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Why Do Customers Do This?
#1375388 02/16/10 10:42 AM
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When a customer is shopping around, they are seeking information. They'll call and request pricing, etc which I am happy to provide them.

But when I ask the customer questions, such as 'how much does the other tuner charge for the job?' , or 'who did the work?', etc, the customer becomes silent.

Sometimes the response is 'Oh, it wouldn't be professional of me to tell you that.'

Well excuse the heck out of me. You've just taken up my time to gather as much information from me as possible, but you won't share any information with me?

What gives? I don't pull this same stunt with other contractors whom I'm taking time from. If a plumber, electrician, etc wants to know 'how much' or 'who did it', I tell them. Why not?

So why are some piano tuning customers so unwilling to share information?

Comments?



Last edited by Randy Karasik; 02/16/10 11:03 AM.

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Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Randy Karasik #1375444 02/16/10 12:00 PM
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Randy....It used to frustrate the heck out of me as well.....
Happily, my work is based on referrals these days and when someone asks 'how much do you charge?' I give them the numbers of other techs....
You have to make economic decisions based on local circumstances, but the reticence of clients to share, even when they've been screwed in the past, finally persuaded me to take the course I did.


Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician


Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Randy Karasik #1375460 02/16/10 12:16 PM
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Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams of being your master……or something, like that….

Price shoppers are a particular brand of consumer. I have found the best way to counter this is the use the reply…..

“Well the price for tuning your instrument would depend upon a certain number of factors.”

Then instantly you have their curiosity. You can then ask them the questions:

When was your instrument last tuned? Are you in my local area or are you an hour or more away? Do you have any mechanical problems like sticking keys or keys that do not function correctly?

I can’t count the number of times I have been told that “oh yes my instrument was tuned a year ago” only to attend the residence and find the instrument a half tone low.

Another way I deal with price shoppers is to leave the fee open….something like…..

“well this is the fee for one tuning. However when I get there if the instrument is out of pitch or there are mechanical problems this will increase the fee.”

Or, “ the fee for one tuning is X. Any additional work required is extra.”

Or, if you want to get rid of them totally you can use the old favorite…

“If price is your only concern maybe you should not be calling me. There are plenty of cheap tuners out there, you might get lucky and find a good one out of that bunch, but I am not one of them.”

This last one I use for the excessively unpleasant ones.

Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Silverwood Pianos #1375739 02/16/10 05:38 PM
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To clarify, I'm not trying to get rid of callers, or beat other prices, or beg for work. I'm simply wondering why some customers are reluctant to share information.

What are they trying to hide and why?



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Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Silverwood Pianos #1375764 02/16/10 06:00 PM
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..."When a customer is shopping around, they are seeking information. They'll call and request pricing, etc which I am happy to provide them."...

To me, That sounds more like a potential customer.

..."But when I ask the customer questions, such as 'how much does the other tuner charge for the job?' , or 'who did the work?', etc, the customer becomes silent."...

In my feeling, those questions of yours are more adeguate for a second-level of relationship. And more, when you ask 'how much does the other tuner charge for the job?', you would not know what quality of job for, so it is a wrong question (O), and asking 'who did the work?' sounds inquisitive (especially on the phone), unless you had already appreciated the other tech's job.

..."Sometimes the response is 'Oh, it wouldn't be professional of me to tell you that.'"...

That response sounds false indeed, but it is also an indication, your (re)-acting is not adeguate for that potential customer, in that circumstances.

..."Well excuse the heck out of me. You've just taken up my time to gather as much information from me as possible, but you won't share any information with me?"...

That time of yours has to go with your availability, it is part of your pro-figure, complaining is useless. This person, asking you about the current divinity, is not necessarly in the mood of sharing, he/she may need to know you a little bit more.

..."What gives? I don't pull this same stunt with other contractors whom I'm taking time from. If a plumber, electrician, etc wants to know 'how much' or 'who did it', I tell them. Why not?"...

You is you, I'd avoid measuring people with my own one-meter.

..."So why are some piano tuning customers so unwilling to share information?"...

(O), because each of us has its own mode and singular timing.

