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How Would You Handle This Customer

Janis

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Have a customer who's been bringing in about one small item per year since 2004. Never wants to spend much and average ticket is only between $60 and $75. Only problem I've had with her is that she's very slow to pick up and finish paying. I wasn't in the store today but got a call from my employee that the customer said she didn't like the fame color (a blue that she picked out despite my efforts to steer her to a black). Now she wants a black frame but doesn't want to pay any extra for the exchange. If we were to be switching a black for a black, I might not mind too much. But the blue she picked isn't something I'll easily be able to sell off. So why should I have to eat this when SHE made the choice to start with? I know she'll probably bad mouth my business, however, if I don't give in to her demands. What would you do and why? Thanks in advance for your input!
 
888

EllenAtHowards

PFG, Picture Framing God
we'd probably swap it out "just this once". And she would have to sign every order form to confirm her frame choice. Maybe even "against framer's advice"...
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
This is super easy. Tell her you will be happy to switch out the frame for a black frame of comparable price (or cheaper), at no charge. And in the future, your new policy is payment in full in advance of all orders under $300.

Solves two problems -- it makes her happy at minimal expense to you (what is the black frame going to cost you, $little?), and it fixes the issue of her being slow to pick up and pay.
 

David Hewitt

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I agree with Paul & Framar. Lets assume its super easy to apply a black finnish. Slide small pieces of mylar between the rabbet & glass and there should be no need to disassemble. It will look great & so will you. After all she is a long time loyal customer, right?
 

Kyle Henson

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
All custom framing is paid in full in advance. All custom framing is final sale with no refunds or exchanges. On the sign at the counter, on the POS receipt and on the cash register sales receipt. I would not change out the frame at no additional cost and I wouldn't lose any sleep over it either.
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I also wouldn't worry about a customer bad mouthing you unless you are in a town of only a couple hundred residents. A house painter will not repaint your house for free because you chose an ugly color. They will charge you full price for the new paint and full price for the second round of labor. A $75 a year PROBLEM customer is a customer you should allow to find a new framer.
 

Andrew Lenz Jr.

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I would call up the customer. "I'm sorry that you aren't happy with the color of the frame that you selected. You may recall that I did recommend a black frame at the time. While I can't make another custom frame for you for free, I will waive the disassembly and reassembly fees. All you have to pay for is us crafting a second frame."

If the customer doesn't agree to that compromise, I would let her go somewhere else for her framing. I would expect that anyone that she complains to already knows that she is an unreasonable person.

Andrew
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Guys, this customer has been coming in every year since 2004. This is the first time she's ever had a change of heart about frame choice. There is absolutely no reason to be harda$$es about this. You know who is absolutely incapable of making a choice about the proper frame for something of his? Me. I agonize over it for weeks. I frame something for myself, and months later I change the frame. This is the only time this customer has had this issue. She's not changing her mind over a $1200 closed corner, hand-carved, gilded frame, she's changing her mind over a $cheap frame. Change it out at no cost to her, use your cheapest black, make her happy.
 

Joe B

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Guys, this customer has been coming in every year since 2004. This is the first time she's ever had a change of heart about frame choice. There is absolutely no reason to be harda$$es about this. You know who is absolutely incapable of making a choice about the proper frame for something of his? Me. I agonize over it for weeks. I frame something for myself, and months later I change the frame. This is the only time this customer has had this issue. She's not changing her mind over a $1200 closed corner, hand-carved, gilded frame, she's changing her mind over a $10 frame. Change it out at no cost to her, use your cheapest black, make her happy.
Thank you PaulSF - agree with you 100%, why would anybody get their undies in a bunch over a $cheap frame. The good will will pay you dividends...change out the frame! Joe B
 

Gilder

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I don't see any reason why she shouldn't pay for it.
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
The Grumble has seen this situation many times, and Rob Markoff's approach is the one I adopted: if you're not happy with it we'll do it again at no cost to the customer. With a smile.

Happy customers are the end result in these hard economic times.
 

Cliff Wilson

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
My standard policy is "Satisfaction Guaranteed!"

