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Topic Options
#1893287 - 05/08/12 02:43 AM Customers?
Bill12349876 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 4
Customers, who can figure them out? It's not just the economy. They're really starting to [censored] me off. They've taken a job I love and have almost made me want to quit. What I'm talking about are Call-Backs. I do it every year and I've been doing this now for 13 years. A kindly reminder for them that it's time to tune the piano. Some of these people hide from me (with caller id) after already asking that I call them back later. They'd rather waste my time than just say no. Then there are the "but It's never played" excuses. They do understand it's a stringed instrument but just play stupid. Alright then, wait till you feel like playing it and it's going to be out of tune! It's called maintenance. It doesn't matter. They know better. I'm just trying to stuff my pockets with their money right. These people should be calling me for Pete sakes. I'm not begging for work. I'm doing a nice thing by reminding them! However my services are not so much in demand that I can survive without calling these people back every year. In the meantime I lose customers every year and gain new ones. They die, move away, decide they don't like me? I don't know but I'm just plain sick and tired of some of these customers who will spend hundreds of dollars in tunings and pitch raises to get the old neglected gal back to pitch and then decide to just leave it next year with one of many lame excuses. You know, if you can't afford to tune it then you shouldn't own it. It's not there to just look at. It's a musical instrument first and then it's a piece of furniture.

This is my first post. I had to let this out to someone who may understand and can give me a thumbs up. Is it the economy or just because I live in Ho-dunk "dog-patch" Northern CA.

I've also come to realize customers with money can be the very worst customers of all.

I'm afraid times have changed. There isn't much respect left for piano tuners.

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#1893290 - 05/08/12 02:59 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21420
Loc: Oakland
Your customers do not have an obligation to get their pianos tuned, or any other work done on their pianos. The best you can do is remind them and hope for the best.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1893301 - 05/08/12 03:40 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Weiyan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/11
Posts: 769
Loc: Hong Kong
Quote:
I've also come to realize customers with money can be the very worst customers of all.


Thumbs up!
have same experience. The first strings with rust I tune is in very prestige area, the house is large enough to riding bikes. The piano I tuned is a very small furniture grade honkey tong sounding piano.
_________________________
Fake Book player
Ragtime beginner
http://weiyanwo.wordpress.com

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#1893326 - 05/08/12 05:34 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
With all the alternate means of communication, is the telephone becoming an intrusion into our lives? Who wants to be a slave to the ringing of their telephone?

Since I am severely cutting back on my private clients, I have been getting far too many messages on my answering system to deal with in less than an hour. Anybody who knows me well will text me. This is far less intrusive. Most of my outside appointments are done entirely by text these days. It provides as permanent a message as you wish, containing addresses, etc. Pencil and paper are not necessary any more. The few appointments I make by phone I ask them to text me the details and some of the older ones have their children do this.
2-3 Brief texts takes less time than a phone call and I get my freedom back.

Yor basic attitude to your customers just has to be showing through at some level in all your other interactions with them.

The ball is always firmly in my customers court. All my life, my last words after every tuning has been 'call me when you're good 'n' ready. What do I care if it's 6 weeks or 6 years? Basically, it's none of my business. I've always had more work than I need. I rarely book anything more than a week in advance, it destroys my freedom and flexibility. I can do this and be just as businesslike as anybody else plus I also have a life and I don't bother my clients.

I have always refused to do the reminder thing. There are plenty of other tuners who will do that. Some tuners like to be solidly booked months into the future. I embody the other extreme.

You might just be a better tuner than you think and your work is remaining tolerable to your customers for a long time. Even a mammoth pitch raise, done well, can remain tolerable for years.
The old fashioned postcard is still useful if you must.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1893351 - 05/08/12 07:10 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4916
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Bill:

Welcome aboard, you and your baggage! smile

I think you are focusing on the pianos and not the customers. It's easy to do, but is bad business.

Just offer your services and then let it go.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1893353 - 05/08/12 07:29 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
1. Berating your customers on a public forum (they have the internet too, you know!) is probably not the best way to improve your situation.

