PDA

View Full Version : Not sure what I should do.



Burl Source
05-08-2012, 05:26 PM
I dealt with a customer poorly today.
Even though I was right, the way I dealt with it was wrong.
I am not sure if I should just leave it alone,
or If I should call back and apologize.
I am not asking if I was right or wrong, just what you think I should do.

A little background on the situation.
A customer had purchased a piece from my webstore with a non knife project in mind.
Dimensions for the piece were listed as 5" x 2&1/2" to 1&1/2" x 1&1/8 This is just an example, may not be the actual numbers.
The photo showed both sides of the piece with an obvious taper of the width.

The customer called me and said that the piece has a taper and was not going to work for his project.
I told him that I was sorry it would not work for his project, and that I would refund his money if he wanted to send it back.
He said, no that he liked the piece and would use it on other projects.
Next he told me the dimensions he needed and asked if I would let him know if a piece with those dimensions and similar price became available.
I told him I had more koa coming in soon from stabilizing and if I saw a suitable piece I would let him know.
I also asked him to send me an email with a recap so I wouldn't forget as I was cutting wood when he called.

Now a little over a week later he calls again. His tone of voice was pleasant but what he said rubbed me the wrong way.
Started with comments like;
I don't know why it is so hard to do business with some companies.
Why can't people keep their word and do what they say?
Why are some companies so hard headed about fixing their mistakes?
I told him I had some pieces that would work in size but cost was considerably higher than what he wanted to spend. I even offered a discount.
I did not state that the mistake was his, not mine. Or even respond to the other comments.

When it continued that he felt I had wronged him, I told him.
Go ahead and keep the piece you have and I will refund what you paid.
Just do not come back for future purchases.
He said, no, I just won't talk to you anymore and buy from the website.

My ego caused me to react poorly and I am not proud of my behaviour.
But.....I did not raise my voice or use the F word.

Should I call back and apologize for attempting to cut him off?
Or just leave it alone and let things settle down on their own?

Twistington
05-08-2012, 05:42 PM
Just leave this, it's not worth the time or effort... in my eyes you have done everything to please him but when he drops comments like that you could give him your firstborn, 1kg of cocaine and a leg of your dog and he still would not have been pleased. He even failed to read the dimensions of the block and have the stomach to complain about it.

But this is just me.

SpikeC
05-08-2012, 05:43 PM
You have his address. Send Guido over to straighten things out.

El Pescador
05-08-2012, 05:44 PM
go to his house and punch him in the eye.

DeepCSweede
05-08-2012, 05:52 PM
Sounds like the guy probably is a dou***Bag, but at the same time everyone can have a bad day. Working in a service type industry, I run into this type of situation occasionally. My first consideration is whether that individual can ruin your reputation in the industry. As much as it sucks to deal with that thought process, your name is your livelihood.

I would give it a day to cool off both parties and call him up and say you feel bad how the conversation ended and you want to see if you can work through the issue. If he responds negatively, then state that you were hoping that you could work through it professionally and that obviously isn't going to work. Offer him a refund for the block (with a return of the block if he is still being a jerk) and walk away from it with a clean conscience. Life is too short to dwell on difficult people, especially when you have treated many of us very well.

Eric

sachem allison
05-08-2012, 05:53 PM
let it go, you did the honorable thing and he kept pushing. Perhaps he was having a bad week. let it flow over and around you like water, yes you got a little wet, but you will be a little cleaner and you will dry off.


look at me waxing poetic. yeesh!

DeepCSweede
05-08-2012, 05:53 PM
Oh and if that doesn't work - you have a forum full of knutcase gorilla's who could punch him in the eye.

tgraypots
05-08-2012, 05:58 PM
let it go.

DarrenSwerid
05-08-2012, 06:04 PM
There are a lot of Foxtrot Delta Bravo's out there. You can't make everyone happy even if you bend over backwards until your spine breaks in two. You can only be pushed so far and from the sounds of it you did not do anything wrong. Just do what your heart tells you because whatever we tell you, you are the one that has to live with the decision.

And this is from a guy with anxiety issues who can't let anything go. ;) Good luck and don't let this one situation keep you down in the dumps.

WildBoar
05-08-2012, 06:05 PM
It's kind of sad that some people think they are the only ones in the world that a vendor has to deal with. And because they have Internet and email, they assume vendors are poised over their keyboards all day long just waiting to respond to any query within a milisecond. Some customers seem to forget that there is real work with being a vendor, and there are times when you can call and reach the vendor while they are not at their desk with pen and paper in hand.

