Today, I had one of those days. I learned a good lesson too. So, here is the abridged version. I worked with a couple to help them design draperies and valances for their great room and kitchen area. When they originally called me, they made it clear that they really needed help in selecting not only the fabric that would complement their room, but also to help them select a style of window treatment that would work with the décor already in the room.
They were relatively easy to work with, and we got along very well. I showed them probably close to 300 fabrics in the styles that they were seemingly looking for. They had a very transitional style working in their space, with leather furniture and black granite counter tops, but blended with dark wood cabinetry and their accessories were mostly desert southwest motif. I’ll be honest, it was a challenge for me. We spent so much time selecting the “perfect fabric” that the customers asked the obligatory question, “Are we the hardest customers you’ve ever had?” Not yet! So, we found a great fabric which complemented everything perfectly. Next we worked on picking a style to make the fabric up in. I showed them a great number of photographs of different valance and drapery styles, and after a few hours we picked a good coordination of fabric, rods, and shape of valances and draperies. I was excited to see how the job was going to work out.
Things hit a sort of hiccup when the drapery rod supplier got my order and then literally forgot to ship it. When I called them about 6 weeks later they said, “You didn’t get that? Oh, wait, it’s still here… Sorry, we will ship it tomorrow”. When I got the shipment, there was one critical piece missing and I had to wait another week to receive that piece too. Ughhhh. The customer was pretty reasonable about the whole ordeal, but of course everyone wants their things installed “yesterday”.
So, the day for the installation finally came. I got to the jobsite and we got right to work hanging everything. The first thing that I noticed was that the fabric and finish selection on the drapery rods was absolutely perfect with their furnishings. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised, but it was great to hear the lady of the house tell me how much she liked the fabric. Sometimes people forget what they selected while they wait a few weeks for their job to be manufactured and installed. So, after a couple of hours the installation was completed, and it looked amazing. The treatment was simple, but very effective. She was thrilled with it, and we showed her how everything worked and chit chatted for a while. She wanted her husband to see everything, and that is when things took a turn for the worse.
So, here is the lesson I learned. There is no accounting for peoples’ moods beforehand. It turns out that the man of the house had had a really bad day. There was tension in the house before we even showed up. It didn’t take much to set him off, apparently. When we showed him the work, he went off on us. His behavior was embarrassing to his wife and was truly shocking to me. He complained that the work looked like &#%$. He was glad my wife was there to hear what he had to say because he wished he had never dealt with us. “We charged too much, the work was bad, he hoped the fabric came with a warrantee because it was obviously cheap fabric” and I’m sure he said some other things too. Wow!!! In all my years of business, this was only the second time I had a customer react this strangely.
After the outburst, the man left the room and the wife told us about all the things that were going on in his world. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her and for him too. I really hope that in time he comes to love the products we installed as much as she does.
You can’t please everyone in this world. I learned that if you do everything you can to satisfy your clients’, needs then you have to live with that. There is no sense beating yourself up over it. You do have to cross your “t”s and dot your “i”s though. If you give someone with a complaining attitude a reason to complain, you are going to have a rough day. Just do your very best and follow through with your promises and you are sure to succeed.