Means I will change anything - mat, frame, glass, ... regardless of who's "fault" it is, to anything else they would like, at no charge for comparable or less cost materials and only the difference for more expensive materials. That means they only have to pay what they would have paid if they picked the new design in the first place.

Customers saying good things about your business is worth a lot more than the few frames or mats it might cost you in a year!
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
If it's a one off, I'd switch it. If she did it on a regular basis, that's a different matter.

She probably has the notion that 'fair exchange is no robbery'. After all, you still have the yucky frame. :p
It's a similar thing to customers who bring in stuff for re-framing and ask if you will allow them anything for the old frames. Most of the time you ought to be charging them for disposal. :p
 

Creepshow

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
The Grumble has seen this situation many times, and Rob Markoff's approach is the one I adopted: if you're not happy with it we'll do it again at no cost to the customer. With a smile.

Happy customers are the end result in these hard economic times.

Bingo!
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Isn't it funny that I can only think of the framing business to handle things like this in this way. Change it out for free just because it is a small amount anyway and you, the business owner can eat the cost.


I am not saying I would not do it, I would review it per customer. Since I don't know this customer, I can't give you an answer to that.

I think Mar's solution might be the perfect one, or I'd see what I have in the back that I could use.

I have only had this happen to me once, with one of my favorite customers ever. He picked it up, went to his car, came back and said "Ylva, I picked the wrong frame, I'd like to pick a different one".

He fully expected to pay full price for the exchange. I took 50% off of the second frame and he was extremely grateful and told me I didn't have to do that.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
... the customer said she didn't like the fame color (a blue that she picked out despite my efforts to steer her to a black). Now she wants a black frame but doesn't want to pay any extra for the exchange.
Does she acknowledge that the blue frame was her choice? Seriously, if she wants you to pay for her change of mind, she is out of line. On the other hand, if she thinks you chose/recommended the blue frame, her demand seems a lot more reasonable.

If she perceives that the error is yours, and if you choose to/have to accept that premise, then you should make it right at your expense, IMO. But if she actually expects you to suffer the cost for what she agrees is her own change of mind, then the answer should be no, IMO.

Perhaps the replacement moulding costs the framer $a few dollars, but we're not talking about a $a few dollar frame. We're talking about material cost plus the labor cost to cut & join two frames. then there is the cost of labor to disassemble & reassemble the package. All of that probably amounts to an hour of time, plus materials, plus profit. So, the retail loss to the framer could be well over $big bucks.

It's not only about the money, it is also about fairness, and it is only fair for the one who made the error to suffer the loss. Your decision will establish the rules by which you will do business with this customer in the future. Or not. Nobody but you can make that choice for your business.
 

Sherry Gray

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I would immediately switch the frame to a black frame, without any added expense to the customer. I would not change my payment policies for her only. BTW, I offer a 100% guarantee on every component of every frame we sell. On average we reframe or remat 4 pieces a year. I count what I pay for a new frame or mat as the cost of goodwill. Two weeks ago a customer picked up two pieces to give as a wedding gift. The newlyweds stacked the frames on top of each other and dented the bottom frame. Customer came in to see if I had any packing materials and I noticed the dented frame. I replaced with a new frame, and my customer is blown away by my customer service.
 

cjmst3k

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
BTW, I offer a 100% guarantee on every component of every frame we sell.
Just to confirm:

"I don't like the frame I chose" = free new frame
"I dented the frame in a move" = free new frame
"Son was playing catch and missed and hit the museum glass" = free new museum glass
"I decided to paint my room pink and I don't like this mat now" = free new mat


Is this correct?
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Just to confirm:

"I don't like the frame I chose" = free new frame
"I dented the frame in a move" = free new frame
"Son was playing catch and missed and hit the museum glass" = free new museum glass
"I decided to paint my room pink and I don't like this mat now" = free new mat


Is this correct?
Yes.


Now, to explain why I'm so fast and loose with the customers: we sell art. If we exchange something, we can sell the one we take in by adding a subject and hanging it. The labour on the frame is not wasted. We also sell stock frames, and non-stock frames.