2. What Jeff said. I NEVER use the phone to remind customers. EVER. When you get down to it, that kind of communication is solicitation, and telephones + solicitation have a very negative perception in the 21st century. The ONLY time I call a customer is when they have left me a voicemail and asked me to return their call, or to call them the day before a tuning to remind them of it.

I use reminder postcards and get between a 40-50% return rate, which I think is good. I send them out in six month intervals. Sometimes a customer gets 3-4 postcards and then calls (that's 2 years or so later). The postcard serves to keep your name in front of them on their fridge if they're interested, and when they ARE ready to reschedule, they think of the person who sent them a card they still have, not the person who interrupted their dinner like other telemarketers do.

Anyway, my .02....

PS...online scheduling is your friend. Customers love it and so will you once you stop spending hours on the phone.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1893412 - 05/08/12 09:32 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Loren D]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 621
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
I use reminder postcards and get between a 40-50% return rate


Loren,

Do you use a pre-printed source for your reminder postcards, or do you make 'em up yourself?

If they are pre-printed, where do you get them.

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#1893414 - 05/08/12 09:37 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Loren got me started with online scheduling, literally, they go to my website and his, and can schedule an appointment with us from there. We both love it. HUGE time saver!!! Try it once... My college uses that A LOT!

What I have found and is a pet peeve of mine, is that people are little by little eliminating their land lines. Frankly, I think it's kind of dumb to do that only, I repeat, ONLY because I can't STAND IT when someone calls me on their cell phone when they have poor service and the line gets dropped. Or, I can't hear them because of all of the blank spots where their voice and mine, get dropped again, because of crappy service, and they can't schedule anyway, because they are driving.... I'd rather they call me at home on a line where we can both hear one another, after all, that is what I do and it still works smile and it IS cheaper than a CP bill too. smile

_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1893418 - 05/08/12 09:44 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4916
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Now I am not saying that we shouldn't give reminders, just that they should be only reminders, not expectations and certainly not demands.

Myself, I do not think it is my business to know a customer's mailing address. Many have box numbers, rather than street addresses. Heck, many don't have street addresses!

Anyway, fwiw, if the customer mentions they have trouble remembering when to have their piano tuned, I offer to give them a call when it is time, with no obligation, of course.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1893422 - 05/08/12 09:47 AM Re: Customers? [Re: jim ialeggio]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Loren D
I use reminder postcards and get between a 40-50% return rate


Loren,

Do you use a pre-printed source for your reminder postcards, or do you make 'em up yourself?

If they are pre-printed, where do you get them.

Jim Ialeggio


I use Vistaprint or Postcardbuilder.com. Both are good, but Vistaprint has the edge. Design online and then upload an Excel list of your customers and they take it from there. They verify the addresses with USPS and reject those that ate undeliverable, add the zip+4 and barcode, print the postage and mail them. Quick, effective, and very professional looking.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1893465 - 05/08/12 11:28 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Loren D]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 621
Loc: shirley, MA
Thanks Loren
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#1893483 - 05/08/12 12:05 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Bill12349876 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 4
Thank-You all who responded for letting me vent. You all had interesting and insightful input however, I'm not a telemarketer I'm the piano tuner. If these people find me intrusive by calling them they need to get some backbone. Don't tell me to call back and then ignore me. Don't give me the "no one's playing the piano" excuse and then play dumb because I've already explained it to them in detail the last time I tuned it. All new customers get the opportunity to hear my rendition of "Pianos 101" but I might as well be trying to explain Jesus Christ and the Rapture for all the good it's done.

I am guilty of paying more attention to the piano than the customer. I take it personally here in "Ho-Dunk". The only culture here is a shinny raised 4X4 with a dog running loose or chained in the back and I'm not exaggerating. I think I live in the Meth capitol of California. The by-products are effecting both the well and tap water. I only drink bottled water here.

I'm still venting but will stop now. Again thank you for your input as I found it insightful. I just need to let go and not take it so personal. People are people and there's just no culture here.

