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Leigh Costello
06-21-2007, 8:11 PM
Hi everyone. I have a quandary. I made over 150 cedar nametags for a customer, which he then further customized. He was ecstatic with the results. I was ecstatic with the payment. Noww.....several weeks later, he wants to know if I can cut more tags at a further reduced rate. It seems he left the box of finished products on top of his car and proceeded to destroy 90% of the tags. Since this is coming out of his own pocket, he wanted a discounted price.

I told him the original price still stands. He is now upset with himself and me and has taken to calling hubby at work. Hubby is a marshmallow. Hubby will be spending some time in the dog house if he caves.

Should I call the customer and tell him my way or the highway and to stop trying to stir the pot? I thought my teenage daughter was good, but man-oh-man!

Jude Kingery
06-21-2007, 8:18 PM
Hey Leigh,

I'm all one for being nice and going extra miles - but - I also think this person is trying to skirt responsiblity for the mistake he made. You shouldn't have to cover for him is my opinion - nor should he ask you to do so. Best wishes! Jude

Nancy Laird
06-21-2007, 8:27 PM
Yeah, Leigh, give him a break - drop the price a nickel or 6 cents a tag--that's $7.50 or so off your original price and he'll think he's getting a bargain.:rolleyes:

Stand your ground, girl!! My son called me today to ask me what part of the word "N O" it is that women don't understand. There are times--and this is one of them--that I think men have the same problem!! And tell LOYL that if he caves, he's sleeping in the bathtub for the next 1--2--3 weeks!!

Nancy

Frank Corker
06-21-2007, 8:36 PM
If the guy was ecstatic, then he'll pay the price, I wouldn't expect anything else. You are not responsible for his stupidity and he is really taking you for an idiot if he gets the stuff at a cheaper rate.

If you had been shopping and bought a carton of milk, dropped it outside, do you really think that the store is going to give you a discount? No way EVER!! This person you are referring to would not expect it either. It is immoral for him to even try to prey on you like this, tell him where to get off.



.

Ben Grunow
06-21-2007, 9:29 PM
What kind of business is that? Call your husband? That is like asking a kids mom if you can ride his bike or something. I would make maybe a slight cost reduction as it is repeat business (although childish and completely lacking in self control) but make it such that it is somewhat insulting (5% comes to mind).

Ben

Mike Null
06-21-2007, 9:49 PM
Leigh

You made your profit and he made a mistake. Give him a break and a decent one at that. You know he'll be back and a dozen of his friends as well.

Today I just made the second version of a plaque for a judge in Jefferson Cty. I charged him $60 instead of the $85 original price and he asked why. I said I didn't have to lay it out again. He had made a spelling mistake on the original and was very appreciative of the reduction.

John Sobeski
06-21-2007, 9:55 PM
Hi everyone. I have a quandary. I made over 150 cedar nametags for a customer, which he then further customized. He was ecstatic with the results. I was ecstatic with the payment. Noww.....several weeks later, he wants to know if I can cut more tags at a further reduced rate. It seems he left the box of finished products on top of his car and proceeded to destroy 90% of the tags. Since this is coming out of his own pocket, he wanted a discounted price.

I told him the original price still stands. He is now upset with himself and me and has taken to calling hubby at work. Hubby is a marshmallow. Hubby will be spending some time in the dog house if he caves.

Should I call the customer and tell him my way or the highway and to stop trying to stir the pot? I thought my teenage daughter was good, but man-oh-man!

anything you do.

Granted, this laser thing is a hobby for me. But, I take my hobbies seriously and don't like poor customer service (which you are implying to provide). For the lousy 20k I have invested in my laser, I am not very happy with the customer service from the factory. That’s OK for me, I can afford it, complain, and give the darn thing to a friend and let him put up with the lack of company support. The company that sold me my Laser has much to learn in the customer service department. To put it gently, it is abysmal. They are off my list as a company I would recommend. As a long time and experienced business/engineering manager, I would begin by firing the last customer representative I spoke with. Then I would start up the chain…….

Customer satisfaction is number one to succeed. I started an electrical automation company on my kitchen table 17 years ago. It succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. Why? My personal philosophy of the customer is always right and to give the customer the best service and provide more then he thought he bought turned out to be true.

Just my 2 cents, but I don’t have to worry where my next dollar is coming from; it is already in the bank.

Thad Nickoley
06-21-2007, 10:49 PM
I agree with Mike, especially if he may be a return customer and/or a referral.

Leigh Costello
06-22-2007, 12:12 AM
Well, I had thought of the 2 penny tip my mom always referred to. I was going to offer a price break of about 2%. After cooling off and talking to my Mr StaPuff I think a small break in price will do. The customer called hubby at home while I was out trying to catch a runaway dog of ours. Hubby handled it by telling the guy to grow a couple - tsk tsk, I know - and to call me on my cell. He did and we agreed on a price. So no pillows in the tub tonight for hubby. By the way, the dog is still running loose in the creek behind the house and loving it.....dang dogs.

Thanks for all of the advice everyone. Nancy - I love your attitude :D

Mike N - I know, repeat business and all but some days.......:D

So, once again cooler heads prevailed and a check was mailed.

Thanks again everyone!

Mike Null
06-22-2007, 12:40 AM
Leigh

Know exactly what you mean but I always try to remember that I never have enough customers. Sometimes it's more difficult than it should be.

Glad you got it handled.

