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estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

Customer Ghosting - impolite 

To whom it may not concern, ( sarcasm)

Have you ever had customers engage you in several emails asking detailed questions only to stop corresponding after you've answered all the questions?

Looky guys, if you ask 70 questions and take 30 or 40 minutes of someones time and you don't buy a guitar from them, that's part of the business, it's ok because guitar makers are grown up's who expect a lot of tire kickers and slow deciders. It's part of the job to answer questions about yourself, your experience, your brand and your work methods etc.

If you do engage someone in a long volley of emails it's expected, because laying out several thousand dollars for a guitar is a big deal. Customers however should say thanks for all the information - leaving a conversation without saying anything to either close a deal or close the conversation is very rude. Just because someone wants to buy a guitar and spend a lot of money, it does not entitle them to snub someone who just gave 15, 30 or 60 minutes of professional shop time returning emails and writing thoughtfully about what the guitar maker could help them with.

Here are a couple of things one could say:

Thank you for all the information, I appreciate your time. I'm evaluating my guitar buying budget and I'll get back you eventually when I'm ready to buy.

or-

I'm auditioning several guitar makers at once and I appreciate your help and information. Best of luck with your work...

Falling off a conversation and leaving people wondering is not cool. It may be a buyers market, but it does not mean being rude is cool. I appreciate the final close of an inquiry one way or another.

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2017 0:22:44
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Have you ever had customers engage you in several emails asking detailed questions only to stop corresponding after you've answered all the questions?


I get that man. It generally takes me nearly 40 hours to bid an entire house. What drives me crazy is bidding that house, then going through 4 rounds of value engineering(basically bidding the house 4 more times) and then losing the house to their brother in law who really had the contract all along and I was a check number.
It's happened 4 or 5 times to me and makes me crazy.

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\m/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2017 2:08:41
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1488
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

Yeah, I've had that occasionally too. And I get people who contact me to say they are going to come by to look at guitars and never do, even after contacting me a few more times.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2017 2:37:22
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to Leñador

Yeah I've been in that situation. Especially with school contracts, they gave to assemble five or six bids, but they know who they will hire.

The one I hate is the project manager who needs to put a budget together for a job, and puts you through a site visit and an estimate, only for a bid they won't give you.

There's a lot of time wasting games. I don't mind educating and give support and advice, and selling myself and my work. But you would think musicians would say thanks, only about half do that.

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2017 7:24:04
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

Get a real job. Guitarmaking is not worth it anymore. Its a cool hobby though.

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Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2017 7:36:46
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

Hey pal, I'm working this side of the street, you go whore it up on the opposite corner ok?

What are you doing building boats?

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https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2017 11:01:58
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

Building boats was another great hobby of mine

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Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2017 16:06:21
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

Cultures are increasingly losing sense of mutuality and reciprocity.
People growing up in ever smaller and loose sociology, experience interaction as suitable one-way endeavors.

In a trendy spot in Europe I would be seeing social concerns as merely emulated playrol among fashionable youngsters. Apparently picked up from movies.

And the average condition isn´t there yet.
Over here people who dialed wrong number say: "Hello?" then commonly drop the phone. They make hell of a noise while someone tries to talk on the phone. They sit on stranger´s cars or cough into vis-à-vis face, are on first name with stranger elderly etc., not knowing the basic standard of behavior anymore.
Surrounding to local majority being just a shelf to pick from.

Thelike custom will be crawling over the planet, while relevance of culture is not being understood anymore.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2017 16:28:22
 
Arash

Posts: 4409
Joined: Aug. 9 2006
From: Iran (living in Germany)

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

here is one of the things I learned in my years doing all sorts of business:

don't give anyone the impression that you have too much time for them and don't give the impression that you need orders. often times this happens unconciously but can have negative impact on decisions of potential buyers (and even their behaviour). even though it should be the other way around and customers should appreciate the extra time and attention and all that, they don't. Don't get me wrong, one should be friendly and answer questions and all...but keep it short.

