Do You Like Them TODAY?

January 12, 2010
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image: The more specific you are with your vendors and suppliers, the greater the likelihood that you?ll get the service you expect.

Ambiguity can be a problem when dealing with vendors and suppliers. If you?re not clear in communicating your expectations, you may not get the results you want, as you will see below.

One week each summer, we visit my wife’s family in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. During the vacation, we go to the Great Escape theme park with some of the family.

On the way to the park this year, we stopped at a sub shop to pick up some sandwiches for lunch. We ordered our subs and walked over to the display with the bags of potato chips. There were several varieties including plain, barbecue, salt and vinegar, and sour cream & onion.

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My niece, who was trying to finalize her order for her daughter and teenage sister, quickly scanned the chips and snatched a bag off the shelf. She asked her sister, “Do you like sour cream and onion potato chips?” The sister paused, thought a moment, and replied, “Sometimes.” As the clerk was waiting to ring up the order, my niece impatiently asked, “WELL, do you like them TODAY?”

After a series of dirty looks back and forth between my two nieces, they settled on the sour cream and onion chips.

Even though most businesses make decisions far more important than selecting potato chips, you can see that ambiguous responses, like this example, can leave far too much room for interpretation and miscommunication.

Look closely at the details of your vendor contracts and your in-house service-level agreements. Make sure that all of the essential details are clearly specified. The more specific you are with your vendors and suppliers, the greater the likelihood that you?ll get the service you expect.

Ron Rosenberg helps organizations get more customers than they know what to do with and keep them for life. For a Free Special Report with 44 Proven Customer Service tips, visit www.qualitytalk.com/tips.

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