Earlier this week I was in the market for a trailer hitch. The automobile dealer wanted about 3 times what I thought was a fair price (Hello, Volvo?) and I heard from a couple of people that U-Haul did a good job at a reasonable price.
U-Haul can tell you on their website which locations are nearby and what services they offer. Some only rent trucks, so I could bypass them. With a list of phone numbers I proceeded to call the locations that offered trailers and trailer hitches.
Unfortunately, not all locations offering trailer hitches had “trailer hitch mechanics” on site to install them. And the ones with mechanics couldn’t get to me for at least three weeks.
After an hour’s worth of research online and another hour of unsuccessful telephone conversations I gave up and decided to take a different direction. I was prepared to spend money with U-Haul, but they made it next to impossible to do so. They could have made it easy.
How difficult would it be to show online which locations actually install trailer hitches. And, how difficult would it be to show available times and allow me to book an appointment online? Making it easy for me would have created a happy customer for U-Haul.
Also, as a highly motivated buyer with a deadline I would have been willing to pay extra for speedy service. Are trailer hitch mechanics so valuable that the company can’t get one to work an hour of overtime for a customer willing to pay an extra $50 or $75?
I’m not singling out U-Haul, we’ve all had experiences with businesses making it difficult to spend money with them. If I had one piece of advice it would be this:
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Attempt a buying transaction with your own company and see where the kinks are. You might just be surprised.