Customers often time go after sellers who treat them as if order books are full and THEY (the customers) must offer something and feel lucky to be placed "in the list" or be "accepted" as customers or something. It sounds all weird and wrong but thats how it is.

Now in the world of flamenco guitars, that might be not that extreme, but the psychology and dynamics is the same, everywhere.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2017 21:04:32
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1488
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to Arash

I appreciate your insight, Arash. It helps explain why certain builders have long waiting lists despite their guitars being no better than many of ours.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2017 21:11:25
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

The minimum attention works, I do that too, because I am super busy. But when they ask a lot of specific questions about scale etc that need to be answered you have to send the time. The difference between selling a normal product and selling guitars is that you're personally invested in explaining them. I can't remember everyone I've ever sold a guitar to, but they range from emailing you every other day to make a change to putting a deposit in and paying at shipment, and you never talk. Most customers need to talk a few times and then they settle in to wait.

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https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2017 23:00:54
 
jalalkun

Posts: 276
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

You probably get a couple of questions asked very frequently. Have you ever thought of an FAQ that you publish on your website? You could combine it with something like "Before sending an e-mail with questions, see if the FAQ does answer them". This way the askers and goers can read the FAQ and have their way and if they do get interested, they might order right away. It would be a one-time investment for you and hopefully you won't get so many ghosts eating up your work time.

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My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2017 7:28:21
 
Echi

 

Posts: 939
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

In advance I have to agree with Arash; I must admit also that my records show that I’m a better buyer than seller. Probably I’m not a good seller at all.
Nonetheless I have bought/sold really a lot of guitars for other people and if I had the money I’d be a compulsive buyer of flamenco guitars myself as well.
The first observation is that there are a lot of flamenco guitars out there in the second hand market and a lot of makers, while you have not that many flamenco guitar players.
The second note is that a lot of people are not able to discern when a guitar is really a good guitar.
The third observation is that it’s hard to find a good source of information and a good place where to buy. I met the main dealers working in this market and have a very negative opinion.

In this scenario, the main problem is to make appear your guitar cool and desirerable for a potential buyer.
Given that your product is sought after enough in the market, you can make a nice pdf with the main infos etc.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2017 8:53:42
 
Tom Blackshear

 

Posts: 2253
Joined: Apr. 15 2008
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to constructordeguitarras

quote:

I appreciate your insight, Arash. It helps explain why certain builders have long waiting lists despite their guitars being no better than many of ours.


Man! isn't that the truth. But I have the perfect way to sell my guitars now and still be guitar poor without having one to play on. Retail, wholesale, and jobber pricing but I have never had to bother with jobber price, usually wholesale on occasion.

So, to me, the beat goes on to where I can still enjoy the building process and stay liquid without having to bite the bullet that much.

I don't consider this way to be demeaning for what I do but just a way to do business. That's the reason I offer whole sale to this list, but keep it retail on my website.

The more active builders have gone past my retail listed so I feel this is a cultural anomaly rather than whose the best builder. Everyone still has the chance to earn a living. It's a matter of getting guitars out in the public for consideration, and discovering many ways to advertise.

I can't give guitars away but there is value in giving a discount to players who would be kind enough to promote your art.

_____________________________

Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2017 9:06:00
 
Mark2

Posts: 1643
Joined: Jul. 12 2004
From: San Francisco

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

I've been there as well. I can remember being 25 years old in a conference room with competitors for a pre bid meeting for a large job, knowing I had zero chance. And over the years I was denied jobs right and left. Being denied even if I was low bid. But at some point the tables turned, and I started being offered the low price by suppliers, and customers started showing me they preferred giving the contract to my company, often saying my quote was higher, but they liked or trusted me more. I think it comes down to experience, and to an extent age. Now I'm 59 years old, and I'm the guy looking at the young competitor, knowing he has zero chance. And I realize that in ten years, I'll be the guy who won't get the job because I'll be considered too old. A forty or fifty year old will look more.....capable. I still have tire kickers, including people who come to my showroom, take pictures of the labels of the products, likely to try to purchase them on the net for less. All part of the game. I curse those sorry mf'ers and move on.





quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

Yeah I've been in that situation. Especially with school contracts, they gave to assemble five or six bids, but they know who they will hire.