My way? I talk about cost-per-hour and a fixed 3.5/4 hours minimum job, for what I usually do: accurate tuning and regulation and the now usual last-minute apparent issues, dirt, noises, zeengs, disfunctions, and chats too.

Regards, a.c.

.


Last edited by alfredo capurso; 02/16/10 06:14 PM.

alfredo
Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Randy Karasik #1375774 02/16/10 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Randy Karasik


Well excuse the heck out of me. You've just taken up my time to gather as much information from me as possible, but you won't share any information with me?


Sorry, I think you're on the wrong track here.

First, you already know what your competition charges - that's pretty standard professional business practice. And you know if you're losing business on price point or not, and if you care.

Second, you can't trust what they tell you anyway. They hear wrong, they remember wrong, sometimes they even mislead.


gotta go practice
Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
TimR #1375836 02/16/10 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR


Sorry, I think you're on the wrong track here.


How so?

Quote
First, you already know what your competition charges
I do?

Quote
that's pretty standard professional business practice.


Can you explain what you mean by that?

Quote
And you know if you're losing business on price point or not, and if you care.


Yes, but that's not my point.

Quote
Second, you can't trust what they tell you anyway. They hear wrong, they remember wrong, sometimes they even mislead.


Good point, but doesn't answer my question.

Why the secrecy on the part of the customer? That's my point. Do you have an answer for that?



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Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Randy Karasik #1375841 02/16/10 07:08 PM
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I cannot do anything about what other people charge, nor who worked on the piano in the past (except groan in some cases), so that information is of no interest to me.


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Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
BDB #1375860 02/16/10 07:20 PM
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From a customers perspective, some things to consider:

- a customer might not be satisfied with another tech, and not knowing the relationship between yourself and the other tech is therefore uncomfortable divulging their identify.

- having a professional ask you how much another professional in the same industry is charging (unless there is some type of price matching/low price guaranteeing/bidding going on) does seem a bit unusual (to me anyway). A work quote an be viewed as being confidential between two parties. I can imagine that there may be some techs who might be upset if a customer did divulge that information (there was a thread previously about someone who got a quote for a rebuild and they actually posted a scan of the estimate, this caused quite the stir and many felt it was uncouth for this person to post such details).

- you are a business, a customer needs to know you and your prices in order to complete a transaction. OTOH, there is very little practical argument for you needing to know who worked/bidded and the amounts in order to provide your service (yes there are exceptions, but as a general rule, esp concerning "simple" tunings)

Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
bitWrangler #1375938 02/16/10 09:04 PM
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You are better off competing on service, not price. It's a lot more satisfying.




Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Bob #1375997 02/16/10 10:38 PM
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I know what my competition charges so, I need not ask. I don't care anyway. I charge what I charge because I am honest, highly dependable and do as good of work as possible. While some technicians may make claim to such things, most do not attain these goals nor do they retain them. Pricing should reflect it IMO.

I don't think it's matter of whether we should know why they don't want to tell us, I think it is more a matter that I'm not sure it is appropriate to ask them what I think, we should know ourselves, being in this field.

Be honest, stay one step ahead of your competition in what you know and complete in your services and you will remain one step ahead.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Bob #1376006 02/16/10 10:53 PM
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"I'm simply wondering why some customers are reluctant to share information. What are they trying to hide and why?"

A shopper wants to know your charges so he can meet his responsibility to pay the bill. Informing you of your competition's quoted rates is not the customer's job.

A vendor can save wear and tear by simply giving a quick 'typical' quote (or a capsule explanation of a range, based on what an inspection reveals). That is my idea of a standard business practice. If you can manage to thank your callers for considering you, it makes an impression. BTW, they're not your customers unless they hire you.

One reason I like my tech is that he's not too scary to let in the house. Also, that he lets me know that he's thinking of my best interest in his professional work.

We had mice in the house recently, and I had to do some shopping for a company to get them out and keep them out. Anyone with a piano will want this seen to promptly! I had some surprising results when calling vendors, from a list recommended by my realtor--- some clearly did not want to be bothered by booking an appointment or showing up to do the job. What a surprise, the outfit that was pleasant on the phone, clearly quoted their charges, and showed up to do the job, got the money (more than you might think, too).


