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Thread: Lost a customer today......
02-18-2012, 08:34 AM #21
I am going to take the contrary view here but only Frank is going to know who is right, as he actually deals with these people.
I would go and have a chat with whoever is ultimately in charge. Start with we are sorry we could not help you out the other day. BUT then express the problems you have had with the "idiot grandson" and a lack of drawings or clarity on what they need. Maybe you have lost this customer, maybe it is good riddance. But maybe Grandpa knows what an idiot the grandson is. Maybe you will end up dealing with a millright, maybe grandson will get his ass reamed and told he is getting paid to make up drawings for you. Or maybe it will be show Frank what is wrong and let him decide what is needed, of course you will bill for this time maybe at a higher rate than shop rate.
Just remember Good Fast or Cheap pick two. The always rush customers can be a pain in the ass but if you can charge them a premium price they can be quite worthwhile. If you cannot charge them a premium price then losing them is probably for the best.
I would probably not bill them for the work, if you just submit it they are not likely to pay it. But I would bring an accounting of what you should be charging them with you to the meeting with the boss as ammunition. I would start out that "I am not going to charge you for this but here is what this cost me" You may find the boss volunteering to pay the bill or split it with you.
02-18-2012, 08:43 AM #22
If this is NOT a steady customer........I feel it's a waste of Frank's time and money and he would be better off spending it on a potentially new customer that would bring him in a more consistent workload.
Even if it was walking into a large shop as a cold call.......it would be time better spent!
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02-18-2012, 09:10 AM #23
Some customers are not worth the trouble and time, you have to prioritize.
02-18-2012, 12:11 PM #24
bill them. if possible, make sure the bill gets to daddy or grandpa. include some "design time" for the nonsense you and your employee had to go thru. a personal note to daddy or grandpa about the whole episode ending with "have provided services to your company for xxx years but will no longer. final thought, although i hate paperwork, come up with a "EMERGENCY WORK PURCHASE ORDER" that the customer would sign before the first nut is loosened.
02-18-2012, 12:34 PM #25
Bottom line is everything would be alright if customers machine was running.
Grandson didnt have a clue so a drawining done by him wouldnt have helped.
Your employee didnt have a clue or the repair would have worked.
Looks like to me it was a simple job that was not done proper.(ie it is the shops fault If you bill him I would think that you should pay for his down time as you had the option to refuse the gob at the start and didnot fix his problem)
02-18-2012, 12:58 PM #26
I don't have a dog in this fight but I can't see how the machine shop should be at fault for misinterpreting verbal orders on short notice.
Your take on this would probably be correct if there were a drawing with correct dimensions and the shop made it incorrectly. Absent a drawing, the machine shop can't be at fault, at least the way I see it.
02-18-2012, 01:19 PM #27
02-18-2012, 01:31 PM #28
02-18-2012, 01:31 PM #29
Nahh, he has a valid point.
The Employee was over at the "offending" plating shop to have a look, wasn't he. And he probably had a look at the defective piece of equipment ?
Still, i think the OP would have mentioned it , because then it would indeed be a case where his shop is at fault, partially, that is....
02-18-2012, 01:42 PM #30
Gotta remember they're Platers, its not like they're ever gonna admit fucking up anything... pretty sure they wouldn't eat the costs of scraping a batch of your parts either.
First thing to do in a panic = slow down!
Oh and I would never trust any dimensions a customer just mouths off. I measure it myself or it doesn't exist.
02-18-2012, 02:50 PM #31
Seems pretty simple to me. If they have in their posession any of the work you did then bill them for what they have. If they don't and you have no paperwork, drawings, sketches, etc. supporting your side that was a mistake that you now have to pay for.
02-18-2012, 03:33 PM #32
Don't know about this. It doesn't sound like the repair even got a chance to be tried ... for unknown reasons, the Grandson decided both attempts were "wrong" and it all went to hell in a handbag without testing. Sounds to me the Grandson knew something rockfish didn't, and went into full ass-cover mode.
No doubt about it, rockfish needs to buy a better grade of crystal ball !
02-18-2012, 03:38 PM #33
It's Franks call whether or not he wants to keep them as customers.
But I'd still bill them, (making sure Grandpa gets a copy) giving a full account of the transaction.
