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TOPIC: customer loyalty thru winter

customer loyalty thru winter 23 May 2012 23:39 #1

  • Rachael Kane
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We are just coming into winter, and this is my first winter in this area, I've just had my second customer this week cancel and say 'thanks you've done a great job and we'll call when we need shoes again'. They are planning (I think) to use a barefooter for the winter?
This brings up so many issues for me I don't even know where to begin.... so what do you do in this situation?
Rachael :)
CF

'Motivation gets you going, discipline keeps you going.' (Jim Ryan).
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 23 May 2012 23:48 #2

  • tbloomer
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Price yourself out of that market.
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 24 May 2012 00:26 #3

  • MPLdyCop
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I picked up a nine horse barn and when I called back they said they're gonna try trimming themselves but will call when I'm needed again. :S

I wasn't surprised because they had fussed about the price. :mad:

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Kim Turner

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Dr. House "You were right, Counts for nothing if you can't defend it."
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 24 May 2012 00:53 #4

  • Mark_Gough
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Rachael Kane wrote:
We are just coming into winter, and this is my first winter in this area, I've just had my second customer this week cancel and say 'thanks you've done a great job and we'll call when we need shoes again'. They are planning (I think) to use a barefooter for the winter?
This brings up so many issues for me I don't even know where to begin.... so what do you do in this situation?

Rachael, I agree with Tom. There's nothing you can do about such situations except put such "customers" behind you and move forward.

I had a similar call last week. Lady called to cancel her appointment. I asked if there were any problems with the horses or the work I did? "Nope, they're doing fine. I'll call you when I think they're ready".

Yeah, right. She's going to leave a horse with quarter clipped shoes on until... what?... whenever? Until the horse pulls a shoe and drives a clip through it's sole?

Why she canceled likely has nothing to do with anything she told me. Owners don't want to say what, if anything, is wrong. They just want to drop you as expediently and with as little controversy as possible. It could be price, what their stable buddy told them, something they read on the internet, a pulled shoe or the phase of the moon. Either way, it's best to let it go and move on. You can't change owners like that and you can't build a long term business around them.

It's frustrating but is an unfortunate part of any repeat service business. I've finally learned to accept that without taking it personally. I will say that with few exceptions, I won't take such customers back. Have made that mistake before and it never worked out. They'll just do it again.

Setting your prices higher than average does help to weed out the "Welp... been six months. Guess it's time to get old Thunder shod again Maw. See how much is in the change jar and get that horseshoer feller on the teleyphone machine".

I will say that I've seen a dramatic reduction in this type of customer by a single change to my business policy.

It works like this....

Would you like me to put your horse(s) on my service schedule?

If they answer yes, then this is my $price.
If they answer no. then this is my $$$PRICE$$$.

Scrape 'em off and move it on down the road.

Cheers,
Mark
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Anthony_Lawrence, dana fenn, MPLdyCop

Re: customer loyalty thru winter 24 May 2012 02:43 #5

  • Anthony_Lawrence
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Mark_Gough wrote:
I will say that I've seen a dramatic reduction in this type of customer by a single change to my business policy.

It works like this....

Would you like me to put your horse(s) on my service schedule?

If they answer yes, then this is my $price.
If they answer no. then this is my $$$PRICE$$$.

Scrape 'em off and move it on down the road.

Cheers,
Mark

What a great idea Mark. I'm shifting to a new area soon so can implement this with all new customers.

Thanks
Ant.
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 24 May 2012 11:40 #6

  • AussieMal
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Winter is always no the quite down this way and you were in the us last winter lol
Mal Nicholson MF.
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 24 May 2012 12:56 #7

  • tbloomer
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Way too many farriers subsidize the luxury of people who are living beyond their means.

Whenever I hear a farrier brag about how many horses they shoe in a day I think about how happy their customers must be to have somebody willing to work so hard to make their luxury affordable.

And, Mark, your theory about charging more for trims won't work for me because there are some old timers around my area that will shoe a horse all around for what I charge for a trim. :sick:
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 25 May 2012 08:19 #8

  • Rachael Kane
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Setting your prices higher than average does help to weed out the "Welp... been six months. Guess it's time to get old Thunder shod again Maw. See how much is in the change jar and get that horseshoer feller on the teleyphone machine".

Thanks for making me laugh, Mark, just what I needed. I know there is nothing I can do, and I did just let them go, but my hurt pride wants to argue the point still. I didn't base my business plan on supporting anyones hobby! I think I charge pretty highly and I won't accept them back, but it is just disappointing when you put time and effort in and people don't appreiate it. I guess I'm getting soft despite my original intensions to work from the 'charge 'em til you like 'em' viewpoint.

I like your policy of different prices for being on a schedule or a blow-in, but these people have been on a schedule for 9 or more months. Still, I will formally introduce this now as my policy and see if it helps.

Mal, I count this as my first winter because last year I was only just back from USA and didn't have much of a customer base to service. Right now I'm about 70% where I want to be - which is great really, but the customer base is not solid (obviously! lol). I know it takes a few years to get established in any business, but a run of flippant cancelations bothers me because maybe I cared too much and put up with more tripe than I should have.