Clef

Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Randy Karasik #1376032 02/16/10 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Randy Karasik
[quote=TimR]

Why the secrecy on the part of the customer? That's my point. Do you have an answer for that?


It could possibly simply be that they just want to know what you are going to charge them. They may be concerned that you will somehow alter your rates if you know what the last guy charged. That's my best guess.

Human psychology can be very complex....so one never knows.

Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
JBE #1378320 02/19/10 05:57 PM
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In some cases, if it seems appropriate, I might ask, "And have you had a regular tuner?" This gives the customer a chance to say, "No, I haven't found one," or, "Yes, but he retired and we just let it go for a while" -- answers which help me understand the customer's approach and, with luck, a little more about the history of the piano. It might be my business to be aware that, say, "The last tuner said the piano was a piece of junk and he didn't want to come any more" (true story), but it's not my business how much the customer paid for that information. That's the way I do it, anyhow.


Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA
Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
bellspiano #1378496 02/19/10 10:53 PM
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IMO the price shopper is usually a lousy customer. I don't go there. If they manage to actually catch me on the phone I give them the fee, wait 1 second pause and tell them when they are ready to call back. If so, fine, if not, fine.

Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Sam Casey #1378521 02/19/10 11:33 PM
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Sam, I'd have to agree with you about the majority of price shoppers not being the best of customers but...when you first started out in the business or possibly when you were not so busy...did you deal so expediently with them?


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Niagara Region
Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Emmery #1378637 02/20/10 04:08 AM
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No, of course not. But again that's why forums like this are useful. We can demostrate by our bitter experiance the general outcome of wasting time and hope upon price shoppers or doing a service business based on the lowest price. It's a no win deal, no matter how appealing it may seem at the time. I learned it the hard way.

Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Sam Casey #1378894 02/20/10 03:19 PM
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I agree with all of you that avoid people who are price shopping. For this reason, I do no advertising in yellow pages or newspapers and the like. But Randy was questioning why people withhold potentially important information when dealing with a potential vendor. I think some customers consider that they might violate a client/tech confidentiality. But I also think that in this day and age, people are wary about giving out information, particularly about other people, to people they don't know


Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

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Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
Sam Casey #1378896 02/20/10 03:25 PM
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as a seller, your job is not only to sell but to educate or else your no better than ONLINE stores.

If I personally came into your business and notice that you were getting frustrated/defensive in my questioning, I would leave. Plain and simple. A good salesperson is keen to it's buyer and knows that the customer is more concerned about building the relationship by questioning-they should welcome questioning. There is a psychological dynamic that is taking place. Short sighted, short speaking sales driven ONLY people are immediately noticed by the shopper-they usually are very short in answer, preoccupied, distracted, and ask the customer more questions than the buyer does. Just take a minute and try to remember when you were hounded by a seller that kept asking you questions as you were adjusting to the environment. You become most likely short in your answers saying, 'just looking" as you walk away. The buyer should be doing most of the talking not the seller!!

I once did a basic observational study on the interactions/intentions of a buyer/seller relationship (I am a psychologist). A friend of mine who owns a carpet store wanted me to critique his selling/business skills. The most important variables I observed in making a sale was eye contact, smile, and honest non-intrusive questioning and answers. The salesperson who seemed to give the more benefit of the doubt and personal space approach to the customer seemed to keep them interested longer. For example, Seller: "Hello, my name is Joe, If you need any assistance, I am here for you" rather than "That is a wonderful piano, would you like to play it?"-which is obvious the seller is already targeting a sale rather than allowing the buyer to adjust and focus to the setting and the products.

Re: Why Do Customers Do This?
joeydonuts #1379159 02/20/10 09:55 PM
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Dale that bounces back to my original contention. IMO the question of competitior pricing would never come up if the price shopper was recognized as a waste of time. Once u start down that road it is hard to change the relationship into a profitable one of trust. It does not matter what the other guy charges. You don't buy the identical service from one tech to another. We are all painters using the same brushes and canvas but our products are slightly different. Those who view us as oil change shops, best is cheapest are a waste of time.


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