As a small business owner myself I know that the one thing I can provide to my clients, that the big box stores can’t,  is unparalleled customer service. According to Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck, the authors of Worth Every Penny, small business owners actually have a huge advantage against big box stores. We can provide customized personal service, offer specials for specific dates (like a birthday) and give service that is bar none and above your expectations…..except when it’s not.


I was recently gifted a massage certificate to a company called Pure Life Massage and Wellness located in Franklin, TN. For two months I have called, emailed and direct messaged this company via social media to schedule a massage with my gift certificate. Outraged at the lack of service I have started calling every day and leaving messages to let them know the day, time and number of calls I’ve made, all with no response. Unfortunately, I have no recourse. A dear friend purchased it for me as a gift for the holidays and I wouldn’t dare tell her the issues I am having. Why? Because out of the kindness of her heart she purchased this massage for me as a gift…I wouldn’t taint her generosity with this company’s stupidity. Now, I will add I have been in such situations before. Possibly a death, divorce or other such emergency has occurred rendering them unable to answer the phone. But unable to reply to emails or phone calls for two months? I’m sorry this is unacceptable.

Surprisingly, this is not the first time this has happened to me. Last year I purchased a deal ran through a local salon for half off their salon services. As part of their “customer appreciation month” for celebrating their 10 year anniversary they offered a great deal on all their services. To me it was a no brainer at 50% off. Problem is I couldn’t get a hold of anyone at the salon, but unlike Pure Life, they did call me back….after hours. To which I would call again, get a message and repeat the cycle. Needless to say the deal expired before I ever got my salon services and I decided then and there I would never take part in a deal of that nature; and yet here I am again trying to schedule a massage, about to expire in three days, and no one will answer my emails or calls.

Hmmmm, so is this a new tactic? Generating cash flow quickly to save your ass with no intention of honoring it? Perhaps. I rarely complain, if ever. But I have to say that as a small business owner who bends over backwards for her clients I would never behave this way. I also think this is the reason small business will fail if idiots like this keep this crap up. While big box stores can’t provide the individual customer service that a customer or client may need they at least pick up their damn phone and make sure you’re happy.

How about you? What are some of your customer service nightmares?

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