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Rude Customers #2787651
12/04/18 07:11 AM
12/04/18 07:11 AM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 55
East Coast, Canada
Duaner Offline OP
Full Member
Duaner  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 55
East Coast, Canada
How do "you" handle it when customers are just down-right rude to you?

I mean what has been your experience with this because I'm quite sure, although it wouldn't happen that often, this does happen to every tuner/tech from time to time. I just had that experience where a customer was complaining about fuzzy strings after I tuned the piano (long story). So, I went back ten days later at her demand and rechecked everything I did and all seemed very good. So she started "splitting hairs" trying to invent the "fuzzy" sound that I just was not hearing. So, I took all the panels off and put them on separately playing and searching for the fuzzy piece by piece. At one point she called me "Fonzy" (Happy Days) saying that when something didn't work right Fonzy's remedy was to start beating on it. I admit I nearly broke out in loud laughter when she called me Fonzy.....but the overall demeanor was not good really. Personally, I am satisfied that the piano is in great shape and in tune....nothing more I can do....signed: Fonzy.


Duane Graves
www.pianotuningfredericton.com

"Pushin 70...still haven fun I think..."
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Re: Rude Customers [Re: Duaner] #2787656
12/04/18 07:59 AM
12/04/18 07:59 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 302
Omaha, NE
A
adamp88 Offline
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adamp88  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 302
Omaha, NE
Those are the kinds of clients I am somehow all booked up and unable to find time for in the future.


Adam Schulte-Bukowinski, RPT
Piano Technician, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
ASB Piano Service
Re: Rude Customers [Re: Duaner] #2787671
12/04/18 09:13 AM
12/04/18 09:13 AM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 704
Lincoln, NE
T
That Guy Offline
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That Guy  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 704
Lincoln, NE
Duane - Your post is very timely for me. Yesterday I tuned for a lady who never seems satisfied when I'm done. She a professional musician, singer mainly, so she does have a good ear but still, it's nerve racking every time I tune for her. The problem is, she keeps rehiring me!! Yesterday I suggested she look for another piano tuner, but we talked and redid some things and I guess she was satisfied. I just keep thinking she's going to hire someone else but keeps contacting me.

I think if she contacts me again a I'll give her Adams name... wink

So, hang in there Duane. You're not alone!


"That Tuning Guy"
Scott Kerns
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com
Re: Rude Customers [Re: That Guy] #2787687
12/04/18 09:50 AM
12/04/18 09:50 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 302
Omaha, NE
A
adamp88 Offline
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adamp88  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 302
Omaha, NE
Originally Posted by That Guy
DI think if she contacts me again a I'll give her Adams name... wink


I have the convenient excuse of being tied up with university work now, Scott. smile


Adam Schulte-Bukowinski, RPT
Piano Technician, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
ASB Piano Service
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Re: Rude Customers [Re: Duaner] #2787709
12/04/18 11:03 AM
12/04/18 11:03 AM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 5
Hampshire UK
N
N W Offline
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N W  Offline
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N

Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 5
Hampshire UK
I had a colleague (no longer alive sadly), who had one or two customers who always found something wrong. He decided to leave one unison out deliberately. The customer would hear it, of course, he would correct it and everyone was happy. I never dared try it but it might work for you.....:)
Nick


Nick, ageing piano technician
Re: Rude Customers [Re: Duaner] #2787746
12/04/18 01:06 PM
12/04/18 01:06 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,878
Bradford County, PA
UnrightTooner Offline
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UnrightTooner  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,878
Bradford County, PA
I've had some that were picky and usually can find the odd problem that bothers them, but not always. Never had a rude customer, though. But having worked on merchant ships, as long as someone doesn't pull a knife, I may not see them as being rude. I have decided that if I can't please a customer, I will just refund their money. Someday it may happen.


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: Rude Customers [Re: UnrightTooner] #2787820
12/04/18 04:53 PM
12/04/18 04:53 PM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 704
Lincoln, NE
T
That Guy Offline
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That Guy  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 704
Lincoln, NE
Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
But having worked on merchant ships, as long as someone doesn't pull a knife, I may not see them as being rude.


Yikes!! Now THAT puts things in perspective... crazy


"That Tuning Guy"
Scott Kerns
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com
Re: Rude Customers [Re: N W] #2787832
12/04/18 05:19 PM
12/04/18 05:19 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 508
Rockville, MD
Seeker Offline
500 Post Club Member
Seeker  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 508
Rockville, MD
Originally Posted by N W
I had a colleague (no longer alive sadly), who had one or two customers who always found something wrong. He decided to leave one unison out deliberately. The customer would hear it, of course, he would correct it and everyone was happy. I never dared try it but it might work for you.....:)
Nick

Brilliant!
The picky customer gets to nitpick;
you easily solve the problem;
she feels good; you feel good;
...and smile all the way to the bank (or however it takes to get the funds through Venmo or whatever).


