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We Are All Customers So…Why Not Be Better Customers?

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We Are All Customers So…Why Not Be Better Customers?

How Can We Be Better Customers?

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Why Not Be Better Customers?

Be Better Customers

We are all customers so…do we need to be better customers? A customer called The Haywire Custom Shop and wanted to price a job on his Bass guitar to lower the action.  He was quoted $35. He said, “Why so high if you’re just lowering the string saddles?” It occurred to me that he had no idea what was involved but thought just lowering the saddles would achieve the desired string height. It’s difficult to explain to players that reality and their idea of reality are two different things. It’s even tougher to explain it without sounding rude. I know what he wanted which is lower action.

He wanted me to do it his way-which was to simply lower the saddles. However, if he already knows how to get the action lower and is asking me to do it, then why should I listen? What if I do exactly what the customer tells me, and it turns out poorly?  Whose fault, is it?

Do we need to be better customers sometimes?

This kind of back and forth goes on all the time with customers in our guitar shop. It makes more sense if a customer is going to call an expert for work to let the expert handle it rather than try and “tell him how to do it”. Why not be better customers and let the experts choose the right way?  What if we listen to the customer and the repair comes out badly? Then again, whose fault, is it?  Should we tell the customer we did it the way he suggested and let him think he solved his own problem with some minor assistance from us?  Do we say, sorry you have no idea what you’re talking about, so we did it the right way? It’s hard to be tactful sometimes with an “all-knowing” customer.

Get a list started about the likes and dislikes.

I often get confused about what to say sometimes when I’m in that situation other than, “what do you like about your instrument and what don’t you like”?  Usually while listening I’ll get a list started about the customers likes and dislikes regarding the instrument. I’ll then fix everything on the “What I don’t like about my instrument” side of the list before turning it back over to the customer. He’ll test it and tweaks will follow if necessary. When it’s time to be better customers, a guitar adjustment should be no exception.

We’re all customers at some point and need to be mindful of the reason we go to an expert for advice. Why? Because most likely a self-remedy didn’t work.  Common sense should tell us to just listen, or better yet just describe the problem and ask if it can be fixed. If the answer is “yes” then simply saying thanks, I’ll let you handle it may suffice. Ask when will it be ready?  Nothing more needs to be said until it’s ready and it’s time to check if the problem has been corrected. If “yes” then that’s all there is to it.

Be mindful of the reasons we go to an expert for advice

The fix for the Bass action example above consists of a several prong approach guitar adjustment process. Lowering action is not just a “one operation fix”.  Starting with the guitar neck, first we check the truss rod to see if it’s bowed causing higher than normal action, possibly look at some filing on the nut to gain lower action at the strings near the tuners, thirdly, a look at the alignment angle in the neck for some correction, finally lowering the saddles for a four pronged approach that will make him a happy player and provide a long term fix.

Apparently, the customer didn’t know about the other three ways to lower action, so he determined the $35 quote was too high when actually, it was very reasonable.  There were many more operations involved than the customer realized. Be mindful when asking for something you cannot do yourself.

Let’s all try and be better customers always!  We may learn something in the process. Rick@

About the Author:

Mr. Rick Mariner Owner and Founder and CEO of Haywire Custom Guitars Inc. He is a member of The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (A.S.I.A.) as well as a guitar player. Rick holds a bachelors degree from University of Md. and a Masters degree from George Washington University. Rick developed his exclusive 8 – Point “Gig- Ready” guitar process that allows for Custom Guitars that are “GIG-READY”. With Rick’s many years of development and guitar set-up experience, Haywire Guitar shop “Builds satisfied players… one Haywire guitar at a time”.

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