And there's always our philosophy about the value of customers in hard times. Our art customers are told that if they don't like the art they buy from us, we'll refund their purchase on the spot. No time limit, no questions asked.

And there's always the big, big competitive advantage this approach gives us. Many potential customers have become long-term, repeat customers because of our guarantees.

This approach came from a class Rob Markoff conducted in Montreal back in the 'nineties.
 

Beveled

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Over the years, we have had this happen a few times. We have handled it based on the situation and the customer. We have reframed for free, we have asked the customer to cover only the upcharge of different frame costs, and we have asked the customer to cover the entire new frame cost. We always offer to change mats or frames for material cost, and charge no labor.

The only customers who get a free change out are very good customers.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Interesting varying ways of handling such issues. I would always handle things on a case-by-case basis myself and probably favor replacement whenever possible.

:kaffeetrinker_2:
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Interesting varying ways of handling such issues. I would always handle things on a case-by-case basis myself and probably favor replacement whenever possible.

:kaffeetrinker_2:
Free?

This discussion points out another difference between us and Michaels. We are not as profitable as they are, but our approach to customer service is far superior, and will win out in the long run. When the economy picks up, and this is foreseen after 2013, our reputation for fair dealing and putting the customer first will pay off.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Sometimes free and sometimes not, Ted. It depends on many different factors including, but not limited to, customer attitude.
 

Framing Goddess

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
If the replacement frame is less expensive then the existing one, I would replace for free. If it is more expensive, I would charge only the difference.

Easy.

edie the icallitcheapmarketing goddess
 

David N Waldmann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
We don't deal with retail, but believe it or not some of your compatriots are as fickle as Joe Street. We have quite a few policies regarding the quality of our product and service, but we almost never enforce them. The over riding policy is "you must be satisfied". Of course, we often joke that that means the customer has to take what ever we give them... but in reality (granted, our business is probably even more dependent on repeat business than the typical custom frame shop) a satisfied customer is worth a lot more than one order.
 

Framar

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I heard this woman in an interview on the radio. Here is the description from their newsletter:

During the first hour of Sunday's show, marketing and lifestyle expert, Marie Forleo, talked about business methods which are resonating with consumers during the financial downturn. She observed that the economic meltdown has resulted in people becoming very distrustful of large companies. Therefore, Forleo said, business leaders who exhibit transparency and "reveal a little bit about who you are and what you believe in" will experience greater success. Additionally, she foresees companies and CEOs who "believe in a bigger purpose beyond their own wallets" as more economically sustainable going into the future.

Seems to me if more discerning customers start avoiding the massive retailers with little or no customer service records, then that places those of us who remain in the position to dazzle our own customers and watch their numbers grow.
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
How many free frame jobs per week would it take to make a business highly successful. :nuts:
 

Joe B

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
How many free frame jobs per week would it take to make a business highly successful. :nuts:
Jeff, come over and run my shop with that type of attitude...you sure wouldn't be in business very long. Unlike your semi production shop, my custom shop survives on my good reputation and my customer service. If I don't stand behind my product no matter who is right or wrong, of course WITHIN REASON, I would not be in business today. You have a whole differet style of busines than most of us privately owned frame shops. Your busines plan works for you but would be a disaster for me. Sorry - I don't mean any disrespect, we all have different agendas. I had to share my $0.02 Joe B
 

Sherry Gray

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Just to confirm:

"I don't like the frame I chose" = free new frame
"I dented the frame in a move" = free new frame
"Son was playing catch and missed and hit the museum glass" = free new museum glass
"I decided to paint my room pink and I don't like this mat now" = free new mat


Is this correct?
All correct except repainting the room. I tell my customers that not only do I guarantee the work is framed correctly, but that I guarantee they will like the finished product when they hang it on their wall. My belief is that if a customer is unhappy with their choices they will find another shop the next time they want something framed. I ask a lot of questions during the design process trying to ensure a happy outcome. I sell a lot of museum glass and when a customer first uses it, that makes their other pieces at home look less than desirable. My policy is if they bring in their old pieces to replace the glass that they pay for the glass and I pay for the labor, regardless of who framed it originally. I want repeat business as well as new customers.
 

