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No Good deed unpunished-fixed a customers' complaint

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Sno4U, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Ok so I get an e-mail from a client questioning a "service fee" on 1 salting service from last month.
    Now to give you a "heads up" on this client they've been kind of a PITA client this year questioning every little thing on their invoice-making it out like I'm screwing them, when actually they have an older locked in, written contract. 1 that was written long before we had the salt crisis. So, they're getting a pretty good deal to begin with!
    It states in their contract that if we come and salt only there will be a service fee.
    So this client is questioning the service fee. Yes he's rite we did charge him $5 too much for the service fee, but, guess what, thats the 1st time this whole year that they where charged that fee. "I'm sorry, our mistake-oh and BTW we looked back to last months invoice and have discovered that you owe us for 5 additional S/F's from last month. Here's your new revised invoice".
    Dang people, ya try to be nice and when ya have to charge a fee to cover expenses they bi87%!
    I'm sure glad he brought this to my attention.payup
  2. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    Every year I weed out the troublemakers or raise the price for the aggravation theyll cause
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    But from the customer's perspective, you did overcharge him. How is he suppose to know the "good deal" he's getting? And how was he supposed to know that you missed FIVE service fees from the month before? How did you possibly miss five? You're ready to get rid of a client over five dollars there was actually your fault?

    Would you bring it to someone's attention if you was over-charged five dollars in the restaurant?
  4. show-n-go

    show-n-go Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    agreed.... when in doubt take a step back and look at it from the other side
  5. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Thats what I like about this site... it always offers a "other side of the coin perspective".
    It would probably be like me going to a restraunt getting a good size bill (b/c we had 4 people) and bitching about the cost NOT realizing the waitress forgot to bill the drinks ! I shouldn't be so hard on him, he was after all only questioning a fee which he later admitted he simply forgot about. The other part is its MY fault those fees got overlooked and I shouldn't blame anyone else. He e-mailed me w/ his question so i can't gather an attitude on how he phrased the question to begin with.
    ...just having a bad day that day... I hate going to the dentist 1st thing in the morning:mad::mad:
  6. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    Most likely, but who mentions it when they are undercharged? Nobody. Didn't hear the guy ponying up extra money when he was undercharged I bet.

    I am sure he thinks you are a moron cause you didn't bill him for the other 5 times and figures anything he can do to save another $5 on your back breaking is well worth it.

    Hope your teeth feel better! :drinkup:
  7. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    Here's how I see it. If you give a customer a break you must line item it. Otherwise they think you are never going to charge or are too poor at keeping your records straight. Either way they wont every give you the extra they owe, but if you line item it with $0.00 than they get to see what you are doing, now you cant do this often, and must put an additional comment on it like Thanks for the business, but it will help. I ran into your problem years ago. I would freebie certain things to "good" people and not ever mention them. Than one day you get a call asking why they have a service fee for something you have "always" ( 1 time ) done, or why you didnt bring the garbage cans up to the garage, etc. I now on occasion do give out a few easy freebies, but I make sure to point them out very well. I have never been "paid" for them, but I have increased customer satisfaction, reduced these calls, and have increased the amount of christmas cards I get. In the end it all evens out.

    Freebies also cant be main service items that are your bread and butter. They are more like little extras that dont impact your bottom line. Maybe you are in the neighbor hood and a mailbox is plowed in, you have to pass by it anyways and the client has given you thousands over the years. You slow down to a crawl drop the blade and keep going. You never have to stop. Make sure you line item it, even if you dont charge them. You cant however drive 10 miles out of the way, drop 2 bags of salt and not charge a service fee. Maybe time and materials if it is more fair, but no freebie there.

    I believe in being fair to the customers, but I believe in being fair to myself first. People will walk all over you if you let them. You arent a charity are you?
  8. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,885

    This has happened a few times with our billing too lol. A couple clients bitched about their final bill or how many times we serviced their lawn for their snow removal... then i backtrack all records "to dig up the correct info" for their total billing history, and find we didnt receive a payment or something.

    One guy in 07, refused to pay the sales tax in his last payment on the whole seasonal lawn contract of like 1k lol. He then refused to pay for an aeration and fall fert service.. so i dropped the two off, but not before realizing that because he underpaid a few times, "not the required a mount", that instead of him PAYING say $450 for all of these services he then claimed he didnt want, he now owed us $479 after removing over $200 in services rendered lol.

    He was so pissed he said to stop contacting him, we went to court, won the amount, and the jackass never paid. The judge laughed at the "note" the client mailed into the court stating he did not want to pay the other amounts lol.