Heck, my wife falls into this trap a lot. But since I interact a lot with construction companies, I am used to people not remembering to follow-up, not having regular email access, etc. It makes it a little less frustrating as a customer if you do not assume the vendor has nothing else to do but be there to wait on you hand and foot whenever you need something. They are real people at the other end of the email/ phone line, and they have a lot of things they are working on.

Shinob1
05-08-2012, 06:06 PM
One thing to keep in mind is that the customer is king. It takes years to earn a customer and seconds to loose one. Keep in mind as well, he may be posting on a forum or social media about his experience. That could cost you his business and future business of other craftsmen who could buy your goods.

I think letting things settle down for a day or two would be best. Then ring him up or better yet, have an employee do it, (if you have one), and offer him a deal on a piece that will work for his needs or a discount on a future purchase to provide incentive for him to buy again.. Another approach could be E-mail.

I know it can be VERY frustrating when a customer starts laying into you. Although I'm not in the knife world professionally, I have been in customer service my entire career. As a project manager I field calls daily with people telling me how terrible things are or can be. You just can't let yourself get "hooked", it's hard sometimes when things get personnel.

I think if you play it right you could turn this negative into a positive. Just be tactful and if it continues to go south, cut your losses, but be professional when doing so.

kalaeb
05-08-2012, 06:45 PM
Funny, I was just having a converstation about something similar. There was an article by Forbes about 6 months ago that I wish I could find. The gist of the article was that as a business we need to grade our customers, for example ABCDF.

The A customers are the one we want to keep happy, repeat customers that will always be loyal.

The B's are also good, maybe not as frequent, but some one whom it is well worth the effort to take care of because they can be C customers.

The C customers complain a little more and we spend a little more time coitaling for less return, but can be converted to a higher grade with some effort, and then the D and F customers.

The problem is that we spend 80 percent of our time coitaling and babying D and F customers and we loose track of the A, B, and C's. The A's turn to B's and so forth.

The solution, get rid of your D and F customers. They are not worth it and end up taking away time and money that should be spent with A, B and C customers.

This is a very difficult concept to deal with because we have been taught for so long that the customer is always right...., and there is nothing we would not do to keep any guest.

I think many business, especially smaller ones are starting to reverse this trend for the better and they are better for it.

Bottom line, only you can tell what grade your customers are, if it is worth it to keep the guy, then do so, but be wary of spending too much time or money with it, it could very well be a loosing proposition.

El Pescador
05-08-2012, 07:00 PM
One thing to keep in mind is that the customer is king. It takes years to earn a customer and seconds to loose one. Keep in mind as well, he may be posting on a forum or social media about his experience. That could cost you his business and future business of other craftsmen who could buy your goods.

I think letting things settle down for a day or two would be best. Then ring him up or better yet, have an employee do it, (if you have one), and offer him a deal on a piece that will work for his needs or a discount on a future purchase to provide incentive for him to buy again.. Another approach could be E-mail.

I know it can be VERY frustrating when a customer starts laying into you. Although I'm not in the knife world professionally, I have been in customer service my entire career. As a project manager I field calls daily with people telling me how terrible things are or can be. You just can't let yourself get "hooked", it's hard sometimes when things get personnel.

I think if you play it right you could turn this negative into a positive. Just be tactful and if it continues to go south, cut your losses, but be professional when doing so.

If this were true we'd all go broke making people's buying experience perfect. I think this is a respect thing.

Twistington
05-08-2012, 07:01 PM
[...]This is a very difficult concept to deal with because we have been taught for so long that the customer is always right...., and there is nothing we would not do to keep any guest.


Work as a computer technician for one day and you will have enough evidence that speaks against this concept to get an article on the subject published in Nature or similar. :D

stevenStefano
05-08-2012, 07:02 PM
I wouldn't contact him again. He might think you are desperate and therefore make him feel his behaviour was justified, or he might be even nastier to you because he thinks you'll take it again

And perhaps I am a little jaded with the people who are customers where I work, but I have a hard time reminding myself of "the customer is King" sometimes, some people have no shame....

SpikeC
05-08-2012, 07:05 PM
Ask Dave Smith what he thinks.

