Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Customer is Always Right.....

You know the saying. The customer is always right.

Yesterday, I got a call from one of my new accounts. I had just shipped her some cranes last week. They were all of the hanging variety. She was expecting the sitting kind. I looked at the order form from the showed hanging cranes.

My response,...I will get you a dozen new cranes sent out to you in the next few days. No charge. She offered to send back the ones I had shipped to her. Nope. I told her to keep those and see how they did. Perhaps hold them for the holidays when they would surely sell as ornaments.

She was very appreciative. She offered at least twice to send back the hanging cranes. No. I would absorb that.

Why? I had the "proof" that what she wanted was the hanging cranes. But what if what she intended was the sitting ones, and there was a miscommunication at the show? That could have been my fault or her fault. At this point, who knows and who cares. I want her to love my work. I want her to enjoy working with me. I want her to know that if there is any problem, it will be handled quickly and expediently. Anna Farmery of The Engaging Brand has an line she uses on her blog and her podcasts.

"People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did.
But people will never forget how you made them feel."

I wanted her to feel good about working with me. I wanted her to feel like I am a pleasure to work with. Not a pushover. But someone who will solve a problem with no fuss or confrontation. What if I had argued the point with her? Is the potential gain to me worth the cost? Or is the cost of a dozen cranes a better investment in a future relationship with this gallery. I am betting on the later. I will try to remember to let you know in another six months to a year if the decision was the right one. Even if it is not the right one financially, it feels right to me.

The other call I received yesterday afternoon was from a local free publication that covers about eleven towns. A gallery I work with had recommend me to her. They wanted to know if I was interested in being featured in a profile in their July issue. Of course!

Those positive relationships with others can bring back all sorts of things to you. I enjoy working with this gallery that had made the recommendation, and she does a great job selling my work. I would bend over backwards to accomdate her requests. Turns out, I was one of her top selling artists last year. Wow. Who knows when, where, why or how? Or even if, really. And it is not about doing these acts of "good karma" for the payoff. Yet, inevitably it does seem to come around again.

Pause, take a deep breath, and think before the reaction spills out. Sometimes, that is all it takes to figure out what feels like the right thing for you to do, whether it is a business issue, or a disagreement with your kids or spouse.

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