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The things you will do for a customer #615873
02/11/09 09:26 AM
02/11/09 09:26 AM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 88
Illinois
Magz Offline OP
Full Member
Magz  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2008
Posts: 88
Illinois
I manage a rather successful pest control company in the Chicagoland area. My technician treated a customer's home for a severe infestation of cockroaches. As with out typical service program he assured the customer that if she was still seeing cockroaches in 5 days to call us back otherwise we will stop by in two weeks for a follow-up inspection. Sure as shootin', I got a call, from a very angry customer stating the we made her problem worse and now there are roaches all over the house. When I arrived to investigate this problem... she was right. There were cockroaches all over. DEAD COCKROACHES. I looked at the customer as said, your roaches are all dead. The program is working. She then looked at me as said.. "Your man told me that if I see any cockroaches in 5 days to call. I see cockroaches. Get rid of them. (She was serious and to keep the reputation of our name, I spent two hours vacuuming and sweeping up dead cockroaches.

Just curious...

In the world of a piano technician, what has been your most outragious customer story?

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Re: The things you will do for a customer #615874
02/11/09 09:52 AM
02/11/09 09:52 AM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
I've told this story before in another thread a long time ago.

Many years ago, I went to an old farm house. The lady had a Story & Clark Studio that had been tuned by a flake. It was 1-2 keys flat.

I warned her about possible string breakage during pitch raise. She said, go and and tune it. Well, strings broke. She came into the room asking "WHAT HAPPENED?" I said, a string broke. 3 of them actually. She started accusing me of setting it up so the strings would intentionally break. Just then, (I've never had it before or since) but, all on it's own, while we were standing there talking, another wire broke. In fact, two of them broke. I said, see? They are rusty and can't take the pitch raise.

I've only had 2 or 3 instances where clients literally screamed and swore at me and this was one of these times. I mean, literally screaming and cussing at the top of her lungs!!! She was accusing me a F****** her over, repeating this over and over and over and over again...

15 minutes later of trying to explain it I'd had enough and screamed back at her to SHUT THE heck UP!!!! I fixed those wires, for nothing, I didn't want to be held accountable for anything in this woman's house, stopped tuning right then and there, leaving it horribly half raised in pitch and terribly out of tune and walked out having the total satisfaction of telling her off face to face.

Turns out, supposedly, somebody dug up her septic tank system and screwed her out of $25,000. Someone else screwed her our of some money for her roof. You know, everyone's out to get her.

I said as I walked away well ma'am, that doesn't give you the right to try and screw the next guy or place blame on an innocent person such as myself and you are dead wrong and have some very serious issues to address in your life but, lucky for me? I'll never come back to service your piano again EVER...and left. She apologized asking if I would finish the job? I laughed out loud and said, You have GOT to be kidding right? I hopped into my car and drove off.

I don't take crap like that from anyone. The customer is NOT always right... :-)


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

We love to play BF2.
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615875
02/11/09 10:48 AM
02/11/09 10:48 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
UnrightTooner Offline
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UnrightTooner  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
Jerry:

Thanks for explaining again what you are really like.


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615876
02/11/09 11:09 AM
02/11/09 11:09 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 634
J
JDelmore Offline
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JDelmore  Offline
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J

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 634
Hmmm...that's rather enigmatic, Jeff...

I think Jerry was spot on. Just as we should not abuse clients, we're not obligated to suffer abuse simply because we provide a service.


PTG Associate Member

"There is always room above; there is only the ground below."....F.E. Morton (with props to Del F.)
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615877
02/11/09 12:02 PM
02/11/09 12:02 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
UnrightTooner Offline
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UnrightTooner  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
There are ways to deal with abuse without becoming an abuser. That is what "turning the other cheek" is really about. It takes two to tango. We all have a choice to act, or to just react.


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615878
02/11/09 12:12 PM
02/11/09 12:12 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
North Carolina
Ron Alexander Offline
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Ron Alexander  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
North Carolina
-------------------------------------------------
quote:
Thanks for explaining again what you are really like.
-------------------------------------------------

Jeff, I know we have had our "moments." So I am not going to call you out in as strong a manner as I would probably like to. But I swear, can you tell us exactly what prompted that comment?
Jerry Groot certainly does not need me to defend him in any way, but I personally take offense to a personal attack like that upon him or anyone else here.

I think that demands an apology, but since I was not directed toward me, I suppose I have no right to make that kind of demand.


-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615879
02/11/09 12:29 PM
02/11/09 12:29 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,263
Vancouver B. C. Canada
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Silverwood Pianos  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,263
Vancouver B. C. Canada
Wayne 723,

I know from having a friend in the pest control business here in Canada, the service contract states whether or not the rodents or other pests are picked up and disposed of. I hope you billed her for the disposal of the cockroaches, especially if the service contract did not state removal of such items………..…..