It feels like I'm at a juction where theory meets reality and the tough-@ss business gal I thought I'd be has been used as a door mat, so to speak.

Scrape 'em off and move it on down the road. - can I quote you on that? It's a gem!

Where are you off to Anthony?
Rachael :)
CF

'Motivation gets you going, discipline keeps you going.' (Jim Ryan).
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 25 May 2012 09:59 #9

  • Anthony_Lawrence
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Rachael I'm moving to Cambridge, horse capital of NZ, "The Town of Trees & Champions". B)
Ant.
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 25 May 2012 18:57 #10

  • vthorseshoe
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Every farrier goes through this or they just quit.
I remember not that long ago Mark, himself, he said Why, What did i do wrong and was eating himself up over loosing a customer.
Mark chose to toughen up and realize that many horse owners haven't a clue, or the price makes their decision, or they have more horses than their budget can afford so they let the horse move to the back seat during the winter and the list goes on.

IT ISN'T PERSONAL... It business.

Take this situation and prepare for next winter. Use that slow time to take a vacation or do something you want to do but couldn't during the summer and busy season.
Work hard during the summer so you are financially able to ride the winter out.
Even after you are well estab lished there is usually a month when business slows down. You will be able to plan on it and use that time to relax and do something you want to do.

IT WILL NEVER CHANGE for new farriers and when you are in the business many years you will set here and read many new farriers saying just what your saying now. and you will be giving them the same advice we are giving right now.

In 3 years you will have filtereds out the customers you don't want and the unreliable ones and you will be busy year round because of this elimination.
IT TAKES 3 or more years to build a steady year round business.

It also takes that long to loose the panic feeling in your gut that comes when a client calls and cancels.

Like Mark, when a client cancels for a lax reason if and when they call back JACK UP YOU PRICE.

Another option is to tell them that when a space opens up due to cancelation it is usually filled pretty quickly with a new customer and this will be my price if and when you call back.

GET an ATTITUDE You spent money to go to school at Heartland. You learned from one of the leading farrier Families in the world today.
YOU GRADUATED.. Are you as good as you think you are or are you only as good as YOUR CUSTOMER THINKS YOU ARE ???

One last point... Chris and Kelly and Cody taught you other things like being a business person. This is when this comes into effect.
Plan a sensible budget and pay your bills and other expences.
If you think your going to average $1,500. a week then budget for $800.00 and allow yourself this cusion incase you have a slow week or something happens.
Plan ahead and manage your money so you have an established cusion for unforseen emergencies. And clients canceling is an unforseen emergencie.

Patience, all comes to those who wait.
Believe in yourself, cause if you don't why should anyone else.
Always give your best and have the knowledge to know why your doing what your doing.

Painters suffer, and singers wait tables, and horse shoers are no different..... You have to work and pay your dues and be patient for the reward....

My 2 cents worth ;)
"you may not like what I say" !
-but-
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006


I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
Southeast...
Last Edit: 25 May 2012 19:07 by vthorseshoe.
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 25 May 2012 22:00 #11

  • Rachael Kane
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I hear ya, Bruce, thanks for the pep talk - it really does help to hear it from other people who have been there. Nothing to do to 'fix' it, just hang in there. Scrape 'em off and head out to the forge. My downtime should be all about shoemaking right now anyways and there's no beter place to be in the winter - except maybe the bahamas :P .
Rachael :)
CF

'Motivation gets you going, discipline keeps you going.' (Jim Ryan).
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 26 May 2012 03:56 #12

  • Horshure
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As the years go by I like winter best of all seasons....working for a living is overrated anyway!

My advice is to make sure the loyal customers get the best service and while it is possible to make money off the less then loyal make sure it is not at the expense of the loyal....

where I work there are many folks that don't really maintain horses like they ought and these people who are good folk and alot like me really are not great clients but maybe good friends. however they don't pay my bills and so working for them has to be at my convienence and not at the good payers that keep the wolf from the door.
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 27 May 2012 05:22 #13

  • jerram
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Anthony_Lawrence wrote:
Rachael I'm moving to Cambridge, horse capital of NZ, "The Town of Trees & Champions". B)

I worked there for a week when i was in NZ, 99% racehorses. Still plenty of work there?
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 28 May 2012 13:09 #14

  • beslagsmed
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For me winter is slower. I got many customers who pull shoes and many horses who can go longer between trims. When my customers start talking that way, I state that we can go a little longer between appointments in the winter. This way things get taken care of and every one is happy. Might try suggesting this road.
Mikel Dawson, RJF

(Denmark)
What part of "NO" don't you understand!!

Caution: Watch for hoof in mouth disease!!!
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Re: customer loyalty thru winter 06 Jun 2012 16:43 #15

  • dgrimwoo
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Rachel,

Don't let it get to you. Business is business. Keep doing the right things everytime and that is all you can do. Give everyone on your books equally the best service that you can. If you feel you need to charge til it hurts on somebody then you don't need them on your books. Take this winter as time to work on your Journeyman. Utilize this time. Pretty soon you will be so busy you won't know what to do with yourself.
Derek Grimwood, CF
Grimwood's Farrier Service
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