I’d just like to say I agree with this, we have had to change the
way we the “small” guys (and yes I know some of you are rather big
fish, but I’m not one) have had to work and “behave” in the market
place just to keep pace with the big chains.
I have had to educate my customers (most of whom just keep on
returning to me for the art I create) on the difference between my
pricing and that of the chains, at first when I started charging more
realistically for my work (I found two years ago I was just barely
covering materials as my work load increased), which put me quite a
bit over the prices charged by the chain stores, this came as a bit
of a shock to some of my long standing customers, but after sitting
down with them and explaining (educating them) to them what was what
etc. I now find that my customer base has not stayed the same, it has
grown, all through word of mouth.
To that end I value my reputation, and so I take an hour or two each
day to make sure that my correspondence is all up to date and that
the news letter goes out when it should etc. Yes it takes a chunk out
of the day that I could be making stuff in, but I find that the
"reward" for giving up this bit of time is a lot of jobs that just
wouldn’t have come my way other wise. So in my book there is no
excuse to not reply to email/phone calls etc, just as there is little
room/time for “bad mouthing” those who for what ever reason find it
hard to do this themselves.
OK ramble over.