody well have email.
- Do not reply to my email if you don’t have the time to actually answer it. Set aside some time each day to treat an email like a client walking in the door.
- If you don’t want my business, stop trying to get it. Seriously. Enough with the signs, the websites, the brochures and the ads.