30 July 2007

How Not to Succeed in Business

There is a new science kit being added to the rotation this year. In early June, I had asked the sales rep about the possibility of scheduling a training for teachers on this kit for sometime in early August (1, 2, or 3). We had some money that would have paid for the trainer and teacher time to attend, but it had to be spent before August 10. I never heard back from the sales rep, assuming that there must be no trainer available.

Lo and behold, I get a call on Friday (July 27). The company that sells the kits was interested in confirming some flight information for the August 1 training. Wha'? I nicely told the lady that I had indeed put in a request for some training, but since I had heard nothing from the company, no teachers were aware. I certainly had no way to get ahold of 40 teachers in 4 days (assuming they're available), let alone make sure that there is an appropriate space, etc. Five days of warning is really not acceptable. I told the sales rep that we would try to reschedule for sometime in September or October. I didn't say that I wished there was a more reliable company from whom to get the training.

I'm still a bit floored by the way this whole thing played out. Is this really how business should be done? Teachers will want and need the training...we have another source of funding to pay for it...but the company is very difficult to deal with. So, I'll look for a way to make things work with them and get teachers what they need, but it apparently won't be easy.


Mike in Texas said...

I'm about to spend $6400 from a grant on some software, and can't get anyone in the company I want to buy it from to contact me. One salesperson promised me and email I never received, and another was supposed to call me and never has.

Mrs. Bluebird said...

Oh good gracious. This is absolutely ridiculous, but is on the long list of "why I left my corporate job to become a teacher"...Some businesses get it right and do the customer service thing perfectly, others can't seem to buy a clue. For example, we have a tire place here in town that ALWAYS gets my business. Why? Service, service, service. I can pull in there, and within minutes, if not seconds, he has guys jacking up my car, checking my tires, and so forth. I have never had to be there longer than 20 minutes and that's for a full tire rotation. The price is right, service is fantastic, and that's one independent business owner that I always support. It works. He has over a dozen guys working for him and there's a constant stream of customers.

I guess if I had grant money to spend, I'd really be looking at customer service history as well.

Dr Pezz said...

I always tell people that I wish businesses in education were just like our local Les Schwab. They run out to your car, make you comfortable, get the problem diagnosed and solved quickly, and then the price is competitive if not low. Maybe this is another needed education reform.