The Bold, the Bad and the Ugly: You've Heard the Horror Stories, Now See How You Can Best Deal with Tough Customers-Without Losing Their Business
Wong, Jennifer, Art Business News
If you've been in retail any length of time, no doubt you've met one or more of these customers in your store--"the bully", "the liar" or "the fickle." If you haven't, they'll probably be marching, storming or simpering your way sometime soon. While you may shudder at the thought of them or welcome their challenges, the way you handle them could have lasting effects on the success of your business.
"The customer who is shopping with you is vitally important to the future of your business" said Murray Raphel, a marketing expert and author of several marketing books. Studies show that an upset customer will share his or her woes with at least 11 other people. And in this case, no press is better than bad press.
In the art-and-framing field, the average retailer spends five times as much money to get a new customer than he does on the customer he already has, said Raphel.
The average business loses 20 percent of its customers every year for various reasons. Sometimes they die, move or switch to a competitor. "If you can keep half the people that leave you in a given year, you can double your volume in business," Raphel said. The point is not to let unhappy people walk out of your store--even the ones you'd be glad to have the door hit on the rear as they leave.
The following is a sampling of some types of customers who have sparked the ire of even the most experienced framers. Step into this little shop of horrors for a look at how framers handle each specific case. It may help you anticipate and prepare for these customers arriving in your own store someday.
The bully. A woman telephoned Row House Gallery in Milford, Ohio, to see if her piece was ready. Nancy Meyer, the gallery's president, had records that showed the piece had been picked up weeks before. The "lady" started to scream into the phone, calling Meyer a liar who had probably ruined her piece. At 2 p.m. …
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Publication information: Article title: The Bold, the Bad and the Ugly: You've Heard the Horror Stories, Now See How You Can Best Deal with Tough Customers-Without Losing Their Business. Contributors: Wong, Jennifer - Author. Magazine title: Art Business News. Volume: 30. Issue: 10 Publication date: October 2003. Page number: S10+. © 2009 Summit Business Media. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
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