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I could ä%tz$^w!!° this customer !


ubure
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I'm so furious I could kill this guy!

In June he wanted to have about 6 different candles for his store (500 pieces for the beginning), with his label on it. I made about 10 samples, had a hard time finding a special blend he liked...at this time he still hadn't payed the bill for the samples (which I would refund in case of an order)...I stopped work and told him that he wouldn't get the rest of the samples before he hadn't payed. I guess he told me about 4 weeks he'd pay for it blabla. Finally he indeed paid. Complained about everything taking that long blabla...

Then, when he had all the sample candles he wanted to decide on four or five scents but told me that the boxes for the candles would be ready only in december (he lets them produce in China). I told him that by this time the main season for candles would be over (he wanted to have fall and xmas scents!) and he decided that he would offer the candles without box but a label with their logo on them until the boxes would be ready.

Tha was about 4 weeks ago. Since then he told me once a week that the final decision on the scents would be "on Monday next week". Last Monday I called him to get to know about this final decision and he told me he'd order by email until Wednesday. No order on Wednesday, no order on Thursday, no order today. I emailed him today asking if he had made a decision yet and two hours ago I received his answer: he couldn't concentrate on the candls because they are opening another big store in his city at the moment and the candles had no priority. He would get back to me later, when everything would have settled down. WTF?:shocked2: :shocked2: :shocked2:

Sorry for my rant but I'm so angry and so disappointed...what crap is this man telling me? I have been sceptical about this whole thing from the time he wouldn't pay the samples bill but obviously not sceptical enough.

I just emailed him expressing my astonishment and making it clear that my offer was valid only until Sept 30.

I hope his box order will be a disaster (I've been talking to a company yesterday about some custom made votive displays and while talking he told me that most of these boxes from China were total crap and then people had to wait another 3 months to get new ones...only to save a few Euros)!

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Oh! I can so totally feel for you! I had a customer like this earlier this year. After cutting them loose after a very nasty ending, my husband sat me down, and we had a very long chat about how I did business. I was so determined to bend over backwards for every single customer, and with every single totally out there request, that I was killing myself. My stress levels were through the roof, I was falling behind because this one overbearing customer was taking up so much of my time. It was just ugly. But offering custom lotion bases, I felt like I had to.

Well, now I offer superior customer service, but I do limit the special requests. I have a list of ingredients that can be chosen from when creating a custom lotion. I now stick to that list. With this previous customer, by the time they were done 'creating' their lotion, I don't think I had a single oil that normally was offered through my site. Yeah, talk about stress.

There are some customers that will just walk all over you if you let them. While my overall experience with my customer was difficult, what I learned from it was priceless, and therefore worth it to me as a business person. I've felt more comfortable telling potential customers 'no, I don't work with those ingredients', and pass them along to someone who does. I may be loosing out on small quantities of business, but my stress levels are so much more manageable. I'm running two businesses by myself, both of them fairly busy, and still running all the normal life stuff (kids, house cleaning, etc) as well. Basically, I learned to fight for my products (which are damn good, if I say so myself! LOL!), to stand up for them when people try to push me and my business around. We may not be the biggest company out there, but that doesn't mean people can take advantage of us. By the way, good for you for giving him a deadline! It's not your fault he can't get his act together.

But most of all, I learned I can say no. Sometimes things/projects simply aren't right for me at a certain time. I don't have to take every little bit of business along the way. Some simply are out of my specialty (like GM lotion. It scares the crap out of me! LOL!), and those projects are better for other people.

Okay, I'm done with my own little rant! LOL! I think you've been incredibly understanding with him. Good for you for putting your foot down with a deadline. If he doesn't make it, it's his own fault, not yours.

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Thank you Lindsay, you seem to know!

I feel the same about the lot of time I had to spend on this guy.

When I was doing only retail I had the same problems as you and got terribly stressed, my business was almost in runs because I coulnd't keep up with the orders, customer service etc. I decided then doing only wholesale which is really better for my health:smiley2: but you see even then there are customers who drive you crazy. I presented him with all the facts right at the beginning, also that he had to pay in advance before I could start working. This was something he treid to ignore for quite a while, telling me he'd pay when he picked up the order. I always had to tell him: "Listen, these are the rules!".

Sick!

Fortunately, another loyal customer has anounced another order for October.

my problem at the moment is, that I'd need a larger order right now, because all my other orders start only in October or even later, but my bank wants to see some money on my account now! So I pass my time with waiting for reactions on samples I've sent out, offers I've made...and I'm getting quite nervous right now. Guess I will have to make the rounds next week..

Thanks again for encourageing me!:)

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Soapers, have you not an ounce of professionalism? Here you are ranting about customers and how they stress you. Assuming you actually have customers, I'm sure some of them are members of this board where you are spewing about customers.

I don't know you from Adam, and I have never considered buying from you, but if I had, I certainly wouldn't now. I'm wondering what kind of business person you really are.

www.StuffSunshineLikes.com

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I was going to say, isn't SoapersWorkshop a SUPPLIER? That means that the customers she's complaining about may very well indeed be someone from this board!

