Unacceptable is a very clear word to me. An unacceptable circumstance is intolerable for business or customers. I’ve used an auto repair shop that’s convenient, reasonable in cost, and has an owner I believe is ethical. However for six weeks, their phone system hasn’t worked properly. When I call and no one picks up the call, it goes to voicemail except you cannot leave a message on any of the extensions. I brought this situation to the owner and manager on several occasions. Clearly this is extremely frustrating because I can’t get through to make an appointment to bring my car in. Or if my car is in the shop, I can’t find out if it’s ready.
I told the owner I had been looking for a new set of tires but when 15 phone calls to their shop went into the phone’s Never, Never Land, I bought some place else. I stopped by because I had a part on order and received a call to come and have it installed. Again, I was unable to get through the telephone system to make an appointment since I didn’t want to sit around waiting for the service to be concluded. When I stopped by to make my appointment, I talked to the manager who told me they had called the phone people and they had come out a number of times and were coming back tomorrow. My unsolicited advice was that this was unacceptable service from your phone company which resulted in unacceptable service to their customers. I suggested some work-arounds like Grasshopper.com that could at least get them operating with a functional system. My perspective was that while the owner and manager knew the phone was a problem they weren’t treating it with a sense of urgency.
Problems like these need to be fixed immediately without excuses and without waiting on others to take action. If I was in charge of the business I would have sat down with a phone person a long time ago and told them that their level of service was unacceptable. I would require them to fix the phone system with one or two days or we would cancel our contract and make other phone arrangements.
Another occasion I had a piece of furniture set for delivery. On the morning of the agreed upon delivery time, I received a phone call that their truck broke down and they were canceling all deliveries for the day. I was frustrated because I had to rearrange my day. I realize that life is unpredictable so I made another appointment and moved on with my day. Unfortunately I had the same experience with the next delivery date. I set a third appointment and again received a call that the truck was once again broken down and they weren’t able to make any deliveries for that day. However, they promised they would drop it off the next day. I explained that it would not work because I had customer commitments. I reminded them that three times I had blocked off time to receive the furniture and three times they failed their commitment. The dispatcher responded by saying, “We did the best we could. We can’t help it if the truck breaks down.” My response was that the truck may break down but there were rental companies they could have used to honor their commitments. I canceled my order and expected a full refund of my deposit.
In your business, you will run into difficulties from time to time. When difficulties are unacceptable to us or our customers, we need to fix them quickly with a sense of urgency.
Nehemiah faced an unacceptable situation as we see from scripture: “They said to me, ‘Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.’" (Nehemiah 1:3, NIV) Nehemiah tackled this with a sense of urgency. He motivated the people to work with a sense of urgency. Later we learn that they “rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.” (Nehemiah 4:6, NIV) Every business leader has a choice. You can either allow the unacceptable to control you and drift along, or you can fix the unacceptable with a true sense of urgency. Find a way to fix the unacceptable. It is the best way to keep growing your business.
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