It’s always refreshing to have a nice, considerate customer every now and then. I really enjoy speaking to our customers when they are polite on the phone, even if they are just calling to complain about something. 90% of the time, if they state their case clearly and politely, I’ll try and help them out in some way or form. The tactics that I wrote about here on how to negotiate with vendors applies to small businesses as well and is worth a read if you have the time. In any case, the customer I’m going to talk about today was just too damn considerate…so considerate that she actually got on my nerves at one point.
Customer: Yes sir, I was wondering if I could speak to the person who does the embroidery?
Me: Hi ma’am, unfortunately our embroiderist is not in at the moment. Is there something I can help you with?
Customer: Possibly. I recently ordered a monogrammed handkerchief, but the letters seemed to have been stitched incorrectly.
Me: Oh, we apologize if we made a mistake, what is your order number?
Customer: 5907. I wanted the initials JOB, but instead they were stitched JBO.
Me: Ok, I’m pulling up your order right now. Indeed, you are correct! We’re sorry for your inconvenience. We’ll send you out another one ASAP.
Customer: Actually, I don’t want to be wasteful of your materials. Can I send you this handkerchief back so you can remove the stitching and re-embroider the letters on it?
Me: Don’t worry about it. You can keep that handkerchief and we’ll send you a brand new one. You don’t have to pay anything additional.
Customer: I really hate wasting anything. How about I return this hankie to you, you restitch it to the correct letters and return it to me. This way, you won’t have to waste another handkerchief and it will save your business money.
Me: I apologize, but restitching the hankie probably won’t look very good not to mention the fact that it is labor intensive.
I was kind of taken aback, but in a good way. This lady was really considerate. We were going to send her another hankie for FREE but her primary concern was being too wasteful. This was a rare customer indeed.
Customer: How about I send you this hankie back regardless and I’ll pay for any additional labor required.
Me: Ma’am, I really don’t think it will turn out very well.
Customer: What if I send this hankie back and I’ll purchase another one as well?
Why was this lady being so persistent? While she was being extremely considerate, she was starting to test my patience. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I felt deeply conflicted inside. Her intentions were good but almost annoyingly so.
Me: Ok sure, please send us the hankie back and we’ll restitch it for you. In addition, we’ll send you a new one as well, free of charge.
Customer: You are such a kind young boy. I insist on paying for the additional one and any labor charges as well.
Me: There are no labor charges and no additional charges whatsoever. We sincerely thank you for your consideration.
Customer: So can I just pay you over the phone right now?
Clearly, we had a communication problem here. What didn’t she understand about no charges?
Me: Hi ma’am. I apologize for the misunderstanding. There are no charges so you don’t have to pay for anything.
Customer: Ok, I’ll place the order online then.
Sure enough, she then placed a new order for a handkerchief online. We ended up sending her two handkerchiefs, free of charge, and we also refunded her credit card for her additional online purchase. Perhaps this was her ploy all along… Perhaps, this was a brand new negotiation tactic that I hadn’t thought of yet in my article on how to negotiate with vendors. In any case, if she was trying to get a free handkerchief on purpose, it worked. But honestly, I don’t think that that was her true intention. She was such a nice lady, but too nice.
Strangely enough, I just did a quick search on Google to see if I could find any articles on how to deal with customers that were too nice. The search came up zilch. Perhaps, I’ll write one! In case you missed it, I wrote about how to deal with irate customers already.
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