Learning is not always fun, but it is almost always beneficial. Even though I have lived in the Philippines for over 8 years now, I learn new things about life in the Philippines regularly. Sometimes I learn the same lesson many times over, because I forget what I learned previously. Forgetting lessons is not a good thing, but it happens.
A couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail from a lady who is a businesswoman. She wanted to sell me something. Actually, the product that she was selling is something that I was very interested in, and have been actually thinking about buying. I am not going to say what the product is, because what I write in this column might lead to embarrassment for the person, and really the product itself is not important.
So, after receiving the e-mail, in which the lady asked if we could have a meeting, I talked to Feyma about it, and we both agreed that we would meet with the person. Because of the fact that I already had my Mindanao Tour scheduled, I had to put off the meeting for nearly 2 weeks, but I did go ahead and schedule the meeting with the lady. I e-mailed her back, gave her my address and suggested a day and time for the meeting. I actually had to re-arrange my schedule a bit in order to accommodate the meeting, but I was OK about that. What this lady had to offer was something that I was very interested in. She agreed to the day and time that I suggested, Friday at 10am.
On Friday morning, when Feyma and I got up from bed, I reminded her that we had a meeting at 10am. She made sure that she was ready for the meeting, as did I. At 9:45, I got an e-mail from the lady. She said:
Sorry, I have to cancel the meeting. Our company is having an emergency meeting. Can we meet next week?
Frankly, I was upset. To wait until 15 minutes before the meeting to cancel it is, frankly, poor business practice. I had re-arranged my schedule for the day in order to meet with the lady, and after all she was trying to sell something to me.
I e-mailed her back and told her that it seemed that she didn’t really value me as customer, and it appeared that she felt that her meeting at work was more important than meeting with me. If she had given me a day or more notice, I would have felt OK about this, but 15 minutes notice? That is very un-professional, in my opinion.
Well, it ended up that she canceled her meeting at work and got to my house about 20 minutes late, but did come that day. I applaud her for that.
The lesson to me here is that here in the Philippines, client meetings are not that important. They can be canceled at the last minute. Frankly, I had experienced this before, but the lesson has not yet sunk in to the point where I expect such things to happen.
Will I purchase anything from this person? Well, I haven’t decided yet. I will say that my confidence in her and her company has been shaken a bit. I mean, if she is like that when she is trying to sell me, what will the company be like after the sale? I have little confidence in their after-sale service.
What do you think?