The one I hate is the project manager who needs to put a budget together for a job, and puts you through a site visit and an estimate, only for a bid they won't give you.

There's a lot of time wasting games. I don't mind educating and give support and advice, and selling myself and my work. But you would think musicians would say thanks, only about half do that.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2017 16:21:07
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12994
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

The last couple years I have been dealing with this online gig site thing, Gigsalad, GigMasters etc....where I went from networking and keeping the bar pretty high to competing for sh1t gigs with everybody from amature students to my actual band members unknowingly. It has allowed the clients to "go shopping" and pulling prices way down etc. Through the grape vine i have seen sh1tty gigs make the rounds and end up getting done by the most low level student dancer to recorded music or worse, for prices not much lower than what the best of us would have charged.

One time I was negotiating a gig for myself and a partner of mine, it didn't pan out but I got no notice until another colleague asked me to sub out to play with the guy that I was gonna higher anyway for the same job but at $50 less! Ha ha!!! It's been super frustrating to the point where I now just turn down 99% of all offers (from those sites) on principle. . I figure if people want to play that pricing game then they get the crap they deserve F em.

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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2017 23:16:30
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

Good things are not cheap and cheap things are not good.

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\m/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2017 0:42:37
 
tele

Posts: 1452
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

That is a horrible thing going around the internet which all sorts of sellers have to endure. It's really annoying but inevitable if you're selling something. I've had it countless of times and all I can do is to keep answers short or minimize customer service.
That's the problem, you never know with whom you're dealing. In person it's easy to see who's serious.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2017 13:07:16
 
rombsix

Posts: 7575
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

Keep all the options open. That's one thing I've learned. I still struggle with this approach, but it helps me a lot. One possibility is that the person is rude. Another possibility is that the person wanted to reply but something happened to prevent them from doing so, then they forgot or were unable to get to it. Cheers!

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Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2017 16:36:51
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

Posts: 1352
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

I've had this happen on eBay and elsewhere. You have to maintain a positive outlook and keep plugging away. Also, limit the amount of time dedicated to customer service before a sale takes place. It's too bad because I know the luthiers on this site are artists in their own right and not necessarily salesmen or businessmen.

As if the world wasn't already competitive enough along came the internet to help buyers and sellers from any location communicate with each other in real time. This has just devastated the traditional retail environment. I saw this article recently:

"NYC’s Music Row Is Officially Dead"https://www.stereogum.com/1820788/nycs-music-row-is-officially-dead/news/

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 19 2017 20:00:38
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

There was a documentary about amazon (amazing how it can creep into your life. Some families have been put under Amazon deprivation for an experiment. And to them it was like cold turkey), and besides how retailers are going bankrupt under its competition. Which seems to be concerning all the stores who have shown too inflexible for to react correspondingly.
Others who would have had a decline of turnover around ~ 5-20% or so p.a. went into a parellel of online sales and are seeing turnover increase of around 5-20% p.a. or so.

The online dealing makes for additional time investment, with some small store owners after closing shop having to schlep parcels to the post office and to sit until midnight for to update their online offering, but it comes with a growing instead of a going down business.

Behind the computers are sitting people and clients. Some are just tire kickers and uncivilized AHs, others are clients.
I know that I have quite pestered a luthier with special requests (which he understood, while doing what he could to make features come true) and a lengthy correspondence (albeit sensing a kind of connection and pal being at that, to this day), but ordered a guitar too.

