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boy am I stupid.

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  • boy am I stupid.

    I've made a mistake with a client's paperwork and am so angry with myself about it.

    I was phoned by customer's daughter last night, asking where her Mum's order was (6 cushions, 2 pairs curtains and 2 massive pelmets). Told her I was working on it and that I was hoping to finish in next few days, depending on when the pelmet canvas arrived from my supplier. I also need to check my fitter's availability and make appointments that suit us all etc. Daughter said her Mum thought it would all be finished by now and that she had 3 weeks timescale in her head. Obviously she's keen to have the room finished and I don't blame her for that at all. Who wouldn't? All that money tied up in fabric, you want to enjoy it don't you?

    I told her that I'd always hope to do it in such a good time but my t & C's allow me 6 -8 weeks, as work has to be scheduled in amongst other projects. I have only had the fabric 3 weeks so am still well within the timescale on my t & c's. All fine and dandy - I'll finish the job asap and organise my fitter and hopefully everyone will be satisfied.

    The problem is that I now believe I sent her my OLD t & C's instead of my new ones (by mistake). The old version has no indication of delivery timescales at all. I added that bit due to another client misunderstanding. I've not spoken to them again since last night so can't be utterly sure, but the copy in my client paperwork is the wrong one - I should have thrown them all away but a couple must have slipped through the net. Now here I am again, thinking I've been clear and am covered and I'm obviously not.

    Now I'm feeling really stupid and upset that I wasn't clear and professional and that I've not met my customer's expectations.

    I'll get the job done as quickly as possibly, but do you think I should give a discount for letting them down? If so, how much?

  • #2
    Re: boy am I stupid.

    I don't think I would offer a discount Bluebell, not under these circumstances anyway. It would appear that you have only your clients daughters word that your client is somewhat concerned by the timescale involved. Why not speak to your client or better still go and see her, if that is convenient, and have a little chat with her. Explain that you are actively working on her job and apologise for any confusion in the three week timescale (was it agreed or imagined?). It will only be a few more days so all is recoverable, especially your dignity, if you speak nicely to her. I think clients tend to get the hump a bit if they are not kept informed of what your progress is, they all like to feel a bit special. I tend to have a lot of contact with my clients and they are always kept informed if I am having a bit of a problem with timescale on a job. I am sure that a few kind words and a bit of humour will do the trick.

    I sometimes feel that quoting terms and conditions at this stage can be a bit of a retrograde step in client relations Bluebell. It can be a bit like drawing swords. Kind words, keeping to timescales and appropriate client contact can tend to achieve much more than words on paper, at this stage anyway. Good luck.


    • #3
      Re: boy am I stupid.

      thank you so much for your advice.

      I was blissfully oblivious until last night that there was even a misunderstanding. I definitely would not have told her 3 weeks, but would have verbally quoted the 6-8 weeks at our initial meeting, but that information is rarely retained. It should have been on paper, so it's my mistake.

      I know some of the "concern" is that she's dead excited to get her room done and is impatient because of that. Believe it or not, the main "panic" is that she wants to invite her sister who lives a couple of hours away to visit, but wants her rooms finished and can't make her plans until she knows when things are to be hung etc. I'm holding up her dinner party plans.

      I've left a message with my fitter to call me back, so will hopefully he can fit me in next week. Once I get the pelmet canvas from M & D (today or tomorrow, depending on any delay caused by bank holiday of course) I can get the job finished. I have pelmet buckram in stock but having seen the gorgeous result Jules achieved with the canvas, I'll be more comfortable with that as it's 12 feet long. Transporting it and hanging it should be easier with the canvas.

      I'll also follow your excellent advice about keeping in contact more regularly. I had customer service skills when I worked for a big organisation but seem to have forgotten all about them over the last year or two.

      Thanks again. Panic slightly abated (for now).


      • #4
        Re: boy am I stupid.

        Good Bluebell - - Your own self confidence and a natural enthusiasm will pull you through this, it's a winning combination. Talk to her and reassure her - - It almost always works....................C