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What happened to courtesy?

By Gene Schulist, School-Pak

I’m bummed.

This time of year we get requests from schools asking for quotes on pre-packaged school supply kits.

We take special steps to contact the school coordinator to determine what’s important to them, i.e. brand name products, bulk shipments, online ordering, home delivery, etc., and send them a simple survey they can answer and ask for a phone number contact.

In many cases they don’t send the survey back nor do they provide a phone number so a second email is sent asking for the survey. We usually decide they have a low level of interest if they don’t respond.

But what’s more frustrating is having that phone conversation, spending a number of hours preparing the quote, making sure it’s accurate, sending it back to the coordinator and then being ignored.

So what’s happened to courtesy? Am I expecting too much?  Can’t they call/text/fax/email that they either do or don’t have an interest? 

I know that we’re not the most important decision they face. But even a “thank you, not interested” would be nice.

I spoke to a vendor recently that echoed the same complaint. Her company attends tradeshows to present their products to possible and current retailers. They’re asked for samples, which they send. They’re asked for pricing, which they send. The company sends follow-up emails. But they’re ignored. That really sucks when they’ve spent up to $20,000 or more just to contact their customers and prospects. You’d think that business owners and company representatives would have some response considering, in this case, all of their costs of travel, lodging and food was paid for by the vendors in attendance.

We’ve attended a number of tradeshows in the past where the main focus of the attendees was to see how much candy they could collect, not look at product.

Someone said “That’s the cost of doing business”. I think that’s wrong. My cost of business shouldn’t include giving out free items to people who have no interest in my products.

So, if you’ve received some samples from a manufacturer, or asked someone to contact you, respond. Let them know that you’re interested or that they’re wasting their time.

My Christmas wish is that everyone follows the golden rule. It also would make a great New Year’s resolution.

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