A few days ago, we had a vendor (Mr. A) visit us for a networking job to be done around the office. I explained to him that we were already considering another vendor, so we’d need the quote real soon. He promised to send it over the following evening.
Well, the following evening came and went, and so did many more following evenings. I even forgot about the existence of this firm.
Then, exactly 14 days after the promised date, I received the quotation from Mr. A’s colleague, Mr. B. I could also see the e-mail trail where Mr. A had said 15 days earlier, “This must reach the customer by tomorrow evening”. In his message to me, Mr. B made no reference to the delay.
A few minutes later, Mr. B called me to ask if I had received the quotation. I told him, “I expected to receive this two weeks ago.”
“Oh I see. But now you have got it, no? So what do you think of our quote? When can we start the work?”
I replied, “If you delay a quote by two weeks, I am concerned that there will be similar delays in the execution, if we award the contract to you.”
He nonchalantly said, “Regret the delay, Madam. You see, I had some urgent personal work and went away to my native [hometown].”
Hmm, did I care whether he went to his hometown or to Mars? And was he really gone all of two weeks? Anyway, I replied, “Well, the least I expected was that your colleague Mr. A would inform me that there would be a delay.”
“Oh, Madam, I am sure he also had his own reasons for not keeping you informed.”
What? And this guy really expects our business?
What a bunch of mistakes:
1. Mr. A could have given me a more realistic timeline; I would have accepted his saying that it would take him three days (instead of the Superman-esque one day).
2. Mr. A should have set a reminder and followed up with Mr. B to check if this quotation was indeed being sent on the appointed day.
3. When Mr. A realised they would not meet the deadline, he should have informed me that day itself.
4. Mr. B should have started his note and his call with an apology, instead of sounding like everything was on track.
5. Mr. B had no business to say that Mr. A must have had his reasons. Of course I know Mr. A had one good reason — he’s plain unprofessional!