Oct 26, 2007

What Really Scares Me

Last year it was Rosie "Scrapping" on The View. This year it's...

Zombie Business Owners! (ZoBO's)

You know the kind - they put up with ANYTHING from vendors, from customers or from their direct sales company. Basically, they close their eyes and forge ahead not thinking about what's happening around them. Many of them don't even know if they are making money. They just stumble ahead as the business un-dead.

ScrapBiz was started because I refused to be a ZoBO. When the direct sales company I was with decided to essentially shut down customer service because, "we are getting too many calls" (because they didn't have anything in stock for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks) I left before I could be Zombied. They closed down the phones so no one could get hold of them except via email (which is really easy to ignore). Then, they moved their entire company (the 5 things left in the warehouse) to another state. All the while, they told the ZoBO's, "happy thoughts", "stay positive", "don't speak unkindly about our wonderful company", "don't discourage others!" (and "here, drink some more Kool-Aid..."). You simply were NOT allowed to complain or even ask questions about their actions. If you asked any questions (like, "Hey, when are the catalogs I ordered 6 months ago going to ship?") on their Yahoo Group, others would jump all over you for being "negative". You were expected to sit tight and be "happy-happy" while they screwed up your business. Meanwhile, my customers, who were NOT Zombies, found other places to buy scrapbook products. So, I ran from the pack of ZoBO's like Jamie Lee Curtis in a Horror Flick.

Why SHOULDN'T you question the actions of a company that messes up? I don't get it. If I'm working with a distributor or other wholesaler and they do something like, oh, send my order of Halloween stuff in mid-November, should I thank them and say, "Hey, it's MY fault. I should have ordered this in January, not August. Shame on me for getting upset about how over-worked you are right now. You're a great company and I love you!" Heck no! I should resolve to NOT order from them again and find an alternative. I probably just lost sales and certainly got stuck with Halloween stuff at Thanksgiving. Fat lot of good that will do me. I will not stay silent, nor would a good company expect me too. Nor would they say, "Don't contact us about our screw-up because it will make us feel bad. Oh, and don't tell anyone else we screwed up because it might make THEM feel bad. Let's just keep this between ourselves..."

Every company trips in the customer service department from time to time. But, the trick is to keep yourself in a position that if they trip too many times or the trip seems to be "odd" (such as not wanting to talk to people and handle problems), then perhaps you need to think about what it really means. And, if it makes you too uncomfortable, perhaps you need to find a similar supplier or another company to work with. The key is to not let yourself be Zombied! Keep your independence and don't join the pack of the un-dead business owners who wander around unable to make their own decisions about what's best for their business. You don't have the power over your customers to get them to wait - they will find a REAL LIVE business to do business with.

By the way, if you are already a scrapbook business owner, ScrapBiz has an option for you! You can join us and take advantage of our wonderful support program. We aren't ZoBO's - we talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of running a business in the Scrapbook industry. Everyone's opinion is respected and we talk - a lot - about running the business that suits YOU! Click HERE for information and to see if you qualify.

1 comment:

All moments remembered said...

YEAH for a voice for us!!! I agree with you 110%!!!! Wont be a ZoBo here either!!!