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Hi, this is the first time I have put anything on the grumble. My brother and I read it often. My question is how do you handle a return. We had a customer come back after a year of living with a frame and say she is not happy with it. She wants to reframe it and asked if we could work something out with her on the new frame. I simply said we could work something out, what we would do I didn't say. Last year was the first time she was in and she had about 4 family photos framed. She used the same frame on 2 of them and no longer likes it on one of the photos. What do you do?
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Jon Ostrander

You have already stated you would make some arrangment. My suggestion is you don't make it too good a concideration. Give a break of 10% to 25%. You should still make a little and not set the pressident of having things returned everytime the fancy strikes.

From what I understand she came in only once about a year ago with a small order and now has changed her mind about the asthetics.

IMHO you should do everything you can to correct any mistakes you make, but if what you did is right and the customer just changed their mind, then a token discount for a previous customer is enough.

When you look back it's better to regret what you did, than what you didn't do.


Thanks for the reply. My brother is a CPF and works with me at my shop. We both felt giving her 10% off was fair, but we were wondering what other framers do in this situation.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Hi Miszy B,

If that customer came to my shop I would ignore the request and look her confidently in the eye and say "Shall we look at the cost of reframing this piece?" Fair, you bet even if it was a week, what are you going to do with her used frame? It was either her choice or her approval of your choice by giving the go ahead and paying for the work. You were right about her expecting this discounted service in the future and consider perhaps that she will tell her friends and relatives. How do you respond to "gee you did it for Mrs. Doe, why won't you do it for me." We are professionals. When I get into these situations I ask myself what would the plumber or the kitchen remodeler do. They may not like it but they will respect you and be back. Furthermore, you will respect yourself.


[This message has been edited by ArtLady (edited 12-30-1999).]

John Ranes II CPF GCF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Miszy B,

These type of "returns" are usually generated by indecisive individuals; we all have a handful of these customers. It is unusual that a full year has expired in you case however, as it's usually a few days - month or two at the most.

In those situations, I think it is important to retain the customer, without giving away the farm. We usually review the initial order and design, and find out specifically which portion of the desgin is the element of concern: Moulding, Mat, Mat treatment, etc.

Once this is determined, then we would offer to re-fit at no charge (small labor amount), but the customer will have to pay for the change itself - New mat or moulding. This accomodation of the "problem" might work in your case, but I'd be tempted to ask them why they waited a year, before returning?

You're opening with "I'm sure we can work something out" was an excellent business and professional response, assuring the customer while not totally committing yourself to a specific solution.


The Frame Workshop of Appleton, Inc.
Appleton, Wisconsin

Gary Blitsch

Grumbler in Training
What did she want?
I'd be careful not to blow her off. Glad she came back to me so I have another chance at her work. Up sell, smile. We too miss some opportunities with folks like this due to our irritations.
We joke about our "Hundred Year Guarantee" and try to keep the sane ones happy.

Gary Blitsch
Humble Shopkeeper
Framewoods of Topeka
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