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#1893489 - 05/08/12 12:20 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Eric Gloo Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1235
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Bill12349876, take a step back and read your posts here as if you were someone looking for a piano technician. You have insulted all your customers AND the area in which you live and work. There is no way I would contact you to work on my piano after reading all of this. Hopefully, you don't talk or act this way with your customers.
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#1893529 - 05/08/12 01:35 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4916
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Bill:

My county used to be the meth capitol of the USA, but any water problems are probably related to fracking. I have a dog, but my pick-up is not shiny. frown (I just patched it up with aluminum flashing and bondo for inspection.) And I would have to say that the underlying culture is based on our Lord and His return.

But what about you, Bill? Do you think the problem is really where you live? There is an adage that you take your problems with you. I would suggest moving to a place with some "culture" (whatever that really is...) but I think you would have the same problem wherever you go.

I guess I'll just spit it out. Bill, you do not respect the prerogatives of your customers to do whatever they choose with THEIR piano and THEIR resources. You are being arrogant.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1893564 - 05/08/12 02:53 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Bill12349876 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 4
Guilty on all charges however I do have good relationships with my loyal customers and I don't talk shop with them. My problem is with the hit and miss customers and trying to retain re-Pete business with them. These are people who picked up a free piano on "Craigslist" or inherited one from Grandma.

Usually Grandma's piano can be resurrected far more often than a free craigslist piano can. Usually Grandma is the one who ends up with the bill. After that who knows. It becomes just another dusty piece of furniture after that.

I think I just may have the 13-year itch. Don't know for sure if there is such a thing. I've done a few different things in life but, they never brought me the satisfaction piano tuning does. I do take it personally when I see yet another worn out neglected piano. Aside from spinets, a good console, grand or full upright should last a lifetime if properly maintained.

I'm feeling better now. I've had a chance to vent. I also see I need to stop taking this personally. They obviously know more than I do about the piano and.....if they feel it's o.k. to tune it whenever I should just go with that. Try putting your car in the garage for 5-years and see what happens. It's really not worth my health getting so upset. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink right?

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#1893644 - 05/08/12 05:28 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
That Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/11
Posts: 399
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Bill,

Sounds like you're gaining a better perspective. My philosopy is customer first, piano second. The customer calls you back not the piano. wink

Hey, you could be living in an area where the expectations are so high that your work would always be under a microscope. In Lincoln, NE, where I live, there is a real mix. It's a university town and also the state capitol so there is a lot of high end tuning but there's also a small town rural attitude also. Sometimes it can be hard to deal with. I tend to take things personally too, so I know how you feel. But I'm pretty sure at this point that it's not that people didn't like me or my work, when they don't book another tuning, it's mostly procrastination. I've had customers that didn't call me back (and I send out post card reminders) and then after 10 years decide to get the piano tuned, just when I was ready to write them off and figured they found another piano tuner. Go figure.

The silver lining in all of this is that it motivated you to join this forum! Welcome! I have found a bunch of really great people like Loren, Jerry and others (sorry, I didn't include you all) who have tons of experience and wisdom to share. The cool thing is that they are from all over the world, not just the United States. I hope you stay with us and gain from it and have lots of fun doing it.
_________________________
Scott Kerns
"That Tuning Guy"
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com

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#1893747 - 05/08/12 08:10 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Ryan Hassell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/09
Posts: 455
Loc: Farmington, MO
It's easy to get frustrated sometimes with customers that do not properly maintain their pianos. We eat, live and breathe pianos and know what it takes to keep them in proper working order. Most of our customers however, do not and have more pressing things going on in their lives than piano maintenance. It is up to us not only to educate them, but be patient with them. In the end the decision is theirs. The most important thing is the relationship we develop with our customers.