Gilder

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I care for my customers as much as I can same like the rest of you, but I agree it's about fairness.
If the price was right and the work was done then she has to pay. If she doesn't pay it's not fair to me.
I would definitely compromise on price but still, you have to pay.
 

blackiris

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I've not really ever had anyone bring back the frame later and expect me to change it out.
She's got some nerve expecting you to change it for free... have her pick out the new one.... and pay the difference. Easy Peasy
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Too often when a customer gets a fame job that is in their eyes "done wrong" they don't come back. If they are dissatisfied with your work they just go somewhere else. I see this situation as the customer giving me a second chance to get it right and to keep them as a customer.

I take that option on a case by case basis. If they are worth keeping then yes I will change out the frame free. If they are in my opinion a pita then sure I am willing to change out the frame for a discounted price. A good customer does not want you to go out of business, they won't expect you to give away the shop just because they changed their mind. A typical customer might, but not a "good" customer :)

I can give the discarded frame away, I have many artists that want free frames or cheaper frames. I have children, I can give my daughter a canvas with the opening masked off and let her paint something to fit, or any other option like that. My markup of X times cost does pay for a replacement frame if need be. I've had v-nails blow out the sides necessitating frame replacement this situation can be justified in my mind as the same or similar. if I didn't account for "waste" in my pricing, well, "my bad".
 

Susan May

Gone.
Just a thought...

When you go to a furniture store, and get a custom couch, you pay extra for the designer fabric. If you want to change it after they have ordered the fabric, you have to pay a restock charge. When you buy a car, and want a differnt color interrior, you have to pay for them to change it. If you get your car painted, and add pin stripes, then you change you mind and want them to remove the stripes, you have to pay for the labor and paint. Why is it that we undervalue our own work?

Custom framers learn an artistic trait, and many of you want to give it away? When you show your customers that your business is worthless, they will believe it. But if you show them that you are a "REAL" business, and not just something you do to have fun, you earn their respect.

What is wrong with telling the customer who has changed their mind that you would like to help them out by changing their frame. You pay for the change of frame, and if I can sell the one you don't want, I will refund the price to you. This way the customer sees that you want to help them fix their change of mind, and they also see that you are actually running a business.


See, when we had our frame shop in our craft store, we framed a lot of stitcheries and paintings, but after we closed the crafts store, and just ran the frame shop we started framing more and more fine art, and collectables. We actually had customers who were surprised that we could handle what they termed "Real Art". Once they learned that we were actually running a business, we earned their respect, and got better jobs. Giving away your frames, you are lowering their opinion of your store.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that framers should be all about customer service. But I don't think it should be just given away.
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I disagree, and here's why:

Where did the overwhelming majority of my customers come from?

From other frame shops, because they were not happy with whatever price they were charged, or the quality of the work, or the perceived value.

Why do they keep coming back?

Because they perceive value and/or quality. We get as many hugs and bottles of wine as you do, from really happy clients. We get word-of-mouth referrals.

Why would anyone think we're cheapening ourselves by giving something away?

When you buy a suit and the alterations don't fit, they do it again. You pay nothing.
When you buy a new car and it breaks down under warranty, you pay nothing for the repairs.
When you buy a house, the new home warranty kicks in.
 

Susan May

Gone.
You have to pay for the New Home Warranty, it's not free. Same thing with your home insurance.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Why would anyone think we're cheapening ourselves by giving something away?
Sue has it right. If your actions tell your customers that your products or your labor have no value, they will believe it.

When you buy a suit and the alterations don't fit, they do it again...When you buy a new car and it breaks down under warranty...When you buy a house, the new home warranty kicks in.
These are cases where the product or the supplier has failed to perform as promised. That is not the same as having a customer change her mind after the framer provided what the customer wanted.
 

nikfrz

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I know... now I've got the answer!!!! Just sell a warranty for every frame you sell!! :shrug:

Seriously though, how many times does this occasion come up?? Probably not very often, I would guess. Evaluate the case, make a decision and move on.

My 2 cents
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I know... now I've got the answer!!!! Just sell a warranty for every frame you sell!! :shrug:

Seriously though, how many times does this occasion come up?? Probably not very often, I would guess. Evaluate the case, make a decision and move on.

