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No longer desire client patronage?


#1

What are some polite, inoffensive ways to tell a customer you no
longer desire their patronage?


#2

Neil,

Don’t do it. Just raise your prices to them to make up for the
aggravation. Eventually, they’ll find someone with “better
prices”…or not.

No joke.

Wayne


#3

First time: “I’m sorry, I’m no longer capable of providing that
service.” Second time: “I won’t do it.” Third time: “I do not want
your business.” Fourth time: “Get out of my store.”

or some other progression, as with the 80/20 discussion, some people
just won’t accept the obvious, and you may just have to lock the door
when you see them approaching. LOL

or you could price yourself out of the market when the ask “how
much?” of course, if they are willing to give me $1,000,000 cash down
payment for a quartz sterling silver ring, I might take it.

john

John Atwell Rasmussen
Rasmussen Gems and Jewelry
www.rasmussengems.com


#4

I have had a few like that. Now they are some of my best customers.
Their referals are $$$$.

Fran


#5
What are some polite, inoffensive ways to tell a customer you no
longer desire their patronage? 

Dear Client,

It has been a privilege to serve and to know you. However, for no
fault of yours and with my deepest regret, I have to inform you that
I can no longer maintain the high standards that you require.
Therefore I have not other choice, with far greater sorrow than I
can express, to terminate our relationship which was my pride and joy
for so many years.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#6

Neil,

What are some polite, inoffensive ways to tell a customer you no
longer desire their patronage? 

Burning bridges is a bad idea, I think. Increasing your prices may
work, or pleading time constraints. “Sorry, I wouldn’t be able to
finish that before [far future date].”

I have suggested other artists, when asked to do something I don’t
want to do, but even then I try to be courteous about it. I say “I’m
not really set up to do that, here is a list of folks who may be able
to satisfy your requirements.”

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com


#7

Triple the price (or more) on them and if they still don’t go away
then at least they are paying for their aggravation to you.

Bill Wismar
www.metalbendersgallery.com


#8

Hi Neil-the-jeweller, et all

The safest way for your situation is to do what I did some time
ago…After a rough time with the client who had no idea of what it
took to find a diamond… He bombarding me with idiotic requests on a
specific “non-existing” diamond…he wanted this and that colour,
size, quality, angle of facets, thickness of the girdle, table
width…not too mention an exact duplicate of a picture he showed
me…all the stones had to be of this same quality and again
colour…nothing less. I called him back and very politely said the
following…and this was after showing him some 5-6+ different
diamonds, too boot!

Mother Nature has not made the right quality of diamond to suite
your needs. When this exact diamond is dug out of the ground and
shaped to your specific recquirements she will let me know. Till
that time I suggest you look elsewhere"..."furthermore, what
ever I will make for you will not meet your very exacting
proportions".

then I politely told him a very courteousl “*good-bye!”

This was a diamond ring “client from hell” in the making…His loss
was my gain…:>)…gerry!


#9

I don’t have any idea. Like Admiral James T. Kirk, I don’t believe
in the no-win scenario. I see such people as an opportunity for me to
learn better people skills and gain a difficult and very credible
referral.

I guess you could just charge enough to make it worth your while,
and if it’s too much they’ll walk. Or you could just turn your back
on them, go back to work and ignore their presence entirely. That’s
how my friends at motorcycle shops handle it.

Kind of hard to tell someone to go play in the traffic politely.

Dave


#10

Talk about undesirable clients, I have a funny story…

I got a call from an old employer of mine asking if I would come in
to his store and help a very picky customer with designing an
engagement ring. Seems both his in-house jewelers crashed and burned
with the first two ring they made for her. He did not want to loose
her because she was well connected and had lots of $. I sat with her
for hours, got a design she liked, and I made the ring. It came out
beautifully.

Two months later I happened to stop by his store and by chance
noticed that same ring in his case. He said her fiance broke up with
her and some how he got the ring back. (that guy woke up and smelled
the coffee)

If she were my customer, I think I would have politely told her I
wasn’t able to meet her needs. Overcharging her wouldn’t have made
her go away.


#11
What are some polite, inoffensive ways to tell a customer you no
longer desire their patronage?

“My schedule is such that I will not be able to make that in the
time required.” Is one I have seen suggested yet.

But to drop an ongoing client forever more… ummm… I’m not sure
if Hallmark writes restraining orders. Maybe they aught to, might go
ever nicely attached to a box of chocolates.

Is there a good story attached to this? I’ll understand if you
don’t want to tell it, but I’ll be more satisfied somehow knowing
this is extraordinary circumstances.

Norah Kerr
www.besmithian.com


#12

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned on this thread is the importance
of word of mouth - which works both ways. If you let the client know
you don’t want them any more, it seems to me they would be highly
likely to be very offended, and to make sure all their friends and
relations know how “terrible” you are! The more difficult they are to
deal with, the more this seems a likely response to me.

Any thoughts on this aspect?

