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Saturday, September 19, 2009

What we deal with

I used to suffer in silence while one deal out of 12 or 15 turned nasty - not really from what we do since we are pretty consistent, but from the myriad personalities we deal with and the fact that in the end, you can't go around throwing money at people who never will appreciate the effort anyways - not if you hope to stay in business for long.

Every year or year and a half we get some customer that we can't win with - no matter what strategies we employ. No one here is saying we are anywheres near perfect, but we do exceed anything else the area offers. I started posting details of such encounters last year, because as I said from the beginning, this blog is about the reality of what we do, not some sugar-coated version how we would like it to be.

The following voicemail message was left this morning after 10 emails from these particular customers yesterday concerning a bill for $90+/- for lawn mowing that occurred after they bought the house, but before I remembered to tell the lawn mowing guy to stop mowing it.

"and believe me Charles if you push me far enough you will severely regret it. I am very very angry. I do not want to hear from you. I just want your muppetts to get the fucking work done that they're meant to be contracted for and seem fucking incapable of doing. Meanwhile you prance around acting like you know what the fuck you're doing and you don't seem to be able to do jackshit - you talk it all but when it comes down to it your guys can't even install a fucking dishwasher.

It's pathetic Charles. I've been more than civil and played ball all the way along and all I do is get pissed around by you and your people. I'm getting very cheesed off - and I'm really pissed and really cheesed off. And don't ever email me or call me on the weekend you piece of shit."

Now, what he is talking about was the fact that the dishwasher he ordered had a handle that stuck out, instead of being tucked under, so it prevented the one cabinet drawer from opening - so the dishwasher was successfully installed, he just couldn't open one of the cabinet drawers. And Frank, the guy we all love from Michael's appliance is a 'little mouse' who 'doesn't know shit'. 185 assorted dishwashers, ranges, fridges, washer and dryers successfully installed, but according this new homeowner (who has never spent a night at the house yet after 7 weeks), we are clueless.

We may be. But -seriously, honestly - I don't think so.

Like the article I read the other day in the NYTimes Small Business blog page - it's not easy to fire a client, but sometimes it's the only option you have - for the sake of the business.

9 comments:

  1. Wow. You shouldn't sell to trash like that.

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  2. If ever got a voice mail like that, my first response would: "Mom?"

    Kidding. :)

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  3. As mother always tells her children, every story has two sides. What on Earth could have been done in the first place to provoke such a response ?

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  4. What's amazing is this phone message exceeds anything I have ever received and I've received some real doozies.

    Actually, what's more amazing is this message is worse than any I have ever left for anyone, which is really saying something considering how often we've been screwed, delayed, or otherwise distracted from our gameplan.

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  5. Per Anonymous - only in NYC would an insult like that be considered anywhere close to an acceptable strategy of communication.

    The bottomline is - how does this motivate anyone, if, in the end, that's what we are talking about?

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  6. My mother said you catch more bees with honey....

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  7. ...or, in this case, cheese. (?)

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  8. It sounds like the guy out of With Nail & I - absolute classic... Glad you weren't blogging when you sold us our place.

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  9. Classic. I just read the post to my wife, in a faux waspy english accent, only to see that someone beat me to the WithNail & I line.
    Charles, there are few enough places where such an insult would be considered part of an ongoing negotiating tactic.
    What in the world cocoons this guy from the outside world on weekends, I would love to know. Some 12 year olds never do grow up, they just get jobs in the financial industry.

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