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Amen to all points. We should call it "customer disservice" because that's what it is in so many companies.

@Peter - what you say is quite verifiable. At the same time, many companies totally under serve this critical aspect of their business; the simply do not see it as a strategic component.

@Mariana - valid point. It often depends on how individuals are evaluated and compensated. It happens with sales groups and marketing and abut any other group in th organization. Customer service is much more visible to us.

@Kevin - I've written about car rental companies, too. Your story is interesting. It looks like the company did not want to commit and potentially lose a penny or two - so they lost the whole (potential) account/relationship. Fascinating.

I've just called in on the branch of a very large car hire chain. No other customers - current or potential - in view.

Me: 'Could you please give me a brochure or print-out of your current rates across different models? As a business just a few doors away, we might need to hire cars at short notice'

Salesman: 'No we can't because they change from day to day, hour to hour even. I can give you a quote now but it's better if you go on to our website.'

Me: 'I just want some indicative costs.'

Salesman's manager: 'No we can't do that.'

Me: 'Goodbye' (for ever).

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