Today, after a period of research via the Internet we decided to purchase a couple of pieces of equipment for the company. These were premium quality items, built to last, and as such should represent a reasonable profit to the suppliers. We made a short list of suppliers who we'd contact to discuss placing an order. They were outside of our normal portfolio of suppliers. The equipment is heavy and we'll need to organise additional manpower to receive and install the units.
We started to make the supplier phone calls at 9:30 am this morning. We'd already sent an enquiry, three working days ago, to a well publicised supplier via email because they don't publish a contact phone number! This supplier (importer) is fronted by a national celebrity whose name is part of the branding. We'd received no response, so they were struck off the list. As their's was the most pricey item we'd be saving money anyway, so this was no major blow.
We then started to work down the list of suppliers. The first three suppliers didn't answer their phones and the calls rolled over to voice mail. We didn't bother leaving a message. The fourth supplier had an answerphone message asking us to call a mobile phone, when we called the mobile number, we were advised the owner was not available and to call again later. All of these suppliers have established web sites with the expensive equipment advertised on their pages.
The fifth company we called answered the phone promptly. The person on the other end was knowledgeable and friendly. He had to check some information with the supplier and asked if he could call us back, rather than us waiting on the phone. He called back 10 minutes later with the required information. We placed the order over the phone, Their profit margin should certainly pay that gentleman's wages for the week.
We just wonder why, during normal business hours, companies cannot have someone available to answer their phones. There are lots of methods of doing this cheaply yet efficiently. The first four companies lost the opportunity to receive an order, and subsequent follow up business.