I am a only a part-time tuner. My full time job is as a choir teacher for a local public school district. I've learned a few "tricks" from the fundraiser representatives that I use. When I finish tuning a piano for a new customer, I tell them my recommendations for how often to tune their piano. I ask them if they would like for me to give them a call when it's time for their next tuning. No one has ever said, "no". To those that "put me off" when I call or tell me "now's not a good time." I calmly and politely ask them when might be a better time for me to call them back... next month, next week, or so on. They will usually give me a date range. I then make a note and move their name in my Google Calendar. If I sense that not working or someone has put me off more than once, I just tell them that I will wait until I hear back from them and make a note of that in my calendar.

I have also found Facebook to be a GREAT tool in contacting my customers. I have a fan page for my business. When I tune for a school, church or other organization I will put a status update like "First Baptist Church of Farmington: Your piano is back in tune and ready for worship!" If it's a Facebook friend, I will post something similar on their wall (where other people can see it.) It's great free advertising. When I get a new customer, I will search for them on FB and send them a friend request. Click on the FB link below to see exactly how I use it.

Hope this gives you some ideas.
_________________________
Ryan G. Hassell
Hassell's Piano Tuning
Farmington, MO
www.hassellspianotuning.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hassells-Piano-Tuning/163155880804
ryanhassell@hotmail.com

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#1893761 - 05/08/12 08:40 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3848
A piano not played is rarely tuned. Music pros, schools, churches, and teachers often wait too long between tunings. Everyone is tight on money. The economy and lack of people moving has not helped. People are stressed (as are you, obviously....) They are trapped in their homes, because they can't sell them. They can't move, unless they walk away from the mortgage and screw up their credit. Laid off people are suddenly underemployed, if they are working at all. Government attempts to help are laden with conditions that disqualify people who did the right thing, financially.

This morning, I recommended regulation and replacement springs on a Baldwin 243 at a church, only to hear the music teacher say "I'm sure they won't pay for that, just now". It's frustrating, but everyone's budget has taken a hit.

Other than a gentle reminder that a tuning is due, there is not much you can do.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1893875 - 05/09/12 12:40 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
As far as I can tell pianos do not suffer that much by not being tuned. Pianos and owners go through many phases during their lives. People get into playing for a while and then they move onto other things only to come back to it months, years or maybe decades later.

Who are we to judge? When people ask me how often they should tune their piano I say: "I don't have a recommendation. I can tell you what the manufacturers say which is at least twice a year. I have clients who have their piano tuned 4 times a year, and I have others who call every few years. Concert pianos may be tuned more than once a week (or day!) Ultimately the client has to decide what works for them, not me."

I am very careful NEVER to make clients feel guilty or neglectful for not calling me sooner. My clients appreciate the lack of pressure.

I take issue with the idea that not tuning your piano will harm it. This is bologna. What harms pianos is improper storage, exposure to humidity/temperature extremes, and just plain use. A piano just sitting in a home is not deteriorating. The car analogy doesn't make sense, because a car really will have serious problems if it sits for years. I tune pianos that have sat unused for decades, and they often tune up fine. It might take a few tunings to stabilize again, but so does a new piano.

I know some professional musicians who don't seem that bothered by an out of tune piano, and I know some amateurs who are very picky. Every person's sensitivity to tuning is different. One is not better than the other.

I also understand that sometimes we just need to vent. After all, there are some days that being a ditch digger seems like a better career than a piano tech. There will always be the occasional client who pushes our buttons. Luckily those days and clients are far and few in between! smile
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1893896 - 05/09/12 01:23 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1948
Loc: Philadelphia area
How about scheduling the regular 6month service call right at the finish of the present service call. Eliminates phone tag especially when you get an e-mail address to send a heads up reminder to a few days in advance.

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#1894275 - 05/09/12 04:30 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I have to disagree with pianos not suffering by not being tuned. My reason being this; what other way is the client to know if something is or has gone wrong with their piano?

For example, let's say that it is way to dry. Sooner or later, we will have loose hammer flanges... Possibly loose hammer heads and more. Now the hammer shifts left or right striking in different locations on the hammer. Then, this happens to yet another and another. In worse case scenarios, hammers will literally be flopping all over the place even striking the neighboring strings and hanging up on its neighboring hammer head.