Well which nightmare would you like? How about the one 10 yrs. ago where I sold an upright to a family and they filed a BBB complaint because the upright only had 65 dampers and they thought I ripped them off……..

Or the fellow that received a 6ft. Kimball player grand from his mother as a gift. This instrument was restored here; he then locates it in an open dining room 8ft. from the open air kitchen where they do a lot of cooking. After multiple calls to service over a 4 yr. period, calls that went un-answered, I then get a complaint that the keys stick. Pulled the action and all of the action parts felt like they had been oiled or something. Flanges sticking everywhere and bent center pins all over the place. After 3hrs. of work I still can’t get it to function correctly. I am then told by the customer this is now my fault because the instrument never played correctly to begin with……….I bid him good day and walked on a $429.00 bill. He came running down the driveway trying to write me a cheque…….never returned…….

Had a couple that were looking for a nice Heintzman upright. I didn’t have one at the time. I suggested they take a small “starter piano” for 500 bucks and get playing while I searched high and low for the right instrument.

I have a couple of beaters here used for temporary instruments while theirs is fixed or I am looking for something. Kind of like a loaner car.

They took the “starter piano” for$ 500, plus the move and the tuning, …. Two months later he calls and complains about the condition of the starter instrument………………… I went over the whole file with both of them in written form……….six months later I get a small claim document in the mail for Provincial Court. The claim was I sold them a faulty piano….

Consumer abuse is not something technicians need to tolerate.

Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com


Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615880
02/11/09 01:44 PM
02/11/09 01:44 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 961
Kalamazoo Michigan
R
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member
RPD  Offline
500 Post Club Member
R

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 961
Kalamazoo Michigan
I have a three strike rule.

Rude at arrival, first strike.

Complain about the cost work after ordering it and agreeing, second strike.

Continue to complain, rag, abuse, or try to treat me like the help...third strike and I calmly pack my bag and walk away, with no further comment.

I've only reached three strikes a half dozen times in all these years, but it gives me a way to deal with iffy clients.

Jerry's story doesn't sound like he "abused" the client AT ALL!! And, knowing Jerry a little, I'd be disposed to trust his approach. FWIW

RPD


MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician
www.actionpianoservice.com
DEALER Hailun Pianos
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615881
02/11/09 02:35 PM
02/11/09 02:35 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Tooner,

I don't know who in the heck you think you are to "judge another" but, you have shown your true color's time and again in this piano forum for who YOU really are. A troll and a trouble maker. You left once. Time for you to leave again.. Get lost. We don't need or want trouble makers in here.

I put up with an awful lot of verbal abuse, swearing and screaming from this woman before I finally let loose. A full 15 minutes worth.

As a "part time tuner" yourself, you have had a fraction of the experience in this field that I have had in my 40 years of tuning, 35 of them, full time.

I rarely have problems with clients. There isn't a full time technician out there that HASN'T had problems at some point in time. Generally, these clients have some sort of mental issue going on but, that is no reason to take it out on another HONEST person that was called in to do their job.
And, I stand by my statement. I will not take verbal or mental abuse from a client. Nor, will I take it from some smart alack know it all like yourself.

If you don't like what I wrote. Well, TOUGH. Go troll some place else and stop starting trouble!


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

We love to play BF2.
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615882
02/11/09 02:40 PM
02/11/09 02:40 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
UnrightTooner Offline
6000 Post Club Member
UnrightTooner  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
As I said before:

Quote
Originally posted by UnrightTooner:
Jerry:

Thanks for explaining again what you are really like.


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615883
02/11/09 02:45 PM
02/11/09 02:45 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
As I also said, thank you too for showing what you are really like Jeff. Are you having a bad day today or something?


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

We love to play BF2.
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615884
02/11/09 03:05 PM
02/11/09 03:05 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,753
PA
daniokeeper Offline
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daniokeeper  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,753
PA
Quote
"I've only had 2 or 3 instances where clients literally screamed and swore at me and this was one of these times. I mean, literally screaming and cussing at the top of her lungs!!! She was accusing me a F****** her over, repeating this over and over and over and over again..."
This put me in mind of another thread about providing references...

When someone calls you, you really have no idea as to just who the person is on the other end of the phone. You could be giving some maniac the phone numbers of some of your nicest, most decent customers. I don't provide references to strangers.

I haven't advertised since about 1983. When someone calls me, they were already referred by someone else. There's no other way to get my phone number. The referral works both ways.

It's not that I'm such an overwhelming financial success; It's that I'm proud and stubborn and I'd sooner work midnight shifts at WalMart stocking shelves to support myself if need be, rather than put up with this.


Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -Marcus Aurelius
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615885
02/11/09 03:58 PM
02/11/09 03:58 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,200
Marietta, GA
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Les Koltvedt  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,200
Marietta, GA
Heck, when I use to work in my garage on cars, I had replaced a timing chain and gears for a customer. 3 days later he calls me up and asks me what I did to his transmission...come to find out, the tangs on torque convertor that drive the trans front pump broke...it's on the opposite end of the motor...


Les Koltvedt
Servicing the Greater Atlanta Area.
www.well-lovedpiano.com/atlanta-piano-technicians/
PTG Associate
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615886
02/11/09 04:24 PM
02/11/09 04:24 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 88
Illinois
Magz Offline OP
Full Member
Magz  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 88
Illinois
WOW! I thought this kind of stuff only went on in the pest control industry. Didn't mean for this to get personal. How about you other guys and gals. What unusual tuning stories do you have to tell, and please, I know what customers can be like... and they all don't deserve respect. In my 25 years in Pest Control, I've had a gun pointed at me, threatened with a knife, robbed, had a Doberman take a piece out of my hind end and was even threatened by an ex-employee. Being in business doesn't always mean you meet the nicest people and sometime you get ****ed at the way they treat you. That's understandable and I certainly understand Mr. Groot's position. What's your story?

Re: The things you will do for a customer #615887
02/11/09 04:28 PM
02/11/09 04:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,263
Vancouver B. C. Canada
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Silverwood Pianos  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,263
Vancouver B. C. Canada
Nope Wayne this stuff goes on in every service business. In yours of course, you can decide who the pest really is, and sometimes it might just be the customer….. wink

Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com


Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615888
02/11/09 05:24 PM
02/11/09 05:24 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 45
MN
T
Torger Offline
Full Member
Torger  Offline
Full Member
T

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 45
MN
Here is a story,
I was asked to tune an old upright in a church basement so a theatre company could rehearse for a show.
It was about a note out of tune, Pitch raise and tuning complete the piano sounding fine, I go home.
I get a call back in about a week saying it is a note flat*.
I ask when I can get in to check things out and "touch up" the piano is a half step sharp….
Come to find out the heat was off during the week in the basement (got to about 15 degrees) and by power of observation, the pianist was using a radiant space heater pointed at themselves and the piano.

Call me crazy but all bets are off if that continues of how long the tuning will last…

*The standard for comparison was a tape recording of a keyboard at home, played back on a cheap boom box. – which I’m suspecting played fast (and sharp)


Torger Baland
Piano Tuner / Technician
Minneapolis / St. Paul
www.PapagenoPianoTuning.com
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Re: The things you will do for a customer #615889
02/11/09 06:19 PM
02/11/09 06:19 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 88
Illinois
Magz Offline OP
Full Member
Magz  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 88
Illinois
Silverwood Pianos,

Absolutely agree with you. It really doesn't matter where your problems come from. When you are in a service industry, a portion will come from customers. That's business.

Papageno,

I guess this proves that if common sense was so common, everyone would have it. In the works of Ron White, "You can't teach stupid!"

Re: The things you will do for a customer #615890
02/11/09 06:59 PM
02/11/09 06:59 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,642
Strong, Maine
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member
David Jenson  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,642
Strong, Maine
"Jerry's story doesn't sound like he "abused" the client AT ALL!!"

Agreed. Abusing her would have been pulling out the Uzi and giving her a lead tattoo - mafia style.

Shouting at her, by that measure, is pretty mild.


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615891
02/11/09 08:53 PM
02/11/09 08:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
North Carolina
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Ron Alexander  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
North Carolina
It is has been my experience that 1 in maybe 500 or so piano owners are jerks like Jerry described. Maybe that depends on the area where you live and work. But some people are just paranoid, and when they feel they have been wronged, their paranoia just becomes stronger.

Obviously Jeff has been wronged at some point in his life, and perhaps that is why he was "stung" by Jerry's story.

But, we all run into situations where people have higher expectations, or maybe better described as low expections of service people. We have all been in situations where we feel like we were taken advantage of. But that is no reason for flying off the handle and suspecting someone is screwing us, and especially there is no reason for yelling and verbal abuse.


-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician
Re: The things you will do for a customer #615892
02/11/09 11:18 PM
02/11/09 11:18 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,861
USA
B
Bob Offline
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Bob  Offline
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B

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,861
USA
There was the piano teacher with two pianos who rescheduled once, calling me the night before, costing me 1/2 days income, then six months later, rescheduled again the night before, again a loss of 1/2 days income, and rescheduled a third time! The third time I got the cancellation message after driving 45 min to her house.

I'm parked in her driveway, listening to her "I'm not home message" when she drives up!

I told her to find another tuner. She told a few people I yelled at her....poor baby!! laugh




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