I Don’t Care What You Ordered

Last year I wrote a blog about vendors who overpromise and under-deliver. [Don’t Make Promises That You Can’t Keep].

Last week, a vendor took customer service to a whole new level.  It went something like this.

Here’s a summary of the exchange:

EXAIR: I’m calling because there is a problem with our order.  It was just delivered and it isn’t what we ordered.

Vendor Sales Weasel: OK, I’ll check into that and get back to you.

OK so far, right?

[Fast forward to the next day]

EXAIR: Do you have an answer yet on our order?

Vendor Sales Weasel: I’ve worked up a list of alternate products that we could provide to you.

EXAIR: We don’t want an alternate product – we want the one that we ordered.

Vendor Sales Weasel: Well it wasn’t my decision to change your order.  I’ll get someone else to call you.

This is about to go off the rails, isn’t it?

[Several hours pass]

Vendor Manager: Your order…we decided that we didn’t want to make it that way so we changed it.

EXAIR: What?

Vendor Manager: We didn’t want to do it that way anymore, so we changed the spec.

EXAIR: But you’ve been providing what we ordered for years.

Vendor Manager: Not any more.

EXAIR: You knew the specs when you accepted the order.  If you couldn’t deliver, why did you accept the order?

Vendor Manager: We thought you’d be OK with the changes.

EXAIR: We can’t accept the changes.  Will you deliver what we ordered?

Vendor Manager: No, we won’t do it that way anymore.

EXAIR: Why not?

Vendor Manager: We don’t want to.

EXAIR: Are you serious?

Vendor Manager: Sorry, won’t do it.

[Exasperation sets in]

EXAIR: So let me make sure that I have this right…you knew the specs, right?

Vendor Manager: Yep

EXAIR: And you accepted the order months ago?

Vendor Manager: Yep

EXAIR: And somewhere along the way, you decided that the specs didn’t matter?

Vendor Manager: Yep

EXAIR: And you didn’t think that was worth a phone call?

Vendor Manager: Um.  We probably could have handled that better.

EXAIR: And now you are saying you can’t deliver what we ordered?

Vendor Manager: No, we can’t.

EXAIR: Do you realize how much money is at stake here?

Vendor Manager: Yes but we thought you’d be OK with the changes.

EXAIR: We already told you that we aren’t OK with the changes.

Vendor Manager: There’s not much we can do now.

EXAIR: We’ll send over the cancellation notice.

This clueless vendor lost a six-figure contract because they accepted an order, ignored the specs, and then didn’t think it was worth their time to talk to us about the changes.

Needless to say, this company is now an ex-vendor.

EXAIR doesn’t do business this way, and we don’t do business with companies that do.

Bryan Peters

4 thoughts on “I Don’t Care What You Ordered

  1. I agree completely with this, we have similar issues with some vendors. We deliver what we promise and expect the same from our vendors. Laird will not work with vendors that don’t provide the product or service level that they promise. There are several manufacturers and distributors out there that will say and do ANYTHING to get the business, but once they have your order, or once there is a problem with your order, the question always falls to, “Do you trust them?” We stand behind what we sell, even if the vendor won’t! So we work with vendors that will and do. I appreciate the fact that EXAIR works the same way.
    Great post!!

  2. Mike – thanks for the affirmation, its nice to be in good company and have someone second the motion.

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