My 2 cents

I agree.

It rarely happens, but it is a great motivator and sales tool. What isn't rare is the number of customers who are really ticked at how they've been "overcharged" by other framers, either by being upsold, by not seeing value, or by being sold something they did not want. It's extremely common around here.

We offer more value, and have a competitive edge over others who don't. And we're not giving anything away. If you think we are, then why didn't you ask if we've included this feature in our pricing? And if you think we're cheapening ourselves, why does Rob Markoff do it?

"Sue has it right. If your actions tell your customers that your products or your labor have no value, they will believe it."

Our actions tell our customers that we value their business. Try it on your customers - you'll be surprised at their reactions - always positive and encouraging.

Time to move on.
 

Susan May

Gone.
We had one customer who changed her mind so often, we felt like we had whiplash. If I had given her new frames for free, I would have gone into the poor house. (Not kidding.) She was one of our best customers. We did framing for her about two to three times a month, and each time she came in she would bring in anywhere from three to ten things to wither be framed or reframed. But, because we would take apart the frame jobs free, she never complained about paying for new frames. I knew what was in her old frame jobs, because we had done them, so there was no labor charge for taking them apart. And she often used her old frames for new pictures, so we didn't have to worry about her being upset about another new frame being the wrong one. She just paid for any new mats and backings needed, and any new frames she ordered.

Are you really going to tell me that I should have laid out hundreds of dollars each year just to appease a woman who changed her mind faster than the seasons?

She respected our work, and sent me LOTS of customers. She never asked me to do anything for free because she owned her own business, and knew that I needed to pay for the supplies and time to properly run our business.

You should have respect for the job you do. If you don't have self respect, how do you expect your customers to have respect for you? You don't go and get an oil change in you car, then decide to use a different quality oil and expect them to change the oil for free. You chose the cheaper oil, you paid for it, and if you want better oil, you will pay for that change too.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Are you really going to tell me that I should have laid out hundreds of dollars each year just to appease a woman who changed her mind faster than the seasons?
No, you should not. There is no other custom business that lets you just change your mind after custom materials are ordered and fabricated.

Tedh said
When you buy a suit and the alterations don't fit, they do it again. You pay nothing.
When you buy a new car and it breaks down under warranty, you pay nothing for the repairs.
When you buy a house, the new home warranty kicks in.

These examples are completely different. They are about repairs to workmanship or correcting miscalcultions. We all guarantee our workmanship. The customer changing his mind is a compeltely different situation.

We stand by our workmanship and will make instant repairs, but when a customer changes his mind our policy is simple, and generous. The customer pays for new materials, we supply free labor to unfit and fit. Although the situation is rare, when we put it this way, most customers feel that our free labor offer is helpful and they are happy with our meeting them part way. To expect a custom frame shop, custom furniture shop, custom paint mixer, custom jeweler, custom anyone or anything to do a whole job over with new materials because the customer changes his or her mind about the design is ridiculous and does denigrate the value of our work.
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
You should have respect for the job you do. If you don't have self respect, how do you expect your customers to have respect for you? You don't go and get an oil change in you car, then decide to use a different quality oil and expect them to change the oil for free. You chose the cheaper oil, you paid for it, and if you want better oil, you will pay for that change too.

Boy: I'm getting spanked tonight!!

Sue: How do you translate my policy into not having respect for the work I do?

I don't have self- respect?

This is going too far.

If my policy is that bad, then why am I one of two framers still in business here in rural eastern Ontario, where fifteen years ago there were ten of us?

Where my customer files are nothing but repeat business?

Just like you, I'm up against Michael's, the Internet, cheap imports from China, a sour economy, and I'm working in an area where 500 Hershey jobs went to Mexico, where hundreds of government jobs were transferred out, Phillips Cables and the Hathaway Shirt plant were shuttered, and there's been a major decline in American tourism because of the higher Cdn $. This area is anything but a typical thriving community, but my "put the customer first" philosophy has kept us going.

(Violins here).