Or, a center pin slowly moves out. Same thing happens... Hammer flops all over. Now, the piano goes untuned for 15 years or longer afterward. What is happening to the piano all of this time? Unnecessary 'extreme' wear and tear. They have no idea this is going on because the piano is not being tuned.

Consequently, tuning is the only way for the customer to be made aware if anything is not right besides the tuning. smile

Not to mention how badly out of tune the piano will be and the poor kids and everyone else who has to listen to it stay that way and play on it.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1894335 - 05/09/12 06:30 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 443
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
I agree with Jerry on this one. We're used to hearing pianos in tune all the time, but people who get their pianos tuned at whatever interval only hear it in tune after we tune it. Then the tuning starts to wander off but the customer doesn't really notice because the drift is imperceptible from one day to the next. 6 months, or 27 months later, the thing is out of tune but the customer has been going along for the ride and doesn't realize how out of tune it was until we show up and tune it and they have something to compare it to. I always enjoy hearing a customer re-acquaint themselves with a tuned piano!
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#1894339 - 05/09/12 06:34 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
pianotune2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 61
Loc: ks
Some people like me drive a vehicle thats 15 years old has 200,000 miles and runs and drives like new.
Other people buy new vehicles every few years.

I believe to many people in america have forgot that properly maintaining their property is financially in their best interest. However, since every individual has a right to make there own choices, the best we can do is customize our services to each individual. In the end if you have a life long customer or a one time pitch raise and tuning its more money than you would have without that customer.
_________________________
Stewart Moore
Piano Technician North Central and North East Kansas

www.pianotune2.webs.com

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#1894375 - 05/09/12 07:58 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3848
I, too agree with Jerry. Pianos deteriorate with out regular maintenance. That's the big problem with institutional pianos - Everyone claims lack of money to tune, repair, or adjust the piano, and they deteriorate.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1894667 - 05/10/12 09:45 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Thomson Lawrie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 283
Loc: Grimsby ON Canada
I am more in agreement with Ryan on this. I think you need to make the distinction between a valuable instrument and the spinets and 100 year old pianos that may not be worth much more than the price of a tuning. I would also make a distinction between a piano that is being played and one that isn't. If a piano isn't being used it's not advisable to push a client into tuning it on a regular schedule because they may assume that you are more concerned about your income than their own best interests. If it is a valuable instrument then it is in the customers best interests to maintain the tuning to avoid undue strain on the bridges and maintain a balanced tension on the soundboard over time.

Going back to the original post, I think it is always problematic for any business to blame their customers for an unwanted result. An individual customer may be a bad apple but when a lot of them are causing problems for us then it is always something that we are doing or not doing and we need to step back and learn from the situation. As an example, a few years ago I was getting very frustrated because I was getting nuisance calls from piano owners from all over the map, literally from thousands of miles away. It was driving me crazy. My initial reaction was "how can people be so stupid?" if you had a plumbing problem would you a call a plumber in another city, thousands of miles away, to get their opinion? After analyzing the problem it occurred to me that I hadn't communicated the right message on my website so I changed the text, and made it clear that I didn't accept calls from outside my service area. Then I put Paypal buttons on my site for people outside my area who wanted piano information from me. Now if they want to waste my time, they pay for it. It's only $20 so it isn't a money maker but at least I don't feel put upon.

The point is "the times they are a changin", everyone screens their calls nowadays. Telemarketers have have ruined the telephone as a promotional tool. It use to be that there was only one tap drawing from the well of piano tuning customers but now there is text and email and they draw as much water from the well as the phone so now the old tap has less flowing out of it than it used to. Technology is moving really fast. We all need to move with it or someone else will be tuning those pianos. The key to a successful piano tuning and service business isn't in coercing reluctant clients into tuning their piano more often, it's in finding the customers do want to have a tuned piano to play on. They're out there. It may be more difficult in one geographic area than another but your still doing business in the wealthiest country in the world.

If the customers are the problem then that's really bad news because in that case it would be up to them to fix it, but the good news is, they aren't. They're telling you something. They don't like the calls. Time to shift gears.
_________________________
Piano Technician
www.pianotech.ca
Piano tuners make the world a better place, one string at a time.