Why? Win or lose, I won't have slunk away with my tail between my legs, too scared to send a bill,....... even though I'd done nothing wrong.
Think about it.
P.S. If they don't pay I'd stop at the third reminder.
02-18-2012, 03:48 PM #34First thing to do in a panic = slow down!
Especially when -It's not YOUR panic-
"An emergency on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part....
BEEN THERE....DONE THAT
20/20 hind sight.....
Frank should have took a bit more time and explained to them that he was really busy, but could get over to see the problem 'later' instead of sending
someone else ASAP.
Being the nice guy and stepping up to the plate to help in an emergency
can sometimes have this EXACT result. Getting caught up in THEIR rush and haste can cause confusion and lead to errors....or miscommunication at the least....on both sides.
The other curious question would be, if this all went smooth, would these people really appreciate it anyway??
Too many assholes out there have no clue what it takes to do a repair and get it right....and hurrying can't be part of the equation when it comes to engineering and machining 'on the fly'.
02-18-2012, 03:49 PM #35
Dont I know that one
Had fifty exhaust valve covers made from 4360 sent to a platers once, each one cost £85 to machine, sent in a custom packing crate that seperated and cushioned each one... came back ina cardboard box that looked like it had been a dryer for a week.
Cue 1 e.mail saying we wanted the parts plated , not tumbled.
We lost one customer last year... actually he was told to f*** off , loverly work with +/-0.004" limits on the tight bits and +/-0.010" on the rest
But they could'nt cope with the fact it take time to produce stuff ina machine shop, especially when you have 3 other major customers.
The relations generally went like this
<day 1:9am> we want 60 of part number 5656737
<day 1:9.05am> Why are'nt they on our loading dock?
<day 1:9.06am> what do you mean it will take 2 days to get the metal delivered
<day 3:9am> Wheres our parts, you've had 2 days to get the metal in
<day 3:9.01am> Why did you load up the 4 Axis VMC with another customer's work and let the programmer/ setter have a day off, get him in now, we want our stuff.
<day 3:9.02am> So your programmer/setter is a certifiable nutjob with an unhealthy interest in fire and has our address?
<day 3:9.02.15am) Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! the building is on fire and we're being shot at!
Actually..... scrub the last 2 quotes from them , but the others are fairly accurate
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02-18-2012, 04:17 PM #36
No time for paperwork.
The only thing that matters is does machine get fixed or not.
If you cant fix machine you need to get out of the road and letsomeone else in. ( you are legally liable for the down time from when you say yes I can fix this until you say I give up or f..off and die etc.)
Averbal contract starts with the yes I can(a verbal contract is as binding as a writen)
As an alternative you can go back to making parts and not get involved in repair.
A plus when you fix the problem in spite of bad words , hurt feelings etc. when you have hung in there and completed the job you get to fillout a bill.
An extra 0 properly placed is an exelent reliever of stress.
02-18-2012, 04:56 PM #37
02-18-2012, 05:33 PM #38
02-18-2012, 06:03 PM #39
Curious,(maybe it was already mentioned?) Does your employee have a phone with a camera? if he does there's no reason to not take pictures, even film the whole thing if needed. But definitely should never leave with less than at least pen and paper. But nearly everybody has a camera on them these days. Too late now of course.
Everytime I've seen people run around in a panic it turned into a half-assed pile of crap that took longer than it would have if people slowed down, had a smoke or something, got some paper and tools out and properly figured out what the heck has to be done.
While were doing that you can write up a PO, or a blank cheque is fine too, there's time.
02-18-2012, 06:31 PM #40
Yeah, you may eat this.
As mentioned already by many others, you have to bill them. Then try to get 'grandpa's' ear if you can.
If it happens, your good-faith attempt may help get some work back.
And if not, it will also give you a chance to polish the "kiss the customer's ass a bit while standing you ground 'cause you got screwed" thing...
But only for the next customer in this case I'm afraid.
The grandson is worthless. I would like to think that he's a know quantity there by now.
And ease up a bit guys, rockfish just wanted to take care of a customer while busy. Did what he thought would work out in the end. He admitted the paperwork thing.
Good for you for trying to do a good, timely job for a customer. Live and learn here I think. At least it's only a day and material, plus your time, etc. Their loss is not your problem, they didn't do what they needed to do either.
A run of bad parts could have been worse when specs change w/o the paperwork.