Beth in SC


#13
Is there a good story attached to this? 

Well, not a GOOD story…one in which Joe Jeweler gains vindication
and retires on Barbados.

She’s just one of those time consuming, brings you junk, swears
fealty but buys elsewhere, price complaining, hounds you on the
phone…losers.

I say loser because I see absolutely no way dealing with her is ever
going to be tolerable, let alone profitable. Actually its me who
loses every time.

So I’m thinking I shall finally install that minimum service charge
(which I can waive for my decent customers, as is my prerogative)
I’ve been angsting over for months.

I really don’t need someone who repeatedly has a cow over a ten
dollar repair charge when I have some others who say, “Oooo, thirty
eight thousand? Are you sure that’s enough, Neil”?

Normally I am an egalitarian sort of guy, I put energy and grace
into small jobs as well as big ones. Maybe I’m just finally at the
point where I can be a tad selective. Hope so anyway.

If anyone has tried minimum service charges, I’d be interested in
feedback.


#14

I had to drop a long time client. It was costing me too much time and
labor and the profit just wasn’t there. Plus he felt like he could
show up any time day or night, dump a pile of repairs for me to do
right away, and get finished jewelry on credit. Plus the guy had been
kicked out of every respectable show and was doing low end shows that
I would not want my jewelry in. So I wrote a letter explaining my
reasons and told him not to come by or call. Just short of
threatening a restraining order. It had to be done. Too much stress
on me and my family…

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#15

Neil,

I have many minimum service charges, whether it’s for repairs or
custom orders or appraisals. It’s a quick way of separating the
wheat from the chaff. Minimum repair charge (even if it’s just gluing
a pearl back on) $25. Minimum appraisal charge (half hour) $75 (by
the way my rates are about to go up on this so it’s going to become
$100). Minimum custom work charge $1000 (although this is about to
go up too as with new metal prices it simply isn’t enough). Minimum
charge to solder anything on a repair $45. If someone wants me to go
out and source a foilback and glue it into their piece of s**t it’s
got to be worth $25.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambrige, MA 02140
www.spirerjewelers.com


#16
Seems both his in-house jewelers crashed and burned with the first
two ring they made for her. 

My guarantee, which is absolute: I guarantee that I will make the
piece that you ask me to make. I do not guarantee that what you ask
me to make is what you thought you wanted. You don’t like it, pay
me. If you want me to make another, different piece, you will pay me
for that as well. If there is something objectively wrong with my
work, then that’s different. We don’t chase people’s whims…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#17

Beth,

you don't want them any more, it seems to me they would be highly
likely to be very offended, and to make sure all their friends and
relations know how "terrible" you are! 

This very true.

The caveat is: would you really want the friends or relatives of such
a client? Doesn’t it make sense that the majority of them would be
just as difficult to work with? Birds of a feather do flock
together. Once in a while you’ll get a different species hanging with
a flock…in other words one good client out of the group of
duds…but is it worth that head ache!

Paul in Colorado


#18

Hi all !

I really don’t know how you all do it, with busy schedules, work, and
family, where do you find the time to log on?

Beth Wicker has a good point about bad customer service getting
around by word of mouth.

Market research shows that a bad business experience will be shared
with 15 acquaintances, while a positive business experience will only
be shared with 5. Negativity sucks, big time.

But, I like Daniel’s approach. If a customer complains about a $10
charge, they should willingly walk away when they know charge will be
$25.

P.S. My website is not up yet, but coming soon.

Nanz Aalund
www.nanzaalund.com


#19

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned on this thread is the importance
of word of mouth - which works both ways. If you let the client know
you don’t want them any more, it seems to me they would be highly
likely to be very offended, and to make sure all their friends and
relations know how “terrible” you are! The more difficult they are
to deal with, the more this seems a likely response to me.

I disagree. I believe that if she’s a pain in the patootie, everyone
including her friends and relatives know that she is, and would
probably not be at all surprised that she was given her walking
papers. They would also probably know that this is not the first time
she has been rejected as a customer, and won’t be the last.


#20
So I'm thinking I shall finally install that minimum service
charge (which I can waive for my decent customers, as is my
prerogative) I've been angsting over for months. 

Oh one of THOSE. Yeah I’m familar without having a good solution, a
minimal service charge will help (apply it to only to outside items
maybe? And draw a wandering line as to what counts as outside items
(stuff you’ve fixed before for a good client that you didn’t make
but not for the bad client as it wasn’t enough work to count)?) as
will call display. Sorry I shouldn’t nest parenthases even if that’s
how I think. Also they might be just attention whores so do your best
to keep all comunication with them short… uhh yeah… best of
luck.

Perhaps part of it is just the price you pay for being successful,
maybe they want bragging rights of being a client of yours on a
regular basis. It might help to consider it a complement and an ego
boost if only to fend off the urge to drink in the middle of the
day. :wink:

Cheers,
Norah Kerr
www.besmithian.com