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Tracy

21 Century Customer... Perpetual Replacement Of Pottery

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GEP    863

I wouldn't suggest offering any sort of parenting advice in a customer service encounter. It's like trying to put out a fire with kerosene.

This is a good point. Thanks. I'll leave that part out.

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Benzine    609

While I wouldn't honestly suggest it, you' d have every right to offer the same tone right back. "In the future, I'd suggest putting breakable things, you don't want your child touching, somewhere they can't reach them...."

 

Just like them, you are not implying it is their fault, but are definitely implying it is their fault. The only difference is, you'd be right.

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Chris Campbell    1,086

I have replaced items that were broken by accident ... A couple times before the person even left the show ...

BUT

These people all said it was their fault and offered to pay. Nobody tried to put the blame on me.

That is key here for me.

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Stephen    139

You guys all make good points but I guess I just see it as an opportunity to avoid a lost customer, even an unreasonable lost customer that hit a nerve. Hand made pottery sells at a premium and a customer that buys hand made pottery for other people is golden as they are the ones that would seem to constantly come back for more.

 

Now did the lady really think the pottery should have been in bubble wrap (it really is not an absurd thought) or was she just taking a shot? It seems to be a little beside the point now that she has made it an issue. Now it just goes one way or the other, If she gets a significant discount she likely will remain a future buyer and if not she likely will not be back.

 

I'd want her back, unreasonable attitude and all. You can always survive without a lousy customer or two, or three, but whatever they don't spend is money you don't get for a few bucks of clay, glaze and a LOT of labor (yours) and this is a small enough market as it is. At the end of the year a few hundred bucks more is one hell of a night out, or an electric bill, or... 

 

Unless I thought I was just being scammed I would cave without even thinking too much about it.

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Mmmmmm...... with my production work I do replace either free or 50% or something I organise because I can make enough in volume over time to offset the loss but the gallery works are one-off pieces and they can sell that child to pay me if needs be.....!

 

Irene

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DMCosta    7

This is an interesting thread. I think for me replacing a broken item depends on what type of item it is. For example, a mug I may replace but a large higher priced high end bowl, maybe not; or maybe I'd discount the item. It also varies on the tone of the customer. There was this spoof on tv not long ago where hidden camera had a cashier in a coffee shop "accidentally" give back to much money to the customer. The first cashier was super friendly and just about every customer honestly gave back the extra money "accidentally" give to them. The second cashier was noticable rude and many people did not give back the extra money simply because of the cashiers tone.

 

So I feel with a situation like this, it's kind of similar. I believe as people and potters we are more willing to help customers out if something gets broken if their approach is correct. If people expect a hand-out or acuse us of poor craftmanship that doesn't make us less willing to meet the customer halfway.

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TJR    359

Like I said before.. children are evil. Don't lecture anyone on their child raising ethics. Just replace it with a plastic sippy cup like Chis suggested. Do you call them sippy cups in the states?

Best advice-replace for 50% of the cost. You have then met her half way.

By the way, I do have 3 wonderful children of my very own.

TJR.

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oldlady    1,323

your very OWN???  no wife involved in this acquisition?  they just appeared one day????   do they know you own them???? ;)  

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Mark C.    1,798

John said (decline in society.)

Wow I'm shocked its not me only that sees the downward spiral. 

Customer service is a fine line and you need to analyze the problem 1st before 100% replacement is given. Pottery is not rubber boots and bedding (LL bean)

Its to bad there is not a pill for stupid yet but I hear its being worked on for the public.I think If I  recall they will add  it to water systems for major cities 1st and phase it in to small municipalities later.
Mark

 

PS I'm on a well so it may take awhile for me to smarten up-right now I'm working as an unpaid conslutant

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LorrieMud    19

What do you all think of this email I recently received?

 

"My name is [ ... ] and I bought one of your beautiful pottery pieces (a small vase) at the [ show ] last year for my Godmother, who I knew would love your work as much as I do! Unfortunately, as my six year old was handing her the package just recenty, in his excitement, he dropped the bag and her beautiful vase shattered into many, many pieces. I'm emailing to see 1) if there is anything you offer in these situations 2) if you might consider wrapping your beautiful work in a piece of bubble wrap (vs. just paper) to give it some extra protection until it makes its way to a final destination?"

 

Right now, I have no intention of giving her any credit for the broken pot. I might have, except that she implied that the pot broke because I didn't wrap it well enough, not because her child dropped it. This is not the type of customer that I want to attract. What do you all think? I'm willing to be open-minded if anyone has a different opinion.

 

Ugh. I agree with you that the implication that you are the one at fault here instead of just describing the incident as an accident is a deal breaker of sorts for me too.  As an online seller claims of breakage are a part of my daily life. Because I believe we see that which we look for, I choose to believe that the majority of customers are honest, and not out to "get one over on me".  However, I admit to be irked when I get the email months after an item was received and used and the writer claims that they "did nothing but handwash it and treat it with care, but the handle just broke while I was looking at it" when clearly they had an accident with the item.  If a customer is willing to admit they dropped it, put it in a broiler, knocked it off the counter, or accepts responsibility in any way for a mishap I always meet them half way - in some cases even more if I know that purchasing a replacement would consitutue a financial hardship for them and they are really wrecked about the loss.  It's a great feeling to surprise and delight a customer with generosity.  That said- when they infer that I am in some way to blame for their own clumsiness- or state as one customer recenetly did-  that my mug should not have broken because the ones they have from the dollar store are in perfect condition- it can be irksome.  I would probably reply and ask the writer if 1) offering condolences was enough and 2) if she would consider taking responsibility for the safe delivery of her own items in the future  rather than entrusting it to an excited six year old. Or maybe wrapping the six year old in bubble.

 

Sorry if that sounded unkind. If I'm going to hell I hope I'll get a chance to try raku.

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