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#1894678 - 05/10/12 10:10 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Thomson Lawrie]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4916
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Thomson Lawrie
…..

The key to a successful piano tuning and service business isn't in coercing reluctant clients into tuning their piano more often, it's in finding the customers do want to have a tuned piano to play on. They're out there. It may be more difficult in one geographic area than another but your still doing business in the wealthiest country in the world.

…..


I agree. Here’s an anecdote. Just picked up a new customer that had a tuner from the closest city, but would balk at coming 40 miles to tune. They found me by doing an internet search. (I have my name on a couple of free listings, but am not in the yellow pages.) They knew that there must be a local tuner because there were churches and schools with pianos, but they didn’t call and ask them for a referral. Neither did they look on the bulletin board at the grocery store/post office and find my card. (It is the only store for many miles.) They used the internet!

Pianos haven’t changed much, but communication sure has. I am sure I could double my business in a year if I did the website/phone thing, but I don’t want to get swamped. It looks like a busy fall coming up as it is. Myself, I am offering a local service more than building income.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1894731 - 05/10/12 11:43 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Bill12349876 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 4
Wow!! Allot of good advice and interesting ideas. I've been gone but was surprised to find still more input this morning and Thank-You everyone who contributed their opinions.

I'm feeling much better now because of the comments left here for me. I'm afraid I'm old school. I have a cell phone but don't know how to text. I don't like where the world has gone or is going. To much information out there. Technology will be our downfall. In the meantime I need to change gears and learn how to play the game. The only thing I am comfortable in doing is calling someone and it seems they don't like that anymore and I don't like it either but still, after all, I am the piano tuner and it would be nice if they made an exception for me and allot still do. It's just a few who don't but I've been expecting to much from the customer and times are hard everywhere and only getting harder.

I was very frustrated the day I wrote that original post. On the other hand, I have plenty of work this week.....lol

Still......if I had to wait for people to just "call me"....I'd starve.

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#1894780 - 05/10/12 01:19 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Bill,

My dad said to me while he was in his 40's and he repeated that many times as he aged, that if we don't keep up with the latest and greatest we, are the ones that will become set in our ways and fall behind the competition.

Using an excuse if that's what it was intended as; (no offense) I'm old school....Technology will be our downfall or what have you, as an excuse to not learn it (again, if that's the reason for saying it so you don't have to learn it) and to continue doing things the old way, card filing things for example, rather than computerizing it. Booking appointments by writing them into an appointment book rather than scheduling them online, or letting the client go to your website to schedule online from there, well, we will fall further and further behind our competition as they do what the client wants making it as easy as possible for the client to schedule things.

Check out my website for example and see for your self what I have done in the past month. I changed things around considerably.

Dad also meant that we must continually educate ourselves. Keeping up means just that, keeping up in all ways. That was his philosophy and I agree with it. I'm sure others won't but, that's their choice too.

Whether or not we like keeping up or changing with the times matters not at all to our customers or to others that do keep up, and change.

As Jeff said, people use the internet to look things up. I can find what I want on the internet a lot fast than I can by thumbing through a phone book which I never do any longer.

_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1894861 - 05/10/12 04:07 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 786
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Nice updates to your site Jerry. It really looks much better. I see you have an online appointment booking service now. My question is whether this accounts for location? I do my own, just so I can limit driving. Driving has gotten more and more tiresome as I've gotten older. But something like this does look attractive. I would use it if it would at least keep me in the same part of town.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#1894867 - 05/10/12 04:16 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Absolutely true, Jerry! Online scheduling is one of the best things I've ever done, and I hope you're liking it too!

Another thing I do now is accept credit cards. The response for that is overwhelming. Customers want their air miles, Citi points, etc. I go through SquareUp. They give you a free reader for your smartphone. No merchant account, no monthly fees, no minimums, and a reasonable 2.75% swipe fee.


Edited by Loren D (05/10/12 04:17 PM)
Edit Reason: typo!
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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