No doubt you’ve seen a building with broken windows. This is often due to neglect or vandalism and it is a clear message that “no one cares.”

What signals does a company give off that sends the same message? Frankly, too many to list here, but last week a company reminded me of a few of those indicators of not caring.

EZ Lube is a chain of oil change shops here in LA (and possible elsewhere). Here is how I experienced their “we don’t care” message:

– A dirty outside waiting area (tables/chairs). Other customers commented on it.
– Very slow service. 45 minutes for a ‘quick oil change’ service isn’t meeting expectation.
– There were no communications about the delays in their service. (Neither when I arrived, nor after I inquired about the delay while they were working on my car – in a very slow and unfocused way).
– They didn’t vacuum my car (part of the paid-for service) and when I brought it up they didn’t really care.
– Lastly, an email I sent to the manager (his card was on the desk as I was paying so I figured I’d let him know about the problems I encountered) went completely unanswered. If you don’t plan on responding or talking with customers, there is no point to making business cards available.

Take stock of the signals you send your customers. Reminder: You can google your company name, search twitter for mentions of your company, or just talk to your customers. They are often happy to tell you what you can do better. And that is a gift – it’s better to get constructive feedback than never to hear it (and have it affect your business).