What drives our B2B customers away from us?

Milind runs a DTP set-up in Mumbai. He takes typesetting jobs. Regional languages like Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati are his specialty. He uses an Indian language software on top of DTP software. He had bought that software about two years ago which came along with a dongle (security lock).

Recently, he had to format his computer hard disk and hence needed to re-install the Indian language software. He found that the installation CD of the software was not working. May be due to prolonged non-use it had been damaged. He immediately contacted the dealer of the software from who he had bought it and requested for another copy of the CD. The dealer’s response shocked Milind. This is what he was told :

Dealer : Damage of CD is your fault. You must have kept CD properly. Why you did not take care of it? Now you will have to pay money for that. People are careless and then they come to us. You should contact Company for the new CD.

Milind : My work has stalled and I am losing at least two thousand rupees a day due to that software not installed. Please give me company phone number.

Dealer : That is your problem. I am not here to give everybody phone numbers. It is printed on the CD. I know at least you can  find those numbers on the CD label.

Milind was shocked by such callous attitude. Helplessly, he contacted the Pune head office of the software company. There was another shock waiting for him. The person at the company told him “Why did you call up the head office? We have a dealer in Mumbai and so we don’t attend customers directly when a dealer is assigned a territory. You will have to speak to him.”

After explaining to him the story, the person relented, listened to him and told again “Ok. You call up the dealer and tell him to speak to me.” It was only after about ten days, that Milind could get the CDs after paying an unreasonable amount for something which should come to him at a very nominal cost.

He decided to switch to another Indian language software as soon as possible and he did it within a few weeks. Sometimes, no complicated reasons are responsible for business failures. They are all simple, silly things which lead to mammoth failures. The apathy of the dealer and other customer-facing individuals in a company’s channel can destroy a customer’s trust and drive them away from us. When a B2B customer’s work gets affected due to the supplier  /vendor’s delayed response, he will promptly find another vendor and product.