Belinda Williamson
06-22-2007, 8:59 AM
I'm a little late, as you have already made your decision, but I have to go with Frank on this one.

Do you really want this guy as a repeat customer? After he made phone calls to the hubby I wouldn't even have offered him "my way", but told him to hit the highway.

I'm betting that next time he'll want an even deeper discount. I would be interested in having follow up from you regarding his next order, and whether or not he asks you to give him the same price as the remake for the previous order.

In the countertop business I was always asked by builders for the "builder discount". My response was, "Do you want a product that is inferior to the one I sell to my off the street customer?" The answer was invariably "No", and my answer was invariably "Then you pay full price." I'm sure many would argue that this is not the best way to do business, but we never lacked for customers because we produced a quality product. We had no sales staff other than the showroom, and did not advertise. Our customers were our sales staff and 99% of our business was word of mouth referral.

Just my 0.02.:)

Mike Null
06-22-2007, 9:15 AM
About 50 years ago I was working in a store and as part of my early training the owner advised me how he wanted customer issues handled.

The first thing he said was take care of the customer. He said he would not be happy if he had to handle a customer complaint that one of us had a chance to resolve. He further said that we were dealing with his money and if he wanted to refund in full or replace without question that was his prerogative and that is the way we were going to do business.

His whole point was to satisfy the customer at the first opportunity.

Many years ago when he retired he sold the business for $80 million.

Brian Robison
06-22-2007, 9:43 AM
I have to tell you Leigh, you make me laugh out loud!
Marshmellow, Mr. Staypuff!:D

I think Hubby kidnapped your dog and has him stowed away because he doesn't want to share the dog house!

Good to see it resolved but you shouldn't have to pay for others mistakes (although I'd probably have cut him a break too). I think I'll build a new dog house this weekend.:o

Scott Shepherd
06-22-2007, 10:07 AM
I agree with a couple other people. You do what it takes to make him happy within reason. The rule I have always heard was a happy customer will tell 1 person about you, an unhappy customer will tell an average of 8. In my particular business, networking and word of mouth mean everything. I simply can't afford, at this point in our business, to have a bad word spread about us. You never know who he is, who his wife works for, who his brother/sister/best friend work for that could possibly be a monster account. Upsetting him means you never get the chance to find out.

I personally would have given him a discount and left him happy. With 150 specialty name tags like that, you better bet someone's going to see them in use and say "Wow, that's cool, where'd you get them?", to which he'll either reply "This great place down the road, here's their card" or "Down the road, but I wouldn't use them again".

Just my two cents worth.

Jerry O'Brien
06-22-2007, 12:29 PM
Ask yourself this question. What does it cost to get a new customer? After you answer that question, then ask yourself if this fellow has future potential. Do his friends have future potential. Do his business friends have potential. I have never been one to fight imaginary dragons, but I know that once you ring the highway bell he will be gone forever and so are his associates. Keep in mind always that you are in the people business. I was once told by a very very wealthy and very
gentle man that if you could fix it with money it was not a problem. It simply became an expense. I would give him the benefit of the doubt and then see if "TIME" will either expose him or promote him. Ask yourself what it costs. It is very easy to tell someone to take a hike. As you see them go over the horizon you can say you won.
Do you want to win or do you want to do what is right.
I would ask you what you have won. Take a breathe. Sometimes stuff like this is the cost of doing business. You will catch much more with honey than with vinegar.

I have dealt with both types of folks and I refuse to deal with those that have no compromise in the them. Compromise will make you a better person and it may even make you a friend.

If you are still on the fence, then try this: Ask him for some referrals. Ask if you may use his name to his friends . Get him to take some ownership and offer his assistance. See what type of business he is in. Try to barter something. I am in the electrical business and I have offered many times to fix something or supply some light bulbs at a reduced price that I buy very cheaply and he would pay much for, plus he does not know where to even get some of them. Your answer lies in the actions and reactions from him. See if he is willing to help you in some way. His wife or mother may be an accountant or a great cook. Heck! He might be a great cook. He might have coupons for a free meal somewhere.

You can both win unless you look at him and say the following: "THE HIGHWAY." The highway is a lonely place and you will live and die by the way you measure out your justice.

Turn this situation around and if you need some services done , you can offer some engraving. Some wooden business cards for the plumber or the carpenter or even the electrician. What did that cost you. Keep plugging. You are only finished when you finish talking and offer them the door. Have a great day and hug someone you love.

Jerry O'Brien

Leigh Costello
06-23-2007, 1:36 AM
Thanks for all of the advice. I know that customer satisfaction is job #1. I just have no idea why a customer demands rather than asks for a service. Honey and vinegar and all that. I suppose I was brought up to ask and ye shall receive. Whatever happened to being asked nicely? Ah well, enough said.

Leigh Costello
06-29-2007, 6:05 PM
Okay, at last justice is served. My customer got his replacement tags, at a small discount, and he delivered them to whoever. After asking where he had gotten them, he supplied our name. Woohoo, a referral!

Anyway, his client called us and asked us to provide some commemorative placemats for a banquet. We did and everyone is happy.

BTW - Dollar Tree sells bamboo placemats that engrave beautifully.

Steven Smith
06-29-2007, 7:27 PM
BTW - Dollar Tree sells bamboo placemats that engrave beautifully.
Are you referring to the 12x20 mats, with each culm being about 3/8"? I bought a couple, they didn't turn out well at all.