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sword crossing pole

Yes, I kind of chewed out a customer

Unhappy customer. She booked a pole party for 15 women but only showed up with 7 women. When you book a party for more than 10 women, the flat rate does not apply and we instead charge just $35 per person. But when she showed up with only 7 women, she insisted we still give her the party at $35 per person even though that would make the price far below the flat rate we charge for 10 or less women. She also said that while everyone had fun at the party, she thought their instructor was rude. This would probably be because they arrived for their party more than 30 minutes early and walked right into the studio (ignoring the sign on the door that said we would be back in 30 minutes) and walked right into some one's private lesson and the instructor asked them to leave and come back no earlier than 15 minutes prior to the start time of their party. The instructor also would not drop the price for them when they asked for a discount because some of their girls didn't show up. So it's no wonder they didn't like her much. I think it's unlikely the instructor was rude. But she is a no nonsense woman that worked her way through college tending a college bar. She's used to handling drunk and belligerent men and putting them in their place. So it's possible that while she was not rude, she was certainly firm enough to be interpreted that way because she is accustomed to having to put people in their place when they misbehave.

I handled this in two ways, one very professional and one not so professional. Because she thought their instructor was rude, I offered the party organizer a free 1-hour lap dance and striptease lesson in my studio at her convenience for herself and any 6 of her friends. This is a $210 value -- for free!

But I also explained to her that I wasn't going to give her the refund she was requesting for two reasons, one being that the flat rate price for 10 or less women was clearly posted on our website. And the second basically said she wasn't likely to find any business that gives refunds for no-shows. This is a partial quote from the e-mail I sent her:

"If you had booked a wedding reception hall for 50 guests and only showed up with 30 guests, it's unlikely you would get a refund from them because your guests chose to not show up. If you had booked 15 tickets on a flight with an airline but only showed up with 7 girls, it's unlikely the airline would give you a refund for the girls that didn't show up. If you purchased 15 movie tickets online for a movie but only showed up with 7 people, it's unlikely the movie theatre would give you a refund because some of your friends chose not to show up. We are the same as every other business, we can't be responsible when a client agrees to a certain number of people and then doesn't keep the agreement because their friends chose not to show up. If we did, we would lose so much money we wouldn't be able to stay open. So I'm very sorry we can't issue a refund to you. And this is why we have a flat rate and why the rate is clearly posted on our website."


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I know this may have been less that professional. But she is getting a $210 lesson for free. So hopefully she can stand being put in her place a bit to get something for free that I have never ever given to anyone for free before.

Comments

If you purchased 15 movie tickets online for a movie but only showed up with 7 people, it's unlikely the movie theatre would give you a refund because some of your friends chose not to show up.

Unfortunately, this example is not a strictly valid one. I worked in management at a major theatre chain for a time, and our policy was as long as they presented us with an unused ticket, they could get a re-admission for any other ticket of that same value. Not the same as a cash refund, granted, so it's more-or-less equivalent to the free lesson you're offering her.

My one question is this: Does the difference in price between what they paid for their party and what they would have paid if everyone showed up equal the amount of free service you're offering her?
My free service is about twice the difference. So they're getting more than they asked for. However, I'm going to guess and say she won't take me up on the offer. I gave her 3 months and told her the offer expires May 31st.
Having been in customer service, and meeting too many tantrum-ish overly entitled public who pose as customers, I'm willing to bet this customer used the "rude" response not because your instructor was rude at all, but simply was a response (however firm) that the customer didn't want to hear. People love to exaggerate for effect, and I'm willing to bet that nobody was rude on your side of the deal. The customer simply isn't always right. And sometimes they need to be reminded of that, firmly.

Your examples are fair enough to the customer - regarless of actual merit (as the movie manager notes) but the mere idea of preparation or cost of a set amount of people remains active even if the customer can't pony up that many people. This is where I'd still twist your arm to write up an official Terms Of Service to put this stuff in the open and cut off these disagreements or misunderstandings one step shorter. Granted, the flat rate agreed upon should be enough. People (customers) are sometimes playing 'dumb' these days to try to beat the system, and really, it's all about buyer beware. Sign up, Show up, and if you can't make that meet, you lose, and it's not the business' fault.

The offer of alternate service was fair enough to provide. Compromise so that it's at least "store credit" equivalent when they don't get what they exepct, but they're not getting their money back. People (customers) have to smarten up - it's not about arguing or making a scene or negotiating anymore. It's about paying attention to what you buy and the terms under which you bought it.




I just got an e-mail response from the customer. She says they all live in Los Angeles and can't come for a class. They were only in town for the bachelorette party so they could celebrate with some Seattle friends.

Her response also said that she told me she was expecting "about" 15 to 20 women and that it was clear this number was not set in stone. I'm not entirely sure how I was supposed to know that 15 to 20 women actually means 7 women. But my prices ARE set in stone since they are clearly printed on the website.
Exactly. It was her expectations that fell short. Not yours. She lives, she learns.
15 or 20 is still more than the ten she was charged for. 15 or 20 is still more than 7 anyhow, so it isn't like she was off by one or two...

Erin
You know I think it was just a misunderstanding, rather than her trying to get something for nothing. But the misunderstanding happened because she didn't read the price on my website and I assumed she had when I gave her a quote for what it would cost to have 15 to 17 women attend.

But I'm glad to hear I didn't chew her out. Thank you.