Eamon Burke
05-08-2012, 07:30 PM
I"m reading The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. He re-states that 80% of outputs come from 20% of inputs, and instead of quietly accepting money from our great customers who come and go without issue or remark and focus on the problem-makers, we should ignore the mediocre, fire the bad ones, and focus on whoever is making you money.

Don't worry about it, Mark. We love(and hate) you, and this guy didn't cost you anything but a block of wood. It's less like a break-up and more like a spilled can of paint.

Burl Source
05-08-2012, 08:06 PM
You all have made good points. Even the comments I disagreed with affected my decision of what to do.
In the end I decided that this was going to bug me until I brought it to closure.
All is good now.
I sent an email stating that I shouldn't have taken things personally.
And apologized for getting angry.
He wrote back and said things are cool.
Might sound dumb, but it really bugs me when things are left hanging.

SpikeC
05-08-2012, 08:12 PM
You're a good man, Charley Brown.
BTW, the maple slabs you sent me to make a saya out of are way better in the flesh than in the pics. The grain patterns are going to be just sick with a maple burl handle.

Burl Source
05-08-2012, 08:14 PM
Is this a nice way of saying I am photographically challenged?

SpikeC
05-08-2012, 08:16 PM
"snork"

Deckhand
05-08-2012, 08:21 PM
Sorry, you bent over backwards and he kept bending you. I had many a high maintenance individual in my line of work. Many thanked me up and down for my excellent work later. Sometimes its better to just let it go. Can't please everyone, but always try to keep my side of the street clean where I live. You get a better nights sleep. Let people that mistreat you without making it right live in their own skin.:biggrin:

DeepCSweede
05-08-2012, 08:36 PM
I still think a junk punch may have been in order:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPJAEbOe5kU

Crothcipt
05-08-2012, 08:48 PM
Sometimes you have to fire some customers.

I had a customer come in and want many pieces of glass cut, many different dimensions. He was working on a glass pain were all of these pieces would fit into. To find out he only needed 1 piece of big glass and the pain was on top. He wanted his money back, which was against our policy, and he was notified before I even started. Long story short my boss pretty much told him to get out of the store and never come back again. Not how I wanted to handle it but the customer wanted to talk to my boss.:beatinghead: He loved telling customers they are stupid.:sh*thitsfans:

SpikeC
05-08-2012, 08:55 PM
I once worked for an old jeweler who came from France. He did really nice work, and if a customer gave him grief he told them to leave and never come back. He still had all the work that he wanted.
He offered me more money when I gave notice, but I went on to more challenging things and he was cool with that.

PierreRodrigue
05-08-2012, 09:12 PM
You had two options my good friend. You chose the gentlemanly way. Well done. Keep a customer who hopefully remembers the good from this and loves your product-repeat business!

Option two... My personal favorite-Small Handheld Thermonuclear Device :D :angryexplode:

brainsausage
05-08-2012, 11:03 PM
go to his house and punch him in the eye.

This!

brainsausage
05-08-2012, 11:04 PM
Oh and if that doesn't work - you have a forum full of knutcase gorilla's who could punch him in the eye.

And this!

brainsausage
05-08-2012, 11:10 PM
I still think a junk punch may have been in order:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPJAEbOe5kU

And also this!

Namaxy
05-08-2012, 11:38 PM
It's easy to feel righteous, but I've found in all my years as a business owner that that path rarely pays. Taking the high road can be a bitter pill to swallow, but ultimately I think you're better off letting it go.

Salty dog
05-08-2012, 11:58 PM
Sometimes you have to fire some customers.

It is so true.

It's about standards, not only in your business but your well being.

I have fired my share of customers over time. But because of our standards and how we conduct ourselves I'm happy to say those customers we've fire have all but come back. We both learn something in the process.

In short: Don't give him the time of day.

RRLOVER
05-09-2012, 12:00 AM
You have his address. Send Guido over to straighten things out.

I know a Guy:whistling:

Deckhand
05-09-2012, 12:08 AM
Sometimes you have to fire some customers.

It is so true.

It's about standards, not only in your business but your well being.

I have fired my share of customers over time. But because of our standards and how we conduct ourselves I'm happy to say those customers we've fire have all but come back. We both learn something in the process.

In short: Don't give him the time of day.

That is a good point. There is a difference between being cordial and business like and allowing yourself to be abused.

Namaxy
05-09-2012, 12:43 PM
I agree. Taking the high road and sticking up for yourself are not mutually exclusive.