I can see Ubure complaining about a customer of hers, as this is a board for people of the same ilk but for SoapersWorkshop to complain here when any one of us could be a prospective customer is just not very professional IMO.

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Don't worry about the things Sliver says. I'm used to her going off on all kinds of uncalled for rants.

If she had read my post a little more carefully (which I'm used to her not doing), she would have taken it in the vein it was intended. I love my customers and treat them very well, which MANY MANY MANY people on this board can vouch for. But there are always customers which will push as many boundaries as they possibly can, like the customer that this thread was originally started over. As small business owners, we are often taken advantage of by customers like this because we allow it. We often bend over backwards for them, doing things we normally never would do, simply because we didn't want to turn any business at all away. I simply stated, well, maybe not so simply, that if we want to stay sane in our business, and run our businesses well (rather than let our businesses run us), we all need to learn to say no.

Sliver, if you have not ever needed to say 'no' to a customer, then either you don't have a lot of business, or your business is running you. I'm approached constantly with requests that are outside what I normally offer. Organic Bases, Preservative Free Lotions, Goats Milk Lotions. At the beginning, other than the preservative free requests (I never have and never will ever budge on this for lotions), I still took on these requests. And every time I did, the stress was overwhelming. I had to order specialty ingredients in, which made my turn around times sometimes unusually long. I constantly had my customers asking where there orders were. Sometimes I had to wait on other suppliers being late on getting ingredients to me. It was a mess. My stress levels were through the roof.

After the incident with my one especially trying customer, which also unfortunately coordinated with our move, and several other personal issues that were adding to my stress, we debated closing down both our businesses. I was so stressed out that I no longer was enjoying what I was doing. And I LOVE making lotion, soap, and other B&B stuff. But at that moment, I hated it. My business was running me, not me running my business.

So when I sat down with my husband, we completely re-evaluated everything in our businesses, and figured out exactly where we had gone wrong. And very simply, it was taking on requests that were outside of what we normally offered as a company. Like the Organic Bases and Goats Milk Lotion. We grandfather claused in all previous customers. If they had ordered one of these bases from us before, we would keep making it for them. But new requests would be turned down, and they would be referred to other companies that we trusted would be able to take care of them better than I could.

Very simply, I learned the power of saying no. I do not have to accept every possible bit of business that drifted my way. Sometimes, I am not the best company to provide what my 'customers' are looking for.

By doing this, limiting my scope of products to what I'm best at, I know I'm giving my customers the best product possible. And I'm saving my own sanity at the same time. Do customers drive me crazy? Every once in a while, yeah, they do. :D But nowadays it's a very good crazy, because the products that I've decided to limit myself to, and specialize in, well, they're selling so fast that I'm going crazy to keep up. That's a good kind of crazy. And I'll take that kind of crazy any day.

I love my customers, and I go above and beyond to give them the best service possible. WITH THE THINGS THAT I SPECIALIZE IN. If it's outside what I offer, unless it's something we're planning on adding soon (like an order for an emulsified scrub base recently, which we're hoping to add after she does some testing with her own customer base), I thank them for their interest, politely turn them down, and direct them to someone who can hopefully be a better fit for them than I am. I will never be a supplier for everyone, and I don't want to be. I like the niche I'm in.

If you still think I'm being rude to my customers, I'm sorry that you're completely misinterpreting what I've said here today.

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I think it's a difference to complain about customers on the whole (but who would do that) and people difficult to deal with - everyone of us knows them and they're as unnecessary as a struma (as we would say here)...

Of course customers should be kings but they should at least behave fairly.

Unfortunately I've made the experience that more and more customers behave brazenly and bold. At the moment I'm sending out my last bills to my retail customers (it is common use in Germany to give Net 14, at least to regular customers) - in about 4 weeks only 2 of about 15 paid their bill.:angry2: This means I have to pass the issues to my lawyer, she again sends them a reminder, they don't react, then they get a court order, after that the enforcement order, and if I'm lucky I will get any money in 3 months or so.

That's the sad truth that almost ruined me. So maybe it is more understandable if some customers are personae non gratae. I like to offer good customer service but I don't like to be treated like a slave or an idiot.

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Don't assume to know anything about my business. Stick with the topic.

My point is if you need to rant about customers, do so where your customers aren't reading. It's inappropriate. End of point.

www.StuffSunshineLikes.com

I sure hope you don't treat your customers or even speak to your customers the way you speak to people here. Just listening to you, you can rest assured I won't buy from you either.

Angi

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Hope things are better for you now. :) Though I am a very small candlemaker, and I do mean small :), I learned a long time ago to just say no. In the beginning it was hard doing that, I thought if I accomodated every customer to the max, more business would come my way. All I got from that was STRESS!. I bent over backwards to order special oils, special scents, color, etc. and I ended up with things that I wouldn't use again for another order. That being said, if I don't have the scent, color,candle, or lotion in my line, it will have to wait until I do.

