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The BoardSMITH
11-20-2011, 08:43 PM
In 2008, I sold a maple board to a customer. Some time later, about two months later I believe, I received an email from him saying the board warped and he demanded a replacement. When I refused, given the amount of time, he skewered me on another forum going so far as to post photos and try to make me look like a cheat and a thief. When he leaked the details out, things changed. Seems he left it under hot running water for 5 full minutes and was mad because it warped. (A detail he conveniently left out in the emails he sent me.) In the photos there were dark splotchy areas which I believe was mold. His last post in that thread was that he gave the board to his mother and purchased a teak board.

Fast forward to a few weeks back. He sent another email asking for pricing on a special order. I thought the name was familiar and when I checked my records, I found it was the same person. So I deleted the email. Today he sent another email asking for pricing. I replied this time asking if this was ***** **** who bought a board in 2008. Here is his reply.

"You're a terrible business man. Believe it or not I've referred a lot of business to you since then. Are you going to be petty or do you want more business? For the record, you treated me like sh** before and I got past it, have you?"

Would you send the quote or ignore this customer?

Michael Rader
11-20-2011, 08:47 PM
Move on. You will never make him happy and most people that hear ranting and raving on the forums know something is a little "off."

IMHO, don't sweat it, and don't ever knowingly do business with him again. -M

unkajonet
11-20-2011, 08:49 PM
Neither - I'd reply with something like that you while you appreciate his inquiry into making another purchase, you are respectfully declining to do any further business with him.

You're a class act, Dave. Whatever you do decide to do, it'll be a good choice.

mainaman
11-20-2011, 08:57 PM
I'd never sell anything to a guy like that.

Eamon Burke
11-20-2011, 09:04 PM
Sorry Dave, I wasn't trying to be rude.



Jk.



I think you should sell him whatever he wants to buy. His money spends just fine. You can always tell him where to go if he invents another problem. Positive reviews for you will drown this guy out no problem.

mano
11-20-2011, 09:09 PM
Ignore him. To do otherwise is just feeding the monster.

echerub
11-20-2011, 09:27 PM
Hmmm. It's interesting though that he'd come back for another order, and a special order at that. Someone looking for trouble or genuinely unhappy with a provider wouldn't do that. Dave, if you feel up to it, perhaps it would be useful to write back and politely express that you have some concerns about taking on the order given how things went last time - and then ask why, given the way the customer felt last time, he's now interested in another order from you.

Simply by asking whether this is so-and-so, you have still remained polite and I think you can still keep on that way. If nothing else, and even if you do decline the order, it could be good to find out why the change of heart - if indeed it is a change of heart.

rahimlee54
11-20-2011, 09:30 PM
Advise him on another teak board. After a run in like the first one you are going to have nothing but more trouble, if you don't mind putting up with it and defending yourself money is money as someone above said.

tgraypots
11-20-2011, 09:33 PM
Dave, it's only one customer, disgruntled at that, so my suggestion is to just move on.

mano
11-20-2011, 09:34 PM
I'm surprised by all the conjecture about his intentions and how he might behave in the future.

What we know for a fact is the guy has a pattern of being a manipulative liar who is looking to make trouble.

kalaeb
11-20-2011, 09:39 PM
I would respond back and politely deny his request, then block his email.

99Limited
11-20-2011, 09:45 PM
Supply him the name of some of some other board makers and let him know that they would be better suited for his job.

add
11-20-2011, 09:48 PM
Let me peruse what my old college Business Ethics textbook says.

Yes, aah yes, ...here it is:
"Your sweat and hard work as a small businessman exempts you from giving a rat's ass about retaining a-holes as customers" :D

Think I remember this one from KF... this guy wasn't real forthcoming about the facts if I remember (?).

Still, an interesting business dilemma.
If I were running CS for a large company in the public eye, the answer would be obvious.

But personally, if I was a small business owner I would join most of the chorus here and say he ain't worth the current or any potential future headache.
Then, I would refer him to the closest competitor. :happy1:

Andrew H
11-20-2011, 10:07 PM
I would tell him the pricing, give him a special rate :lol2:

The hekler
11-20-2011, 10:26 PM
His money is the same as anyone else's, don't see why it would be a problem. Yes he was a d*ck in the past but for him to have come back to you means hopefully he has gotten past that and he appriciates the quality of your work. If he's coming back I see it as entirely plausible that he has recomended your work to others and if you do business with him I'm sure that would continue. If not it would cost you at least one customer and possibly several potential customers in the future. Im not saying I'd make him a priority but I don't see any hard in dealing with him again, the downside (none, he can't blast you again without being asked why he bought a second board) is far outweighed by the good side (at least one more paying customer potentially many). I would make sure the payment clears before shipping though incase he really is trying to pull one over on you and add a set of instructions for caring for the board in jumbo size font.

shankster
11-20-2011, 10:56 PM
I agree with heckler.Take his money,don't make him a priority and make sure the cheque clears first..