So when a real, live, customer walks through the door carrying something, we appreciate it. As a matter of fact, two significant jobs will be picked up tomorrow by people from Ottawa. They're driving 80 miles round trip because of word-of-mouth. Earlier this evening I finished an installation at a community centre, of a large framed hooked rug that took three years to complete. Repeat customers.

What I'm doing is exactly what Rob Markoff talked about in 1999 in Montreal: if the customer is not happy, you haven't done your job. I can even remember the gasps that went through the audience when he described this policy.

In closing, folks: I think we're flogging that dead horse again: it happens very rarely. You may disagree with what I'm doing, but, given the conditions, and the results, I'm not about to change.
 

Joe B

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Boy: I'm getting spanked tonight!!

Sue: How do you translate my policy into not having respect for the work I do?

I don't have self- respect?

This is going too far.

If my policy is that bad, then why am I one of two framers still in business here in rural eastern Ontario, where fifteen years ago there were ten of us?

Where my customer files are nothing but repeat business?
Tedh - don't feel to bad, I think you policies are great, mine are just like yours. There are just some people that don't agree with our way of doing buisness - that's ok, I get many new customers because they are not satisfied with the customer service and/or quality form some other shops. I offer 100% customer satisfaction and I don't pick and choose which part of that 100% customer satisfaction I am going to abide by. 100% customer satisfaction is exactly that in my shop, I don't change that policy because I don't agree with what the customer may be dissatisfied with.

My customer repeat & referral business is great so I must be doing something right. I don't have customers abusing my 100% satisfaction policy but they do know that I have it and that I stand totally behind my work. That is what seperated me from the BB and some of the other frame shops. So I would say don't worry about it Tedh, I would be willing to bet that we get a lot more of their customers changing over to us than they get of ours changing over to them.

I don't believe there is a right or wrong policy, just a different policy. I'm sure that my policy won't work for everybody as their policy may not work for me. I will just stick with my policy until it is proven harmful to my business - that hasn't happened yet so I will keep on doing what I'm doing.

just my $0.02 Joe B
 

Susan May

Gone.
When you give away your product, and labor, you are precieved as either not having enough respect for your own work to charge for it, or normally over charging enough to be able to have the money to just give your work away. Most customers are not so dumb as to think that you can afford to just give away your hard work and materials for free.

There is an old saying, why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free? This applies to your business too. Why should I buy a new frame, if you will just give me a new one?

You said that your customer list is full of return business... where are the new customers?

Also, many people are cheap and love going to a business that will give them things.

For example: We used to send out a newsletter every month. In the Newsletter we had a coupon for a free item. Every month, the day after the newsletters came out, we would get the same group of people. They came in the store, used their coupon to get their free item... often not even careing what the item was, they just wanted something free. Then they left... we wouldn't see those people until the next newsleter came out. We changed the coupon to buy one, get one free, and those customers got mad. They wanted their free item without paying anything. Most of them never darkened our door again. Did we lose any customers? Nope. We actually gained customers. Because when we changed the coupon to buy one, get one free, the value of the item went up. Customers saw the rise in value, and told their friends.

Also, I am not just giving you my opinion, I had a talk with both my husband... who is an accountant, and my Uncle, who is a business Lawyer. Both of them agree that a business that gives it's product away is only drawing in the bottom feeders. By giving away free product and labor you are lowering your profit margin, and in some cases giving away all of your profit. You may only be seeing the wholsale price of the new frame, but add in the time to take apart the frame, order a new frame, glue and points or nails to build the new frame, running the joining machine, closing supplies like: points, glasscleaner, dustcover, wire, screweyes, business sticker, and the time to do the work, bag or wrapping to protect the newly framed artwork, and even the time to call the customer to let them know that it is now ready and waiting for them... thats a lot of money lost. Now, take all of that money, and multiply it by every single time to need to fix a customer mistake, and you are no longer profitable.

Customers make mistakes. They should pay for them.
You make the mistake, you pay for it.

Customer service does not mean that you are their servant. You are not a slave to be working for free.