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Obviously my first thread wasn't read with anywhere near the intent I intended it, and I apologize. In sharing my experience I was empathizing with Inez. We ALL have run across customers that make us want to pull our hair out. Whether we're selling the final products (like most on here), or selling the ingredients or bases to make those products, we still have customers, and sometimes we get customers that make us want to scream. That will ALWAYS be the case. If I had named names or any kind of identifying details, I would agree that would have been inappropriate, but I didn't.

To answer some of the questions that have come through since that post, yes I am a registered supplier on CT. My ID was listed as a supplier until I added an avatar, and then, for some reason unbeknownst to me, my thingie changed to say "Enigma". I never really worried about it, and I've always done my best to follow all the rules set down for suppliers on this board.

About 99% of my customers are angels. I love them.

And I'm guessing this is how it is for just about everyone here. But if you're in business long enough, you'll have a customer that comes along that asks for everything under the sun and more, and they expect you to provide it, even if you don't. Years ago, before I was a supplier, it usually was a request for a specific scent in a lotion. And I'd often go out, order in a 1 or 2 oz bottle of FO, pay shipping on it, make a bottle of lotion for the customer, and then the FO will sit on the shelf and sometimes never be touched again. In those cases, I actually LOST money. Sometimes the customer came back, and ordered more stuff in the scent, and I was able to recoup the money I'd sunk into the new FO, but not always. And I did things like this for years. I'd spend more money to fill a special request than I made on the actual sale. When I sell a $5.00 bottle of lotion, but spend $3.00 for the FO, and $4-6 on the shipping, well, anyone can see that's not good business practice.

I've grown a lot in my business practices, and in my postings in this thread, I simply wanted to pass on a little of what I've learned, and hope that someone else could learn from some of my mistakes.

As for 'ranting about customers', I didn't honestly intend what I said as a rant. My experience with that customer is long past, but I shared the small details that I did so that I could explain the changes in my business that we decided to implement (ie, limiting the number of special requests that we take on). My empathizing with Inez, and trying to offer some advice, well, it was construed as ranting about this customer (and customers in general). That was never my intent, and I apologize if it came off with that impression. But I will say this.... if you're in business, and you have never felt the desire to rant about a customer, then I envy you, and I hope your good luck holds. I imagine most of us here have had at least one customer that we could complain about.

I do hope the hostility will end. I never intended any hostility to ever come forth from any of this, and I hope I haven't contributed to any of it either. If anyone feels the need to continue any of this, please PM me and take it off list.

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I just have to say it is good to hear other peoples experiences and how they handled certain situations. Then hopefully I will learn from it and I won't make that mistake. We are all human and have to rant because who else would understand. I love this board and ones like it because I can say anything and you can choose to read it or not good or bad. When we deal with customers on a daily basis either by phone, email or in person their are always going to be things that come up. It's all good. Sorry I have been giving lots of advice today....

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We have all had customers we wanted to rant about and we've all had to say, "no, I don't carry that,". My point, which seems to be very difficult to grasp by some, is that it's inappropriate to discuss these issues with or in the presence of other customers.

It is absolutely appropriate for ubure to come here with her post. It's unlikely her customers read here.

ubure, I use a larger font because I don't like squinting. I prefer sitting back away from my screen with my coffee in hand.

www.StuffSunshineLikes.com

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We have all had customers we wanted to rant about and we've all had to say, "no, I don't carry that,". My point, which seems to be very difficult to grasp by some, is that it's inappropriate to discuss these issues with or in the presence of other customers.

It is absolutely appropriate for ubure to come here with her post. It's unlikely her customers read here.

ubure, I use a larger font because I don't like squinting. I prefer sitting back away from my screen with my coffee in hand.

www.StuffSunshineLikes.com

Firstly, I have no idea if you actually are aware of it, but the way you address things is quite hostile and occasionally sarcastic.

Secondly, I'm a customer of Lindsay's, but I am ALSO a business person who has to occasionally deal with the same sort of situation. It's unrealistic of me to expect Lindsay not to.

I agree with the basics of your principle - it's not advisable for a supplier to air dirty laundry in front of customers - but it doesn't consider the full context of the situation, which is that these customers are also fellow business people who can probably empathize with the situation. We're all "suppliers" in a way, even full-time moms (especially?).

Thirdly, Lindsay did not at any point mention names, nor did she drop any specific "hints" - not even gender - or insult anyone, she merely mentioned that this customer stressed her out because he or she wanted everything under the sun, which she could not provide, so she cut them loose and tightened her policies.

Fourthly, if you press Ctrl + +/-, you can adjust the size of the text on the screen in most cases. Just be careful not to adjust too much or you'll break the layout. You won't break the website, but it'll be an eyesore.

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You're really are bunch of great people here - thank you for being there, listening to and supporting people like me!:cheesy2:

I don't care about people who just like to make mischief, just for fun - don't know what happened in her life that makes her such a cynical and aggressive person. Maybe she needs help or maybe she just sneers at people as a profession. At any rate she has got a lot of attention again and IMO that's what she aims at.

Just ignore her nasty kind of posts.

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