Tuesday, April 12, 2011

a disappointing project

Over the past several weeks I've had 11 projects going at once - and it's been GREAT!  I love being busy, I love organizing projects, I love everything falling into place.  I've been on a super high for weeks!!!

The projects have ranged from ordering new office furniture to redesigning party suites to ordering signage to coordinate cleaning plans to installing new floors throughout the building.  I'm a happy girl.

Except. For. One. Project.

The most simple projects, the no-brainer has completely fallen apart & frankly, I'm heartbroken.

It's furniture.  Office furniture.  Manufacturered here in the United States.  Customized to fit my client's needs.  Once all the components are decided upon, approved and paid for, all I have to do is sit back and wait until it's built and delivered.  Done this thousands of times & could manage it with my eyes closed, hands behind my back and my mouth wired shut. 

I did everything I was supposed to do - I made decisions quickly, I paid in full in advance, I ordered in enough time to have it here well before the deadline.  So how is that of all the things I have going on, this is the one that has me feeling defeated?  First, one of the pieces has a flaw & the manufacturer wants to re-start production that will cost me a 2 week delay.  I respectfully requested they stick to our original schedule and they amazingly pull a rabbit out of their hat which has it only 2 days delayed, and due to my meticulous planning with a built-in time buffer, keeps us well on track.  So what happens next?  This same piece ends up lost in transit!  It's, hmmm, I don't know, 3'x6'x3' and it's lost????  Seriously???  

Guess what?  They don't make their delivery or install deadline.  The vendor tells me to "just leave the old furniture in the office", which really sets my teeth on edge.  I'm livid.  This is MY project, MY product since I paid for it in advance, MY neck on the line if it fails regardless of who is at fault or why, and quite frankly, it's MY decision whether or not we continue to use the old furniture.  Am I right?  I think I am.

I put my foot down & tell them I want THEM to provide me substitute furniture until this is rectified - to which they argue about costs & labor, to which I argue that I do not give a damn.  I'm tired of being treated as if I am unimportant, to which they quickly assure me I am indeed important and miracurously produce a substitute desk set-up for this office...

When the "real" furniture is ready, I schedule a 10a install... which turns into a 1p install because they're late an without calling.  The product finally arrives damaged, scratched, without all the features (no grommets!), and a mis-sized tackboard.  Really???  Really???  Really!  Another week goes by while we wait for remedies - band aids, in my opinion!  Their solution to the lack of grommets is to promise me a removable panel so we can access the cabling on the back side of the desk (which will be paid for with the $624 credit the furniture vendor owes me) - GREAT suggestion, except, when the wood workers come out to cut the door, it's more a rectangular hole with a removable cover that is high off the ground & will require us to fish our arms thru to access the connections...  really???  Really!  Called the vendor & complained to which I was told, "wait & see if the end user says anything."  (oh no he didn't!  oh yes he did.)

Ugh.  I'm done.  I'm so over this that I have no interest in arguing with the him anymore.  I think I'm one of those people who's silence is deadly.  I'm shutting down rather than fighting back.  My vendor - someone I've worked with for 10+ years is probably mistaking my silence for tolerance & acceptance (it is what it is), but it's not.  I'm done.  I'm finished.  I'm not arguing because I'm not interested in salvaging this relationship, which is unfortunate because we have worked compatibly together for 10+ years. 

And here is where this all finally comes together: customer service and how one little misstep can cost you a relationship.  I'm not their biggest client but I've been a good one.  I've consistently given them business during the years and abided by their stipulations & adapted my business to their requirements, instead of vice versa.  I'm pleased with their product and I've promoted it.  But now it's all going down the tubes.  I'm done.  Absolutely done.  I feel taken for granted and like a 2nd class, unimportant client.  Not good.



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