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Rude Customers [Re: UnrightTooner] #2787971
12/05/18 06:45 AM
12/05/18 06:45 AM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 55
East Coast, Canada
Duaner Offline OP
Full Member
Duaner  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 55
East Coast, Canada
Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
I've had some that were picky and usually can find the odd problem that bothers them, but not always. Never had a rude customer, though. But having worked on merchant ships, as long as someone doesn't pull a knife, I may not see them as being rude. I have decided that if I can't please a customer, I will just refund their money. Someday it may happen.


....good answer....look for a knife....sometimes the knife is just in back of the lips and teeth.....and it's just as sharp.....


Duane Graves
www.pianotuningfredericton.com

"Pushin 70...still haven fun I think..."
Re: Rude Customers [Re: That Guy] #2787998
12/05/18 08:58 AM
12/05/18 08:58 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,878
Bradford County, PA
UnrightTooner Offline
5000 Post Club Member
UnrightTooner  Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,878
Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted by That Guy
Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
But having worked on merchant ships, as long as someone doesn't pull a knife, I may not see them as being rude.


Yikes!! Now THAT puts things in perspective... crazy


One time a shipmate was trying to intimidate me. I pulled out my knife, but not to use it on him. I was offering it to him, to use on me. It was a "put up or shut up" gesture. He quickly backed down. Then there was an incident that eventually led to a ride in a Brazilian paddy-wagon with army guards and assault rifles... But this is all pretty tame stuff compared to dealing with irate tuning customers! wink


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: Rude Customers [Re: Duaner] #2788244
12/05/18 10:29 PM
12/05/18 10:29 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,810
USA
B
Bob Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Bob  Offline
4000 Post Club Member
B

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,810
USA
Fonzi - funny! I've found that a picky client will usually check the piano carefully the first time I tune it, and never bother again. Then again, the most important part of tuning is that last pass, checking unisons, 10ths, 17ths, chords, etc. The last pass is supposed to catch any errors before the client does. Omit the last pass, and you haven't done a good job tuning.




Re: Rude Customers [Re: Duaner] #2788399
12/06/18 01:14 PM
12/06/18 01:14 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,817
Tennessee
E
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Ed Foote  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
E

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,817
Tennessee
Greetings,
Those of us that are self-employed have as few of these customers as we can afford. Good, solid, constructive critique,("I think the bass is stretched more than I like"), is critical to our improving our skills, but there is a certain type of customer that has extrinsic reasons for complaint. It may be that that is the only way of approaching the world that they know, nothing can be perfect. It may be that they fear other's impression that they are not "discerning" if they don't, with "their" ear, catch something that the piano tuner, with "his" ear, overlooked. "Hah! Look at me: I am so good that I can out-hear a piano tuner !". Some customers need to be clearly in charge and you are to do whatever they say to do, which just might be something invented for the purpose of showing their dominance. . It happens.

Rudeness? That is a deal breaker for me. Payment for a tuning can't come close to the negative value of a dreadful appointment. My hope is I can reach the end of my career without ever having taken money from someone that was unhappy with my work. It has happened three times in 40 years, and I deserved two of them. I have handed a check back to a customer and apologized for wasting their time, and the relief I felt in the car was worth more than the money. This approach also helps keep the clientele "clean" of ugliness. The long range, pleasant plan is to have only customers I look forward to seeing, so quality can't be compromised for quantity any more than I can help it.

Back to my first sentence: when I started, I had to tune anything that didn't move just to have enough money (tunings=$ 9.00 at dealers, $ 14 in field) to live on. Rudeness was a minor annoyance and during the height of the cocaine use around Music Row in the 1980's, there was a lot of it going around with all that money. Had two kids to feed, had to put up with it. As experience, prices, and age increased, I have been able to gradually shape my clientele, and have reached the zero tolerance for rudeness. If I smell it over the phone, I can be pretty nimble on my feet and let them go on by.
Regards,

Re: Rude Customers [Re: Duaner] #2788533
12/06/18 10:02 PM
12/06/18 10:02 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,810
USA
B
Bob Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Bob  Offline
4000 Post Club Member
B

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,810
USA
Yep, those clients that send up red flags over the phone...……..I usually make note of any client weirdness during the initial phone contact so I'm prepared and my client list is full of notes on all kinds of things. that help me deal with the client.

I always note if they are price sensitive. Tactful handling of price issues can be a win win.

We have all had those clients that seem impossible to please.

A Russian lady comes to mind. She plays at a concert level, but has a Wurlitzer spinet. She demanded I make time to tune her piano that day. (1st red flag). I get there, after tuning 4 pianos prior, and she says the piano isn't at her pitch. I check - it's right at A=440. She claims perfect pitch and wants me to try a bit flatter, so I set a temperament flatter, then a bit sharper, so I set a temperament sharper. After 10 minutes of this, she finally decides A=440 is best. I wanted to walk out, and I should have, but I stayed. So I tuned the piano, and she doesn't like it. The piano has voicing issues, and many false beats and overtones. I told her she has a starter piano, and that's what they sound like. She said pianos in Russia sound better. After tweaking a few notes, I gave her a small discount and got out of there, never to return. Glad that kind of thing happens a few times in a career.





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