How a good business is supposed to operate

This has been an interesting few weeks in terms of seeing the differences between how a good business that truly cares about their people and their customers operate and a business that is run by people who pretend to care but do not. They show it in their actions and the treatment of both customers and employees.

The good business is where I take Yoga. Jess and the people of The Original Hot Yoga Center in Voorhees NJ makes me feel like I am at home and welcomed every time I walk through their doors. I asked for fans in the locker room and they put them in. I asked for the water which was too hot to be made a little less hot and got that. It seems that the owner Jess is interested in whatever it takes to make her clients happy and content. She is always looking at ways to improve the business and service by offering packages and specials and encouraging everyone to participate and gain the benefits of the new product or offering. She only brings things into the business that improve the overall experience for the customers. She brought in Organic Juices and Foods and when any of her clients has an ailment she mothers us back to help with nutritional suggestions and cold pressed juices. During class she and the employees are always encouraging and helpful. We have learned that it’s about improving ourselves. The attitudes are always positive and uplifting. You see it with the employees who mimic this behavior of helpfulness. They get customer service and how to get people to come back. This is one of the best run businesses I have seen in a long time.

Now to the bad. A current client of mine is in the process of being held hostage by a company that is owned and run by a selfish person who takes advantage of others for his own personal gain. The contracts the vendor issued are not adhered to by themselves and the client is being forced to deal with an owner who doesn’t get it and is unreasonable. He is holding back the data they need to run their business even though the contract states they can’t. The client followed the rules and gave proper notice of termination of the agreement but the owner chooses to act like a selfish four year old and take his ball and go home. Basically this is extortion. They fabricated charges to the point of forcing the client to pay ransom for their own data. Then he turns around and send emails to his organization lying to his employees that everything is great and that the other vendors who were involved (yours truly as one of them) were sabotaging the data.

The owner doesn’t understand compromise and while marketing themselves as a charitable company (chuckle) preaching that they perform social good, they use this ruse that they are there to help others as a way to look for business. They attend charitable events and hand out business cards. They don’t practice what they preach. They only pay employees when they are billing, not when they are in the office waiting for business. They bully the technical workers to go find business and provide no benefits or even expense reimbursements to their employees for travel to client sites. They don’t care about the customer just that the customer pays. Yes they will tell you they care but actions always speak louder than words.

In this situation the vendor scorched the earth. He went around his primary contact the CFO to the CEO – mistake number one. He threw his vendors under the bus by not paying the bill and claiming there was sabotage – mistake number two. He announced via emails how bad everyone else was in this situation (accepting no responsibility himself) to his employees instead of being professional. Now his employees wonder what’s really wrong with him – Mistake number three. His myopic vision of the situation is his downfall. Somehow he thinks he can strong arm a client. In my book that never works.

By being adversarial this company not only lost their largest client but they have poisoned the well in terms of doing business with the local community and my guess is will not be around much longer. Referral business will never happen. The owner is more concerned about himself being right then finding a solution that keeps the client happy. It’s a short sided view of how to do business living by the philosophy of scorching the earth eventually it catches up with you. People do business with people they know, like and trust. I feel that way about Jess and The Original Hot Yoga center. I now go out of my way to make sure that anyone I know does not and will not do business with the bad company. Good Customer Service brings people back time and time again. Bad customer service spreads like the plague.