I am pretty brutal when it comes to giving bad businesses second chances. Every dollar that I spend at a store is like a vote. I am saying with my purchase “I love your company, and I trust your business or service enough to know that I will get what I’m paying for”. So just because you are “Black Owned and Operated” doesn’t guarantee my permanent patronage.
I lived in an apartment complex that lost one of my payments. Rather than sending me a courtesy note, they went straight to court. I showed up at the office with proof of payment and was met with a rude and uncaring secretary(a Black lady, no less) in the leasing office. I went to court where the judge immediately dismissed the case. No apology from the apartment. No “sorry for our mistake, sorry for you having to leave work under the presumption that you didnt pay your rent”. Just a funky look from the secretary when I next came into the office. I broke my lease and left the complex immediately after that.
I stayed at a hotel, that still hasnt refunded my deposit from a year ago, even after repeated inquiries. Again, rude and uncaring attendants. I can honestly say I will never give my money to this company again.
I have the same attitude towards the restaurant, insurance company, bank, clothing store, and Barber shops whose sub-par people push sub-par products or services that fail in one form or another.
(example: I went to a new Barber who barely said a word to me during the entire cut, didnt show me a mirror when he was done, and did a half-ass job of dusting me off. I never returned and warned everyone else not to go either).
I don’t vote for politicians that stab me in the back.
I don’t vote for companies with my dollars that stab me in the back.
Loyalty is Earned, Not Inherited
On the other hand, I am loyal to the death when it comes to really great Black companies.
I will ONLY eat lunch at this small soulful cafe owned by a great Conscious couple in my city.
I will ONLY take my vehicle to this old Black mechanic who hugs me like he hasnt seen me in years whenever I get an oil change.
I will ONLY let barbers cut my hair who always go the extra mile to make sure I am happy and I look good.
There is nothing better than going to something owned by my people that reflects the sincere love that we should all have for each other. Black businesses that treat every customer like a CEO. They earned my loyalty, they didnt just get it off the top because we are both Black.
Being in business is more than just making transactions – its about giving your customers support before, during, and after the sale. Help your customers make a good buying decision, show them the features and benefits they get during the sale, and be there to make sure everything is ok after the sale or service is rendered.
Your customers dont care if you are having a bad day. They dont care if you have a million other things to do. Give them personal attention and respect, or else one day you will look up and there wont be any customers around to pay attention to.
Principles in Practice
Make sure you are earning the dollar-votes of your customers! Do a complete company overhaul to make sure your product, representatives, and support are all in place and giving the customer a great experience. If you are an employee, recognize the impact that your mood and customer service is having on your company (and your potential for continued employment). If you are a customer, vote with your dollar – not just with your race. Send bad businesses into bankruptcy to help the truly great Black companies continue to be great.