Be Easy to Do Business With

easy-buttonYears ago, I was running a small company without a sales force.  We were desperately trying to build out our customer base and I was negotiating terms with a number of organizations.  In talking with an advisor to the company, he said to me, “make it easy for the customer to say ‘yes.’  Be easy to do business with.”  It’s advice I’ve reminded myself of many times over the years.  And while it is always a challenge to strike the right balance between working through details and simply coming to an agreement, my aim is always to make the process as pain-free as possible.  That said, in the past 24 hours, I have had three highly dissatisfying interactions with companies with whom I was trying to do business as the customer.  Allow me to explain…

Example 1

I’ve been looking for a new primary care doctor and met a physician last week who I really liked and was excited to see.  When I called to book an appointment, instead of being able to simply book one, I was given a lengthy set of requirements to become a new patient (e.g. paperwork… then extensive lab work… then a two-hour appointment…).  Additionally, I was informed of the price for the initial effort and learned that the practice is “cash only” meaning they don’t take health insurance.  Still wishing to work this doc, I asked about submitting my own claims.  They said, sure, but told me that they “don’t and won’t do any coding” of the services provided (required information for the insurance claims) because, “it’s just not something we do.”  Wow.

Well, all I can say is a) I tried; b) I’m disappointed and c) they sure don’t make it easy to be a client.

Example 2

Some CLC Community members will recall a November post in which I shared that I am in the market for a new car.  Good news!  I found and negotiated for a great vehicle through a relatively pleasant process.  With a handshake and a bit of paperwork, the dealer confirmed that the car would arrive today.

Sounds great, right?  Well, early this morning, I received an email telling me, “Sorry!  We accidentally sold the car to another buyer.”  They went on to say that it would be difficult to get another car in because there is an auto manufacturer strike going on where the cars are built.  The representative asked me to call to discuss further.  Sheesh.  Not a very pleasant surprise, eh?

Made me think a) didn’t we have an agreement? b) who’s fault is it that the car is not available? and c) they sure don’t make it easy to be a client.

Example 3

There is a particular office supply retailer who boasts about how “easy” it is to get your office supply needs taken care of.  Well, truth told, they sure don’t make it easy to be a client since every time I go in there, it takes at least 10 minutes to get through the checkout process – and that’s when I’m the only customer in line!  Hmmm…

In all cases, these providers neglected to make it easy to do business with them.  I can’t say that I am completely ready to walk away, but I’m not real eager to race back for their services – not when there are other organizations that are likely interested in my business and willing to make the process pain-free and truly easy.

Have you had buying experiences you think back on either favorably or unfavorably?  Did those organizations make it easy to do business with them?  Please take a moment to comment at


4 thoughts to “Be Easy to Do Business With”

  1. Maybe we should post companies that give great customer service. I had not been into Scheels for a few months, but was looking for a gift suggestion. I was greeted at the entrance and ask where a particular product was. She said on the second floor and said someone would meet me at the top of the escalator which they did. The sales associate was very knowledgeable about the product and gave me the features and benefits of the choices I had. It made an impression with me, but this type of service is lacking in most retail outlets.

  2. This makes me think of the shopping scene in “Pretty Woman.” I have money that I want to spend in your store, but … you sure don’t make it easy to be a client.

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