The procedure with ordering such a special thing like a guitar of individual demand actually being close to what would be occurring if I lived next door and had visited his shop several times talking about details. Only that conversation is being held per typing, which naturally is more time and energy consuming.
The latter could meanwhile be reduced by use of an app like telegram though, where sound files of conversation can be exchanged (-and listened to anytime that fits you best), which is much less consuming than typing.
The internet mustn´t be enhanced competition, anonymous misuse and suppliers nightmare only. It can as well be a business accelerator and marketing tool.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2017 5:14:14
 
Stephen Eden

 

Posts: 894
Joined: Apr. 12 2008
From: UK

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

Sure it can get a bit frustrating but that's part and part of running your own business. I get a bit weirded out when I get an order from a couple of short emails! If an inquiry comes in via email I expect to put in some hours regardless of the the out come.

It can also be a bit embarrassing for the inquirer to take up a lot of your time to then not order so from that point of view I think I would shy away from getting in touch too.

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Classical and Flamenco Guitars www.EdenGuitars.co.uk
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2017 9:37:29
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1616
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

I think this works visa versa too.

If You have a long corespondent about a product, you built up a relationship with the maker. The buyer will give you more benefit for now, AND in the future.

It is called the “goodwill factor”

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2017 9:57:13
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

With respect to the idea that if you make yourself more aloof in business that you will attract more customers, for instrument makers this is not true at all. Every good maker I know, and many I don't know in person, but have corresponded with, spend great amounts of time communicating with ongoing customers, other makers, and potential customers.

In the early 1990's a guy named Jim Furey taught me how to hair violin bows. He was Rolland Fellers shop partner at Feller violins in San Francisco. The first day in the shop he said you have to work to educate customers, they don't deserve to be left in the dark, that mysterious stuff some makers pull is annoying. He said learn to explain what you're doing, tell them as much as they want to know about the process. It's reciprocal too, you have to listen to the musician. He was right.

I know a couple top makers in the violin world, they have lifetime closed waiting lists, they are also engaged almost everyday in lots of emailing. It's just become part of the job now. I think makers would rather hear something like thanks for the valuable input, now I'm going to think carefully. All I'm saying is, use makers as a resource, just don't drop conversations without saying thanks for the information.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2017 12:02:11
 
Piwin

Posts: 3298
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to estebanana

That's definitely worked on me as a customer. The luthier I usually go to now, I went in for some repair (light-built guitar and the neck needed some reinforcement, was starting to fall inwards) and he invited me to stick around and watch while he got started, explaining what he had to do. I wasn't insisting on anything. He just proposed either because of smart salesmanship or because he's passionate about sharing his knowledge. It made an impression.

He's a good 4h drive from where I live now, but if it's nothing urgent and I can make a short vacation out of it, I make a point of going to see him. I haven't been fortunate enough these last years to have the money to commission a guitar, but I think it's still paid off for him to waste his time talking to me. He's made a few bucks from the repair work or from purchasing accessories that he sells but more importantly I know at least three guitarists who either commissioned a guitar from him or bought one from his inventory upon my referral (two of them were friends from abroad who were more on the beginner end of learning flamenco and I accompanied them directly to his shop to help translate and give them a few pointers on what to look for). So maybe that's one way to look at it? Maybe the guy you wasted time emailing to won't come through, but you never know what other business he might drive your way.

_____________________________

"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2017 14:40:18
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: Customer Ghosting - impolite (in reply to Piwin

I recently sent an expensive guitar to one of our customers to try out. After a week I hadn't heard from him and was getting a little concerned that he might be ripping us off (since he was a previous customer I trusted him and didn't require any payment). He finally contacted us and said the guitar was not what he wanted but was embarrassed to tell us and shipped the guitar back with some money to offset the nuisance of the transaction. He also said that we would be doing business in the future. The guitar was a classic with low action which was the leftover of two built for another professional player's selection. I'm legally retired and don't need to sell guitars to keep myself alive so I'm willing to go to extremes for our customers who I value enormously. I've never felt like anyone was taking advantage of us and am constantly surprised at how polite and courteous the people who contact us are. I've been cheated and ignored several times by vendors but never a customer. Perhaps I'm just lucky.

_____________________________

John Shelton - www.sheltonfarrettaguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 20 2017 22:51:47
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