Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, (or how not to treat your customers.)

"Take good care of your customers and they will take care of you".
 Biju Paulose

I am a miniature artisan and I do sell my work and have been selling it for over 30 years.  I pride myself on the quality of customer service I deliver.  I have rarely had an issue with anything I have made, so, grateful for that. Rarely, something arrives broken and I either repair or refund according to my customer's desire. Once a customer, who purchased something years, YEARS, earlier told me that a piece had warped and I actually gave them a full refund. A pricey piece. And, yes, they did return the item.  Miniaturists tend to be so pleasant and always happy with their purchase because miniatures so delight in them and making a customer happy is pretty much THE NAME OF THE GAME.

BUT I am also an avid collector and have been for even longer.  In all that time in dealing with artisans and dealers at shows and through catalogs and now via the Internet I have to say that miniaturists in the business of selling miniatures are the nicest, sweetest and happiest of business people. I don't think many of you could disagree.

Way back a good many years ago I did run into a less than pleasant dealer at a show.  She was not nice and I never purchased from her again. But recently I have run into a few nasties and thought I just might out them here.  I hope its not some kind of Karma following me. I tend to be a picky consumer. And I have every right to be. Maybe its just some sellers think they know better than their customers.

I purchased some flowers from an online miniature show and when they arrived they were not much like the photo, very messy and sloppy and well, I let the 'artisan' know. She went crazy. First telling me how wonderful everyone thinks she is, then turning it up to disparage my work and then for some odd reason IGMA as well.  Then claimed she was reporting me to IGMA so they could revoke my Fellow status. Remember here, it was me who was the CUSTOMER. She gave me one day to return them and would then refuse the return and my refund. I figured I had better steer clear of crazy. I have plans for those flowers...

Next comes a doll maker. In fairness, I purchased the doll a few years ago. It arrived broken and I suspected something was wrong with either the polymer clay or the baking time. I let the seller know and she did offer to fix it, but it was an easy fix and easily hidden so I fixed it myself. Problem was it broke every time it was touched. I have had it lying around for all these years and finally contacted the seller. Who said she would make me another one if I paid for it. A bit testy, too, I might add. We went back and forth and finally I came here to post this. I am unhappy. I will never be a customer for either of these two ever again. Serious examples of BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE.  I have had other dolls break and the makers happily fixed them and for FREE and guess what? I went on to purchase more dolls from them both.

 If you are not a fan of great consumer service, then you are not a fan of business ultimately not making you a fan of money. K. Abernathy

What's wrong with, "I am sorry you are not satisfied. Please return the item"?

How about you? Any frightful experiences? Do tell. 
And do you think I should post photos? Call them out by name? Surely they deserve it.

*** I welcome your comments, but if you post anonymously as a troll or claim to know the parties involved, your comments will be deleted. 
This blog is about CUSTOMER SERVICE.  Not individuals which is why they are not named.

Here's a great video about bad customer service. Consumers of anything deserve to get what they pay for, be satisfied and not treated like shit. Enjoy.


  1. Hi Patricia, I'm sorry that this is happening to you, yeah it sucks...But you really didn't out them because you haven't named them. Yes, I would like to see pictures and names. I don't have any horror stories, and the only item that I sold, (made and sent) that arrived broken, I re-made. I also "made" a friend! People apparently have no idea how good that feels! So what, I had to re-make the piece, with not much hope of the Post Office reimbursing me, because the customer sent it back to me, instead of taking it to his PO. They said it has gone through the mail twice. Clearly his fault. But why OH why would I press this issue? He was upset and I took care of him. Simple (and fun cuz it feels good!) And guess what? The PO came through and made good on the claim! Win Win Win all around. Again sorry you are having these problems---
    your friend, Linda

  2. It's Ok, Linda and thanks for your sympathy. I was trying to point out that this kind of customer service only alienates customers and its a bad way to do business. They are fine when things go well, but once a problem occurs off they go into a nasty rant, getting sarcastic (which begets nothing good in return), demeaning and well, just plain shitty. I would out them by name and photos because I would certainly call out a big company. But since they both seem to have 'tics', I may just let it go. Or maybe not... Anyway, I am not worried about IGMA tossing me out. Not for being a customer with a valid complaint.

  3. Hi Patricia. I am sorry to learn that you have had some negative return experiences in the past, within the miniature community. I work in retail sales and I could tell you some shocking customer return horror stories that would really make your hair stand on end.
    However,. I happen to know one of the parties in question, and I know For A Fact, that not only is she is an honorable, and upstanding business woman, but like you she is also a collector as well as a crafter of miniatures.
    Yet I have watched and read, with growing dismay , all of the published transactions between the two of you as the animosity has steadily increased. Recently I read something that you wrote about her, attempting to discredit her as a person, all because of your intense dissatisfaction with her customer return policy.
    Could that be why she contacted I.G. M. A.?
    This is not good business- for either of you.
    Very very sad


  4. Elizabeth, since I named no one, I wonder how you know about whom I was writing?
    In any event, I was the CUSTOMER and as a customer I expect satisfaction not belligerence. I was quite frankly shocked at the response I got from 'the party in question". IGMA has nothing to do with my experience as a customer and that behavior of reporting me, right there shows you how unbalanced 'the party in question' became. Nice to know however, the party in question is showing our 'public transactions' around. Which by they way were never public. Unless the party in question published them. The fact remains, I did not like the product I received and was treated with disrespect. My business conduct as a seller is beyond reproach. I can't say the same for the party in question.

  5. I recently needed to return a plate that had broken out of a full set. When I went into the retail store, the guest services attendant acted like I had broken the plate on purpose just to make her day harder! I can assure you that customer service is a skill that is slowly disappearing along with all of the other good qualities in people and business.

  6. For sure. You usually don't find nasty miniature dealers. This one in particular was a real winner.