The Little Fly Fisherman - The Purchase that Wouldn't Be
inMarch 1, 2013 - 8:44am
The planter wasn’t a Rookwood or a Haviland or a Royal Doulton. It did not cost $5,000. or $350.00. It was a silly little planter with a huge trout being caught by a little fly fisherman. It of course was vintage and most people might not even look at it twice. It cost just sixteen dollars, not much for a seller to make on one a purchase. I wanted it for a door prize for a fly fishing club banquet fund raiser. It was just a bit quirky but with a plant in it the effect would be very much in theme with the event. And so I ordered it and paid for the item and postage.
Brenda, the seller had no idea that this small inexpensive item would be worth a million bucks to her. Of course I am talking figuratively but still it makes my point.
A day later I received a very nice note from Brenda telling me that my purchase had a problem. The string and fly were no longer with the item and the planter now had a “hairline stress crack” that had developed only on the inside of the piece since it was stored. The question she asked was, did I still want it? She stated she could send extra pictures so I could see the condition with my own eyes. She wrote, “ The item is very nice and the crack is normal for the age. But, I want you to make the choice.” She sent a phone number to use to contact her personally. I opted not to purchase the item. If it had been for me I would have bought it but because others would win it I needed it to be in pristine vintage condition.
Now you might question why I am even bothering to write about this transaction. I think it illustrates what a good seller does to make sure the customer is happy. There are lessons to learn from this experience for all of us. First, she notified me very quickly that there was a problem. Sometimes when we discover a problem we would rather put out head in the sand than deal with the problem quickly. Second, she made sure that I knew what was wrong and gave me the option to back out of the order. Thirdly, she was willing to do more, offering to take more pictures of the planter. That is good customer service. Fourth, the fact that something was missing from the item was not easy for her to write me about. I, as a seller, have had to admit that the item I was selling had “fallen off the face of the Earth” and was missing! It is so embarrassing to not be able to find something in your inventory. The truth is we all have to face the reality that we are not perfect and mistakes are going to happen. Good business practice is to admit it truthfully and that was what was done here. Lastly my refund for the purchase arrived in a timely manner as well.
For her it was a sale lost in a time where the economy is tough and every sale counts. In reality, Brenda gained far more by the way she handled this tough situation with a customer. She gained someone who has already returned to the shop in hopes something else would work for my need. She gained someone who will pass the word on about a good and reputable place to purchase something. So that is why Brenda, of the Hayes Street Market Shop has won a million dollar reputation because it she proved that how you give customer service and honesty will make your shop a place where people will return to no matter what happens. We can all learn from this experience. It is not only how you handle a once in a while difficult situation but how you handle the everyday things that we deal with daily. So the real question is, how is your shop doing on customer service? Are you worth a million dollar reputation?
For down home service and hospitality visit Carmel Collectibles on Ruby Lane