As for your policy not showing respect, how can you have pride in your work, and not charge accordingly? Do you value yourself so low that you can aford to give away your blood, sweat and tears? If you had made the mistake, then by all means, change the frame at your cost. But when the customer insists on one frame, and then changes their mind, it is their mistake. You should not pay for their fickle maner.

I am sorry that you feel I am attacking you personally. I do not feel that way at all. I am simply telling you what a lifetime of business, a lawyer, and an accoutant all agree on. You can take what you want from it, or continue as you have been. It is your business practice, and I wish you a profitable future.
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
When you give away your product, and labor, you are precieved as either not having enough respect for your own work to charge for it, or normally over charging enough to be able to have the money to just give your work away. Most customers are not so dumb as to think that you can afford to just give away your hard work and materials for free.

There is an old saying, why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free? This applies to your business too. Why should I buy a new frame, if you will just give me a new one?

You said that your customer list is full of return business... where are the new customers?

Also, many people are cheap and love going to a business that will give them things.

For example: We used to send out a newsletter every month. In the Newsletter we had a coupon for a free item. Every month, the day after the newsletters came out, we would get the same group of people. They came in the store, used their coupon to get their free item... often not even careing what the item was, they just wanted something free. Then they left... we wouldn't see those people until the next newsleter came out. We changed the coupon to buy one, get one free, and those customers got mad. They wanted their free item without paying anything. Most of them never darkened our door again. Did we lose any customers? Nope. We actually gained customers. Because when we changed the coupon to buy one, get one free, the value of the item went up. Customers saw the rise in value, and told their friends.

Also, I am not just giving you my opinion, I had a talk with both my husband... who is an accountant, and my Uncle, who is a business Lawyer. Both of them agree that a business that gives it's product away is only drawing in the bottom feeders. By giving away free product and labor you are lowering your profit margin, and in some cases giving away all of your profit. You may only be seeing the wholsale price of the new frame, but add in the time to take apart the frame, order a new frame, glue and points or nails to build the new frame, running the joining machine, closing supplies like: points, glasscleaner, dustcover, wire, screweyes, business sticker, and the time to do the work, bag or wrapping to protect the newly framed artwork, and even the time to call the customer to let them know that it is now ready and waiting for them... thats a lot of money lost. Now, take all of that money, and multiply it by every single time to need to fix a customer mistake, and you are no longer profitable.

Customers make mistakes. They should pay for them.
You make the mistake, you pay for it.

Customer service does not mean that you are their servant. You are not a slave to be working for free.

As for your policy not showing respect, how can you have pride in your work, and not charge accordingly? Do you value yourself so low that you can aford to give away your blood, sweat and tears? If you had made the mistake, then by all means, change the frame at your cost. But when the customer insists on one frame, and then changes their mind, it is their mistake. You should not pay for their fickle maner.

I am sorry that you feel I am attacking you personally. I do not feel that way at all. I am simply telling you what a lifetime of business, a lawyer, and an accoutant all agree on. You can take what you want from it, or continue as you have been. It is your business practice, and I wish you a profitable future.


I'm a retired accountant.



I'll repeat a few points again:

We have had a growth business until the economy tanked. Growth means new customers. New customers come from old framers that did not respect their customers. They upsold, overcharged, and sold what the clients did not want. How do I know? Because I get those framing refugees. Boooyaaa!!!


Our guarantee has been claimed very infrequently. We regard this as a valuable selling tool. Customers see this as a valuable buying tool. It gets them off the fence.

And....am I giving away my blood, sweat and tears? I think not. I'm keeping my customers, which is what all the other dead frameshops did not do. Booyaaa again!!


I also have three years of fine art training, and I'm known as a sharp designer. "Let Ted do it" is a common expression of trust.



Here's a note to Joe B:

Joe: don't tell anyone, but we have a second guarantee: if this gets out on the G, then some heads may explode: We also tell all our framing customers that if they ever damage their piece, we'll fix it free. Boy, does that impress potential customers!! In 13 years since implementing this policy, we've had to replace broken glass maybe ten times. Every one of these customers has been back, and they've told their friends. How rad is that??? I must be crazy!!
 

blackiris

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I still love ya Ted...... and naps too.
 
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