Sunday, September 24, 2006

Unbusinesslike Behaviour

It has been suggested that things shouldn't surprise me after 3 years of living in China. It's true that most questions that begin with 'Why?' are probably best answered with 'Why not?' but some of the things people have done to get my business are simply crazy.

At work, we were looking to buy a new fire evacuation system. We've been using company A for some time and invited their rather effite representative to a meeting with our building manager and, despite being asked not to, proceeded to take 7 incoming calls during a 30 minute meeting - so much so that he wasn't paying any attention to anything that was being said.

At the end of the meeting, I insisted that we should find another company and get a second quote (OK, I know that's a good idea anyway but we were under a lot of time pressure), largely because I was so displeased. A few days later when both quotes came in - for the exact same make and model of equipment, company B had actually quoted a price that was 30% cheaper than company A.

So far so normal. We asked company B to come in and prepare contracts for us to sign but they came not with contracts but with news. Company A had got wind of the fact they'd been outbid, probably from the fire evacuation equipment manufacturer. Company A had asked the manufacturer not to supply to company B at all but they weren't comfortable with that so they agreed to increase the price!

I can't imagine what they were thinking but they actually told all this to Company B who told me. I can only imagine that their thinking was 'If we don't supply it at all we'll lose the sale so we'll just put the price up by 20%' but to tell the person you're ripping off out of spite (and by proxy too) seems too illogical for words.

Needless to say, we didn't buy that manufacturer's produce at all and won't be using their equipment, or the services of company A, ever again. I don't know what the Chinese solution would be, but going elsewhere is certainly a valid British reaction.

On to today.

As I mentioned before, we've been looking round kitchen showrooms for some time. One of the companies we quite liked was called Bloom. We actually sat down with them for a good half an hour a couple of months ago to get their idea of what they could do for us. Apart from the fact that we subsequently came across Wellbom kitchens that we preferred, they might have got our business. However, they've become thoroughly irritating since the day we first met them.

They ring YY up every few days and have tried:
  • Ringing up and being very nice, offering all sorts of discounts that they can't quite quantify on the phone.
  • Saying "We've finished the design you asked for so when are you going to come and order" - odd we thought as we hadn't got the keys so they didn't have the dimensions of the kitchen.
  • Saying "We've been talking to your designer" (who they had actually managed to track down by ringing around!) "and he has told us your requirements and that you'd like to use us". Lies, all lies.
and so on. It's getting quite irritating so last time YY called them and said we'd decided to use Wellbom. They clearly won't give up at that though so today they've sunk to new lows and called saying "We've got two customers who have just 'returned' their Wellbom kitchens and come to buy new ones from us. You really shouldn't buy a Wellbom kitchen. We can get the customers to talk to you to tell you why"

Aside from the fact it's really quite irritating both cases seem to illustrate the fact that their actions, rather than encouraging you to buy their products are actually encouraging you to never buy anything from them ever again. I don't know if that's a British thing?


HistoryElephant said...

didn't something like this happen before during one of the office fit outs? It sounds very familiar.

basil said...


basil said...

maybe they saw the plans on flickr

dB said...

Apologies - effete...

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