Pensacola Tiger
11-20-2011, 11:04 PM
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me".

Politely decline his business.

tk59
11-20-2011, 11:23 PM
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me".

Politely decline his business.+1. And this is coming from Mr. Picky.

The BoardSMITH
11-21-2011, 07:26 AM
Thanks to everyone who replied. Your replies are welcomed and honored.

What I want to do and what I will do are two different things. I will keep everyone updated.

mr drinky
11-21-2011, 07:36 AM
Well, it might be too late as it appears you have made up your mind, but I would say sell him the board despite the past and make sure to put explicit care instructions in the package. (You may already do this, I forget.) Anyhow, if he actually does recommend you, he will continue to do it, but he may not be telling the truth about this. Regardless, you kind of get him to shut up if he is ever out of line again. What dissatisfied customer is a repeat customer? If he ever takes your product to a forum discussion again, you will have on record that he has recommended you to others and he bought a second board from you. That's enough ammo to make most forum users not trust what he says.

k.

chazmtb
11-21-2011, 09:29 AM
Dave,

I would recommend him to one of the more "commercial" board makers that is out there if you really don't want to make him another board.

In small business, we face this all the time. There is a theory of rating the customer, ABCD. Even though you treat every one the same initially, you try to nurcher the AB, C is a price shopper, and D, you will spend more time and money to satisfy them, but you will probably lose in the end. Hey, this is a small business. If it is a large business, you can pay someone to deal with a D person. Obviously, this person is a D from all indications. The MO of these customers are they are the "perfect demanding" types, where they can do no wrong and no one can tell them that they are wrong, because the are "perfect". There is a potential this person cannot be satisfied, where he thinks he holds no responsiblity in any of his actions, and it must be the product's fault. If you think this guy is that type of a person, you will probably have to to deal with this sooner or later once you sell him a product.

If you want to make him a board, because money is money, one thing to do, is be up front. Say, hey, what happened in the past was not fair to me as a craftsman and businessman. You blamed poor craftsmanship for things that you did, and spread that all over the interweb. As a craftsman and a businessman, how will I be assured that something like that won't happen again? I am a craftsman, and I stand by my work. If there are any defects, they must be legitimate......

You get the idea. If communications are established initially and the ground rules work out, hey, take his money and make him a board.

stevenStefano
11-21-2011, 11:39 AM
If I were you I'd take his money. Maybe shoot him an email saying you hope it goes better than his last one or something along those lines, sort of to show him you're wary about his past and what he did before can't happen again.. If he says fair enough and he'll look after the new one better, do it. You've got a great product and a good reputation, why not take his money? If he's an arsehole again tell him he said he'd look after it and didn't, and you'll know that it would have been easy to tell him to f-off but you saw the good in him

Rotary
11-21-2011, 01:03 PM
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me".

Politely decline his business.

Precisely. From the tone of his reply he obviously hasn't suddenly gotten religion, changed his stripes and adopted a kinder, gentler attitude. Special orders sometimes require a certain amount of patience and cooperative involvement on the part of the purchaser, and you'll never get that from this guy. I hope you decided to politely but firmly kick him to the curb.

JohnnyChance
11-21-2011, 01:04 PM
Well, it might be too late as it appears you have made up your mind, but I would say sell him the board despite the past and make sure to put explicit care instructions in the package. (You may already do this, I forget.) Anyhow, if he actually does recommend you, he will continue to do it, but he may not be telling the truth about this. Regardless, you kind of get him to shut up if he is ever out of line again. What dissatisfied customer is a repeat customer? If he ever takes your product to a forum discussion again, you will have on record that he has recommended you to others and he bought a second board from you. That's enough ammo to make most forum users not trust what he says.

k.


Dave,

I would recommend him to one of the more "commercial" board makers that is out there if you really don't want to make him another board.

In small business, we face this all the time. There is a theory of rating the customer, ABCD. Even though you treat every one the same initially, you try to nurcher the AB, C is a price shopper, and D, you will spend more time and money to satisfy them, but you will probably lose in the end. Hey, this is a small business. If it is a large business, you can pay someone to deal with a D person. Obviously, this person is a D from all indications. The MO of these customers are they are the "perfect demanding" types, where they can do no wrong and no one can tell them that they are wrong, because the are "perfect". There is a potential this person cannot be satisfied, where he thinks he holds no responsiblity in any of his actions, and it must be the product's fault. If you think this guy is that type of a person, you will probably have to to deal with this sooner or later once you sell him a product.

