In my several years in business, Iíve had to drop 4 customers immediately. I just dropped one the other month. Iíll preface this by saying that this is not meant to be negative. It is truthful and there is a bit of humor in the situation.
A customer who never ordered from me before called and wanted to buy all of the USPS mint sets that I had in my Winter 2011 pricelist. Great! He paid by credit card and I shipped the stuff to him.
A couple days later he called to complain. After giving me a tongue lashing, he had two main complaints. First, several of the stamps that I sent him were cardboard fakes. Second, three of the sets he ordered (1972, 1975, and 1978) were not included.
I didnít know what he was talking about with the cardboard fakes. That baffled me.
With the missing items, I explained that the 1972 and 1975 sets were tucked inside another folder to prevent damage. I noted this on the invoice so that he knew where to find them. Did he look for them? He admitted on the phone that he didnít. At this point, he was too irate with me to go look.
When he mentioned the 1978 set, I asked him to go to my pricelist. He refused to look at it because he was so mad at me. I explained that the 1978 set is not one that I listed. I asked him, ďYou are upset that you didnít receive something that wasnít part of your order because itís an item I donít have?Ē Yep, heís mad as hell by now.
OK. Return the mint sets to me and Iíll issue a refund.
I get the stamps back and there was a sticky note on some of the items with ďcardboard fakeĒ. Guess what the notes were on. It was the postal cards that were part of the Definitive mint sets he ordered. They are actual USPS items. He was too mad to realize that. In his mind, they were fakes. Genuine stamps are not printed on cardboard!
There is an old adage that says, ďThe customer is always right.Ē Until today, I believed that adage. My opinion has changed. How can the customer be right when the complaint is about not receiving something he could not have ordered? How do I correct that situation?
I dropped this customer from my mailing list. Not because Iím mad at him. I know that he will NEVER order anything from me again. Why waste my money sending him more pricelists when they will go straight into the garbage?
A good dealer always tries to work through any problems with an order. In this specific case, by the time he called me, he was already over the edge. Any attempt by me to reason with him was not working. The more I tried to understand his problem (for example, I was asking him what the cardboard fakes looked like), the more I just irritated him. Rather than waste any more of his time and mine, just return the stamps. Iíll send a refund.
I have many great customers whom I treasure immensely. Once in a while, you run into a problem. You just have to cut your losses and move on. There is no resolving the issue. Iím not going to pour good money towards bad. This customer will never deal with me again. Itís disappointing, but it happens.
There is a happy ending. After the customer returned the mint sets to me, someone else ordered many of them. To date, the second customer has not complained about cardboard fakes. I think Iím safe!