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Problem Customers

Karin | Posted in The Archives on

Where do you draw the line with a problem customer? I have been sewing for public for many years and this is the first time I have ever had a problem customer. She picked up her wool crepe suit a week ago and then took it into her work for all her colleages to scrutinise with a fine tooth comb and then brought it back wanting changes and so-called corrections. She even brought someone from her work to speak for her! I’m a bit sceptical because some of the terminolgy she used only a dressmaker would understand. I have fixed any of her “problems” but how do you tell them this is it! And how do you give a customer the flick politely? 🙂


  1. Ginna | | #1

    Karin - At this point I would put all the changes requested in writing and have the customer sign it. Specify in this document that there will be charges for any further changes. If you haven't used contracts/agreements in the past it might be wise to start doing so now. You might jot down some of the things that should be included - # of fittings, # of corrections after completion, who pays for fabric, what happens if there is not enough fabric, etc. - and then have an attorney actually write it up. He might be able to draw up a form that has boxes that can be checked or filled in. Having a legal document protects you and your customer.

    1. Enid_Shparo | | #2

      *I don't know, drawing up a contract might scare people away. If you can afford to, I'd just offer to give her her money back. Interesting to see if she'll take it. I bet not.

      1. Bill_Stewart | | #3

        *From practical experience you have come upon a customer you will never satisfy, come what may. This time and only this time, cheerfully make the changes to satisfy her. When she calls again, be conveniently busy, too much to do right now,etc. Just remember that her word of mouth advertising can do more harm than you can repair and you can't fight such a person and win. Make her happy this once, and then forget her. You don't need her kind of business.

        1. Karin | | #4

          *Thanks Bill for the advice and that's exactly what I did do. I made sure she was happy as Larry and off she went. I actually told her I completed the alterations and I basically re-pressed it and she was happy then. I will be extremely busy if she calls again but one problem I have now is when she paid me for the suit in the first place she gave me an extra $15 deposit on her next suit! So how do I send this back to her? My friend who is a dressmaker says I should hangon to it until she calls again and then say, "sorry Miss ** but I'm extremly busy till *date* and I will pop your $15 in the mail." Would this be polite enough do you think? Or should I send it off to her anyway?

          1. Vida | | #5

            *Karin, I have been using contracts for the last ten years. It gives you credibility as a professional. I get the client's signature on the contract, which specifies job description, payment schedule, start and finish dates, etc. After the contract signature line is another paragraph which is an acceptance, where the customer accepts the work as done, and acknowledges that any further work will be further expense, then there is another line for a signature which goes on when the customer picks up. This makes it very clear that we are FINISHED. Don't be afraid of a contract. It will protect you and your customer

          2. Bill_Stewart | | #6

            *Karin, I'd drop her a note and a check for the $15.00 and tell her you wanted to return the deposit as it makes for SOOOO ! ! ! much book work to try to keep up with prpaid deposits and then be sure credit is applied properly. Be polite and include the usual hope you enjoy the suit, hope to see you later, etc. BUT keep her firmly in mind to be too busy should she call again. Remember, sugar works better than vinegar. Lots of luck. Bill

          3. Rita_Sue_Rouse | | #7

            *Karin,I have had my share of problem customers and what Bill said about fixing and forget her is right. This is your advertisment she is wearing and your name is out there for everyone to see. Believe you me she could have done you more damage then you would have imagined. I use a contract and also have them sign before and when they pick up the garment. Also when I have had a problem with them before I just up my price about $20. more an hour and then if they want the work done. I do it and smile all the way to the bank. I am a no nonsense kind of person anyway and I can give the flick to someone without them knowing they have been rolled and flicked. So good luck. Get a contract wrote up that is binding for the customer but leaves you free. I also put in my contract that for some reason I can't do the work I can and will contract it out and guarantee the service.Rita Sue

          4. Karin_Dalton-Smith | | #8

            *Thanks Rita, I did fix do any adjustments this client wanted and I gave her a refund of her deposit and said I was extremely busy with many projects at this time of the year. Since this happened I did get a contract drawn up and have been using ever since. Thankyou to everyone with their invaluable advice. Karin

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