If you want to make him a board, because money is money, one thing to do, is be up front. Say, hey, what happened in the past was not fair to me as a craftsman and businessman. You blamed poor craftsmanship for things that you did, and spread that all over the interweb. As a craftsman and a businessman, how will I be assured that something like that won't happen again? I am a craftsman, and I stand by my work. If there are any defects, they must be legitimate......

You get the idea. If communications are established initially and the ground rules work out, hey, take his money and make him a board.

+1 to each of these.

And I would make the quote a bit higher than usual. Not to be a jerk, but in response to him being a jerk. A tax for putting up with his nonsense. And if you are on the fence about selling him one, its a win win. Either he buys one at a higher rate, or you have offered to sell him one, it was too rich for him and he declines.

The BoardSMITH
11-22-2011, 03:56 PM
Well, I went ahead and gave the guy a quote and tried to explain my version of the events. Allowing a board to soak under hot rinning water for 5 minutes is not a manufacturers defect.

So, I gave the guy a real quote, not inflated, not low and he takes my head off saying it is 50% to high so he is 100% sure he will never order from me again. SOme people can't be satisfied and I hope I am through with this guy for good.

add
11-22-2011, 04:12 PM
Turns out he was a real D of a customer... :scared4:

stevenStefano
11-22-2011, 05:10 PM
At least you know you tried Dave. You tried to see the good in him but it wasn't there

kalaeb
11-22-2011, 06:05 PM
Well, I went ahead and gave the guy a quote and tried to explain my version of the events. Allowing a board to soak under hot rinning water for 5 minutes is not a manufacturers defect.

So, I gave the guy a real quote, not inflated, not low and he takes my head off saying it is 50% to high so he is 100% sure he will never order from me again. SOme people can't be satisfied and I hope I am through with this guy for good.

At least you can say you gave it an honest effort. You took a higher road than I would have. kudos!

l r harner
11-22-2011, 06:08 PM
i know many makers that have "the list " dont worry about it

Eamon Burke
11-22-2011, 06:51 PM
Eh, if its too expensive, don't buy it. Your board s are reasonable, imo, abd I'm broke.

SpikeC
11-22-2011, 08:22 PM
Well ya, your boards ARE expensive! Quality is rarely cheap, although people often are!

I'm loving my 14X20 maple, by the way!

Steve Stephens
11-22-2011, 08:36 PM
David's board (now my board) is, by far, the most expensive board I have ever bought. And the only board I have bought I should add. Great crafstmanship will cost more than your run of the mill stuff but, in the long run and while you are using it, be well worth the extra cost. I just received my 14 x 18" maple board last week and am enjoying it immensely. Looking back it was actually a very good price for what I received.

unkajonet
11-22-2011, 08:40 PM
It was pretty straightforward to me: cost of the board divided by how many years the board will last. $3-5 per year over the next 40 years seems pretty darn reasonable for a very high quality board...

echerub
11-22-2011, 08:54 PM
Dave, you gave the guy the benefit of the doubt. His problem for still being an a**. You took the classy route - classy action, by a classy guy with the classy boards ;)

Love my Boardsmith boards. I only wish I had the time to use them every day.

Cadillac J
11-23-2011, 10:18 AM
Thankfully you aren't a larger corporation that has to bend over backwards for bad customers...you can choose your business as you please.

My board from you is one of my favorite things I have, even above many knives. Don't worry about one guy, anyone that has used your product will easily recommend to their friends and family.

mr drinky
12-09-2011, 08:45 AM
I know that this was already resolved, but I thought of this thread when I read an issue of Entrepreneur today. The advice they gave was to "Fire your D-Grade Customers." To quote the article they say: "High-maintenance, low margin customers are an impediment to deploying time and resources more profitably....Get rid of the them."

They suggested giving all customers a letter grade and dumping those below C (if you can afford it) and then make a plan to convert Bs and Cs to As instead. They are the ones worth the time and effort.

This advice probably fits better with other industries, but it still makes sense on some level with almost all businesses.

k.

The BoardSMITH
12-09-2011, 02:24 PM
Mr Drinky,

I agree with you almost 100%. Let me explain.

All customers are worth the effort. The vast majority are "A" customers with a few "B" customers thrown in. I rarely if ever see a "C" or a "D" customer, however each year I run into a "F" customer or two. I can afford to loose those. They are more expensive to keep than to loose.

tk59
12-09-2011, 11:52 PM
Makes me wonder what my customer rating is.:sofa:

jmforge
12-11-2011, 02:34 AM
So, an a****** with a short memory and lots of money? Hell, sell him another one. Remember that the customer is always right, but they are occasionally misinformed. :happymug: