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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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21271
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: 745
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: 4908
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: 596
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: 4908
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: 596
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 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1226
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: 4908
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: 390
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: 428
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: 3834
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: 2401
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: 1894
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: 438
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: 3834
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: 4908
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: 784
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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#1894875 - 05/10/12 04:28 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

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

No, it does not account for location but so far, I've not encountered any problems with that and if I do, I will just change the appointment or cancel it if is outside of my traveling area with an explanation of course.

I do the majority of scheduling online myself right now. Although, anyone can schedule if they like.

It is a GREAT backup system too. Plus, it remembers everything so the next time I need to make an appointment with "Roy Peters" that is all I need to type in. It will auto remember the rest and fill it in for me. It also sends a confirmation email NOW to the customer for the date, day, and time of our appointment with what we discussed.

24 hours ahead of time, it sends them an email reminder of our appointment the next day. I have asked every single person that I have scheduled or who has scheduled it themselves how they like it. Every single one just ADORES IT! They love it!

Seeing as how I tune so many pianos at Calvin College, it has fast become extremely handy for them and for myself.

People have no idea how much time I spent returning their calls almost every day, or playing phone tag with them and playing email tag with them. Etc. This is a true time saver.

Since I have implemented this new scheduling system, we have virtually, almost, eliminated email contact and most phone calling. But for emergencies.

There are the occasional times where I may have to open up an appointment slot for them when I have a day scheduled off for example and I received an emergency tuning from them; that happened today. But still, it saves me a TON OF TIME making calls, returning calls, and emailing.

Today, they sent me a brief email telling me of the requested date. I opened it up, told them so and then they booked the appointment accordingly and that was that. It auto sends and syncs the scheduling information to my calendar.

On my telephone, I tell people that they can go directly to my website to book the appointment. Many of them do just that.

I chose to list my prices on my website to avoid price shoppers who I am frankly, sick to death of. I haven't had to return price shoppers calls wasting my time since. smile

Loren DiGiorgi (THANK YOU LOREN!) uses it too and is the one who got me started using it. I've only been using mine for about, oh, a month or so??? Maybe 6 weeks? He's been using the same booking system for a lot longer and gets 5-10 appointments a day. He says that makes any additional driving worth it, not having to return so many calls at night.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1894878 - 05/10/12 04:34 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Whoa, I don't think I ever got 10! Easily 5 on some days though.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1894884 - 05/10/12 04:45 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Whoops. Thanks for the correction Loren. I thought wrong! blush

By the Way Roy I have this posted on my website too. "Do I live in your service area?

I service pianos in the following areas of Western Michigan: Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Ottawa counties, and other cities in the surrounding areas. I localize Grand Rapids and its surrounding areas. While these are most common, I encourage you to contact me and discuss tuning, even if you do not see your county, city, or township listed. If you book a tuning and it is not on a day when I'm in your area, I may contact you to reschedule."

That helps to inform them where I do travel.


Edited by Jerry Groot RPT (05/10/12 05:08 PM)
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1894923 - 05/10/12 05:35 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
OK. So this is the same one that Loren posted a while back? I can certainly see the attraction. I'll look at it again. If it had a feature to help with routing, I would be signing up yesterday.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#1895028 - 05/10/12 08:45 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Yes sir, it sure is. smile

I sent them a suggestion about doing something like that for routing. They said they do not have that feature available at the moment and then suggested that I pick certain dates where I travel NW, SE, SW, NE and post those on the site for people to choose from. Yes.... I told him how stupid I thought that idea was. I said "KISS." Keep it simple stupid.... So, hopefully, they will work on it.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1895091 - 05/11/12 12:05 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
It wouldn't have to actually route. The same general direction would be nice.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#1895127 - 05/11/12 03:13 AM Re: Customers? [Re: RoyP]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7185
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: RoyP
It wouldn't have to actually route. The same general direction would be nice.
many of you seem to drive a lot!
Talking of customers, each technician meet his customers type in the long run.
it may depend of the quality of service he provides but not only.

The pairing technician/customer is done automatically and naturally.
I strongly believe that.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1895213 - 05/11/12 08:03 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I drive close to 25,000 miles a year. Some of you probably drive more than that in larger cities. I have a certain distance that I will travel and no further or it is no longer worth the drive out there and I won't drive out 30 miles somewhere for just one tuning. Well, I will, if it fills a hole but, I try not to do that. One tuning is better than no tunings... That makes it 1 hour round trip in which time I could have tuned a 2nd piano. So, routing is important to me too.

Right Roy. Having the capabilities as the owner and payer of the website scheduling program, we should have these abilities to limit travel. I don't have the answer. I do know that I do not want one person scheduling me 29 miles west of my home and the next person scheduling me 29 miles east of my home making it a 60 mile trip the opposite direction again. So far, that's not happened but, like I said, I would change it if it did. Maybe Loren has suggestions for that one?

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

We love to play BF2.

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#1895219 - 05/11/12 08:14 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Well Jer, I look at it this way. I make service calls. The nature of my business is that I drive from piano to piano. Sometimes I do go 30 miles in one direction and 30 miles in another.

I look at it this way:

1. When I'm working, it's all about the customer's convenience. When I'm not working, its all about my convenience. smile So...I go all out when I'm "on the job," and when I'm off the job, the voicemail takes all my calls!

2. I think the added income and business generated by the scheduling system, plus the literal hours of phone time it saves me, outweigh the occasional trips out of my way.

I guess in the end, I'd rather have 1 tuning in the time I could have done two rather than no tunings because I was holding out for two.

That probably won't work for everyone, but I'm content. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1895305 - 05/11/12 11:06 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
thumb Good answer Loren! Thanks!
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1895741 - 05/12/12 12:37 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Do you guys require a credit card number to be entered at the time of booking? I see Genbook offers that option.

This thread prompted me to search for other online appointment scheduling services. There are many. So far, none of them offer routing. I'm still looking. Full Slate is one that will let you set up locations. So, you can set different locations on different days. And, you can accept or decline an appointment before it gets confirmed. What I've thought of doing is once I have an appointment set up in one part of town, then going in to set the location for that day to that area, so that others would be setting appointments around whoever sets the first one. It wouldn't matter where the first one was.

Some services offer two way calendar syncing, others only export. That is one difference. Right now I use Google calendar, which wirelessly syncs with my Blackberry. Contacts also sync. It doesn't integrate the calendar with the contacts, however. So, contact info isn't linked with the appointment. That's one thing I would like. Then, for those who don't pay at the time of service, I have to go back, look at my calendar, and figure out who to bill. I'm looking for something which would integrate this. It would be nice to have a calendar function for appointments which automatically shows who hasn't paid yet. The new version of Quickbooks has some sort of calendar app. But I think it just shows when you have done various accounting tasks. Maybe it will evolve.

Simplifythis looks good. It does all this, with an invoicing function. If I didn't have Quickbooks already, I would probably use it. The thing is that I've already been using Quickbooks for a long time, and use the Intuit Payment Network to invoice people and accept payments. I also have Paypal buttons on my website. But, I have to manually enter info.

Appointments-Plus comes with a Quickbooks plugin. If someone books online and pays, it will import the info to Quickbooks. That's attractive.

Most of the online appointment services do about the same thing. I'm just trying to figure out which might suit my needs best. I'll probably go this direction in some manner.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#1895743 - 05/12/12 12:45 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
I don't capture credit card information at the time of booking. I don't think it's a good business practice. I just let the customer book without requiring anything other than their basic info that I'll need to complete the appointment (address, phone, email, for instance).

Sounds like there are more services now than there were three years ago when I started doing this. At that time, Genbook and Schedulicity were the only two I knew of. The problem with Schedulicity was that (at the time, anyway), you couldn't capture a customer address. It was instead geared toward businesses where the customer travels to the business (tanning salon, etc).

I do think though that it's definitely the way things are going.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1895752 - 05/12/12 01:21 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I don't capture a credit card number either. I don't think many people would book. I know that I wouldn't. I checked out some of the other programs too besides Genbook but Genbook seemed to offer more flexibility and more of what I wanted and the price is excellent too I think.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1895758 - 05/12/12 01:30 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Hey Jerry, did you see the new "Read reviews" button Genbook offers? Go to my site and click the Frequent Questions page to see it in action. Maybe your nephew could add it to your site next time he updates?
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1895762 - 05/12/12 01:38 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I like that Loren! I will have him look into putting that feature into mine too. Thanks for letting me know. I agree with you Lauren about Booking online becoming the latest fad. Many doctors, lawyers, my doctor even, allows me to change my appointment with them online if necessary.

PS I am at the cottage playing with my iPad I should be outside enjoying the weather where I am going next. We had to open the second cottage this weekend. Two weekends ago, we opened the other cottage code is done cleaning it right now I set up here.

We are having a very good time up here. And we'll be getting very very drunk tonight ha ha. My son just walked up behind me and said that but he could be very right. Ha ha


Edited by Jerry Groot RPT (05/12/12 01:42 PM)
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1895774 - 05/12/12 02:23 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
I do like the customer review feature of Genbook. Loren, I was going to ask if it only allowed 5 star reviews? laugh But I scrolled down and found a 4.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#1895811 - 05/12/12 03:51 PM Re: Customers? [Re: RoyP]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: RoyP
I do like the customer review feature of Genbook. Loren, I was going to ask if it only allowed 5 star reviews? laugh But I scrolled down and found a 4.


Haha Roy! Yeah, you found it! smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1896107 - 05/13/12 10:21 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
The new iPad has dictation on it. Meaning all I have to do is speak and it types it for me. That is what I was using yesterday when my son walked up behind me and said something about getting drunk yesterday which we did not do. Just FWI. Smile face. smile

I too, really like the review feature in Genbook. In fact, so far I like everything about Genbook.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1896139 - 05/13/12 11:17 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
Sparky McBiff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1112
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
I don't capture a credit card number either. I don't think many people would book. I know that I wouldn't. I checked out some of the other programs too besides Genbook but Genbook seemed to offer more flexibility and more of what I wanted and the price is excellent too I think.


I'm with Jerry on this one.
As a consumer if one tuner required me to submit CC info just to book an appointment I would simply go with somebody else.
(And this is from somebody who buys things with their credit card online all the time).
These days people are very aware of the inherent risks in posting any such information online.
Some people are somewhat paranoid about putting such information online, especially simply to confirm a booking (even though it won't be charged).
And there are those that will never post their credit card info online at all, ever.
_________________________
Hailun 198







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#1896149 - 05/13/12 12:03 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Sparky McBiff]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Sparky McBiff
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
I don't capture a credit card number either. I don't think many people would book. I know that I wouldn't. I checked out some of the other programs too besides Genbook but Genbook seemed to offer more flexibility and more of what I wanted and the price is excellent too I think.


I'm with Jerry on this one.
As a consumer if one tuner required me to submit CC info just to book an appointment I would simply go with somebody else.
(And this is from somebody who buys things with their credit card online all the time).
These days people are very aware of the inherent risks in posting any such information online.
Some people are somewhat paranoid about putting such information online, especially simply to confirm a booking (even though it won't be charged).
And there are those that will never post their credit card info online at all, ever.


Exactly right! I know I wouldn't enter cc info anywhere just to book an appointment. And like you, I buy stuff online all the time. I just don't see the need to capture cc info just to book an appointment.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1896150 - 05/13/12 12:05 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Another reason I didn't like Schedulicity is, the customer has to create a profile to book an appointment. Again, that would deter me. I'd just go somewhere else. A customer is just wanting to book an appointment, not sign up for anything. I think it's a poor business model to require that.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1896171 - 05/13/12 12:53 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Whether something is a good or bad business practice depends upon your goals, does it not? If your goal is to get as many people as possible to book appointments, then barriers to such are bad. If your goal is to minimize lost income due to driving places and having no one be home, then it's more beneficial to have people enter a CC as an insurance measure. They are more likely to take the time they have booked seriously. Yes, many people would look elsewhere. The email/text reminder feature would probably help prevent no-shows. But I don't believe there is a right or wrong here. Fortunately, this is a business where most customers are great people, and are responsible as far as payment goes. The fact is, however, that using an online service like this you are not pre-screening people on the phone. Anybody can sign up, and you don't know who they are until you get to their home. I wouldn't make people enter CC info unless I started to have problems, but I can see why some businesses would want it. I just wondered what you guys thought.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#1896182 - 05/13/12 01:11 PM Re: Customers? [Re: RoyP]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: RoyP
Whether something is a good or bad business practice depends upon your goals, does it not? If your goal is to get as many people as possible to book appointments, then barriers to such are bad. If your goal is to minimize lost income due to driving places and having no one be home, then it's more beneficial to have people enter a CC as an insurance measure. They are more likely to take the time they have booked seriously. Yes, many people would look elsewhere. The email/text reminder feature would probably help prevent no-shows. But I don't believe there is a right or wrong here. Fortunately, this is a business where most customers are great people, and are responsible as far as payment goes. The fact is, however, that using an online service like this you are not pre-screening people on the phone. Anybody can sign up, and you don't know who they are until you get to their home. I wouldn't make people enter CC info unless I started to have problems, but I can see why some businesses would want it. I just wondered what you guys thought.


Well, I think the only time I would give a credit card for booking something would be if I was reserving a hotel room or rental car. But that's also because in most instances, that's also how the customer is going to pay for the room or car.

But in our business, suppose someone wants to book me and the plan is to pay with cash or check? A credit card doesn't even enter the picture, so what would be the reason of requiring a credit card to book the appointment?

I will say this; I've never had an online-booked customer not be there for the appointment. They get the reminder 24 hours ahead of time. I've had customers have to cancel or reschedule, but that's just part of the territory.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1896185 - 05/13/12 01:12 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
As for pre-screening, often times that means pre-judging. That's not good business practice either, imo.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1896205 - 05/13/12 01:50 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
For me, so far I have only been using Genbook for approximately 6 to 8 weeks. Loren has a lot more experience than I do with Genbook. I have not worried about pre screening in fact, I hadn't even thought about it until now. I do not foresee that as a problem but, like I said, there is always the cancel appointment feature that is available too. No different than cancelling over the phone, right?

The weather up here is awesome!
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2045252 - 03/08/13 08:07 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Hey Jerry. Now that you've been using Genbook for about a year, I wonder what you think.

Thanks!
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#2045266 - 03/08/13 09:15 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Scott Hamlin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 547
I think dentists have the same feelings.
_________________________
http://DulceLabs.com
Sound, Video, Design

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#2045280 - 03/08/13 10:12 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I absolutely love it Roy!!

If I have any trouble with customers that are trying to schedule out further then I'm traveling that week I will simply just call them back and explain the situation to them. It happens rarely. I am finding more and more of my regular clients prefer to use Genbook nowthan ever before because they discovered ths ease ans use of fit..

I can send my customers a reminder message of my choosing asking for removal of all items off from the piano no dishwasher clanking removing or input of dishes and someone. And I do use This feature often. Plus I can change it at will. For the price of $19.95 a month I find it awfully hard to beat. I can't count the number of hours this evening and returning people's phone calls.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2045296 - 03/08/13 10:44 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Sounds good. I'll look into it again. I hired someone to answer my phone. But it's alot more expensive than $20/month. She does a good job, and I have customers often comment how much they like her. Still, I think of doing this. I get alot of people who email, and then I have to forward to her, or send them an email. And people call my home phone instead of the business number. So, I'm still responding to calls and emails quite a bit.

There are quite a few of these services out there now. I'm checking them out. Thanks.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#2045324 - 03/09/13 12:53 AM Re: Customers? [Re: RoyP]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 450
Loc: Oregon Coast
Joining this a little late, maybe....

My little Ranger has just cracked 362,000 miles, for instance.

Ryan! I disagree that pianos left untuned for years are ok...they are not. Our job should be to KEEP pianos in tune, not drag them up to pitch irregularly, and hope they sound good for a while. If the customer won't schedule once a year, I don't keep them in the 'current' file. Pianos that go flat CAN be damaged by the experience; what happens when you are dragging all those kinks and bends around the bridge up and away from the pins to get it in tune? False beats, and crummy sounds, my friend! Properly; we train the strings, balance the load, and then maintain it with minimal tuning input. Pianos like that are a treat to tune, and WANT to go back in place. They literally jump back into place...because that's where the whole load is comfortable and 'proper'. I really do disagree with you on that score..sorry, my friend! Some older tuners, and piano care books, also talk about bridge damage, soundboard stresses, and (gasp!) structural problems from horsing around with the 30,000lbs. at irregular intervals.....but, I can't honestly tell someone their piano may explode if they fail to tune it. I'd like to.......but.....(sigh)

Phones? Well, I always set an estimated 'next' tuning, and I encourage 6-months for pianos actually being played, and once a year for the ones that only get tapped on Sundays by a little old lady when she's feeling good. Minimum once a year, or you are not taking care of your investment is what I say.

Reminder cards? Yup. That's my basic (although email reminders are getting more frequent)method of keeping in contact with the customers. I send a card, and I expect the customer to have the interest to by-golly call me back. I NEVER call and harass the customer to tune their piano. There's a guy out here who gave me a new client this week when he called and said; 'I need to make a car payment. Can I come and tune your piano tomorrow?'. True story.

My wife is my office manager. We like to tell people that it is the perfect arrangement. I get up in the morning, and she tells me where to go and what to do.

Muttering,
'Yes, darling.',
I remain,
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2045352 - 03/09/13 02:31 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 384
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
Accepting credit cards is a big deal and you can get one of those "Square" card readers for your smart phone. The amazing thing about " square" is that the Amex payments go into your bank account on the same day. If you use a hardline like the machine at our store it can take 5 months to show up. Good old Amex ! 2.75% isn't bad unless you sell lots of 80K dollar pianos every day.

Best way to get repeat customers is still word of mouth. I am pretty sure it always will be and the Piano biz has always been a seasonal gig as long as I can remember. March - August are slow months and the rest is wide open.
_________________________
J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce
Member/Sponsor

Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
Through restoration/renovation

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#2045841 - 03/10/13 10:03 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
You have me beat on mileage, Jeff. Those Rangers are good trucks. My PT Cruiser is up to 205k, and still running strong. It's too bad Ford decided to stop building the Ranger. Auto manufacturers have all but abandoned the small truck market. I wish somebody would build a small truck that would get decent mpg. Over time, all the small trucks became bigger. They all advertised "largest payload", "biggest in class", "most power", etc. It got to the point where there wasn't much advantage to buying small. My brother has an older VW truck which has a small diesel engine and gets over 40mpg. That's what I would buy if they still made them.

At any rate, you're lucky you have your wife to do your office work. Mine already has a full time job. One good thing is that we get our health insurance through her work.

I try to schedule an appointment in 6 months when I leave the customers house. I can tell big difference with those pianos. They become stable, and so are easier to tune. Which is good for both me and the customer.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#2045935 - 03/10/13 01:18 PM Re: Customers? [Re: RoyP]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 450
Loc: Oregon Coast
Dear Roy,

One of the reasons I drive that '98 Ranger is the engine/tranny package. A manual 5-speed and a teeny little 4--banger with 2 sparkplugs per cyclinder. I average 27.5mpg in it..and I can get 30mpg traveling light and far. Just enough motor to pull the delivery trailer (...I also sell used pianos). As long as 'Elizabeth' keeps running, I'll keep driving! She's 'Beth' when she's good, and 'Lizzy' when she's bad...which has not been often at all. I just replaced the alternator, and I'm thinking of sending a thank-you card to FORD; "Dear Ford, My alternator failed recently at the end of a 150-mile run from a customer's home. Thank-you so much...it was the original and lasted 361,000 miles." ;>)

Credit cards;
We run 'Quickbooks' for records and recently got a card reader for my Android, at no charge. This lets me take credit cards in the customer home at very reduced rates. Swipe the card, and the customer signs with a finger. Cool. Under 2% rate! The deposit is in the bank in 2-business days...or less. I've heard that other swipe-card outfits take more, and take WEEKS to pay...which would not work for me.

Scheduling;
Take a look at www.pianoscheduler.com
This was created for a technician, by a technician working with a programmer, and has a lot of useful features. I don't use it, but hear good things about it. Maybe it will work for you. As I have an office manager, and someone answering the phone when it rings, I don't feel pressed to change things myself.

As I said before; I try to set a 'next tuning' before leaving the customer home, as a general rule 6-month or once a year, and then send a reminder card when the time comes. We recently started offering a $5.00-discount on the reminder cards; if you call within 2 weeks of getting the card, you save $5.00. This has worked far better than I thought it would (....the wife has good ideas!), and we are training our customers to call when the card gets there...instead of decorating the 'fridge for a month or three. I'm comfortable with the concept of offering a small discount to folks who are taking regular care, at my suggested intervals, of their fine pianos.....Winter spinet or Steinway!

Smiling,
we celebrate 29-yrs. today,
Jeff and Jodi, that is.....
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2045951 - 03/10/13 02:00 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7185
Loc: France
Jeffrey, after some time piano don't get as flat as one believe.

In the end when the soundboard is recnet and lively the pich jump up and down along the year, and we train the piano to be quieter, but after some time the settling works also with seasonal changes which are way less large (some time mean more than 10 years, often)

Then the more they are tuned, the more warm and round tone they have for some time. Unfortunately under good conditions they stay "playable" and +- at pitch, so I train my customer for the benefit they have at large, not only for the tuning, but also for the evening of tone and regulation.
The piano always raise a step or two on the quality scale after a tech visit. Making the customer aware of that is what I do.

I congratulate you for the organisation and the rest wink


Edited by Olek (03/10/13 02:04 PM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2046015 - 03/10/13 03:58 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Olek]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 450
Loc: Oregon Coast
Originally Posted By: Olek
Jeffrey, after some time piano don't get as flat as one believe... but after some time the settling works also with seasonal changes which are way less large (some time mean more than 10 years, often) Unfortunately under good conditions they stay "playable" and +- at pitch, so I train my customer for the benefit they have at large, not only for the tuning, but also for the evening of tone and regulation. The piano always raise a step or two on the quality scale after a tech visit. Making the customer aware of that is what I do.


Dear Olek,

I always appreciate your posts...one of the names I look for when a new thread comes up is your's. ;>)

I have been doing a lot of 'new' piano work in the last 10 years. Largely Yamaha, Kawai, Cable-Nelson, and a dash of Steinway, Mason-Hamlin, and Schimmel. My experience has been that new pianos that receive good dealer-prep and 3 or 4 tunings in the first year become much more pleasurable to tune than those that get minimal service.

I am convinced that early 'training' of the wire, and keeping the tension on the whole piano carefully balanced during the first two years, pays long-term benefits in stability and tone.

I agree that 'unfortunately' staying in tune can lead to customers getting lazy about tunings. And the way to keep them focused is to remind them of the benefits of regular care to the regulation and voicing. It is much easier for us to make fine adjustments and 'tweak' on regular visits...rather than wholesale, sometimes unstable, and major changes at 5 or 6 year intervals!

My approach is like your's. My job is to keep the piano in tune, and let the customer know about the 'little things' that are also done inside the piano. The more you can educate your customer on the value of regular care, the better for both! Years ago a technician offered me the advice you seem to follow; always do more than a tuning. Make the piano better than when you got there, look for ways to improve the sound and playability, and you'll sleep better at night. I agree! Raise the quality a step or two as you say.

I like my customers....they pay my bills.

Sipping,
Costa Rican today,
Ah!
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2046019 - 03/10/13 04:02 PM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
jayr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/07/11
Posts: 74
Loc: Middle Tennessee
I have always maintained that the customer is always right. If a customer wants to call me back because the A doesn't sound right, even though it is in tune I go back and retune it. If it is in a reasonable amount of time there is no charge.
I too use the squareup to accept credit cards and very satisfied with the 2.75% fee.

I have several customers (teachers and churches) who set the next tuning date before I leave. I have not had to call them back because they have always called me the day before to find out if I'm coming for sure, and because I use a client program on my phone, I don't over schedule.
I have several piano teachers that call me and give me people's numbers to call because their student said to let the tuner know they needed their piano tuned.
I will say January and February were very slow months this year, but I believe it is because of the economy and the sequester that had people worried and they were not spending any extra money until things got straightened out.
Most people know they need to have their piano tuned, but they are afraid of how much it is going to cost. If you call them and remind them they might be feel embarassed to have you come tune the piano.
I say let them call you when it is convenient for them. I too send out reminder cards. Don't get a lot of call backs with the cards. I'm wondering if it is worth it for me. Don't know. I'll keep doing ti till I run out of cards and them make a decision.

Jay's Piano Tuning Service
www.jays-piano-tuning.com

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#2046064 - 03/10/13 05:13 PM Re: Customers? [Re: TunerJeff]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7185
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: TunerJeff


Dear Olek,

I always appreciate your posts...one of the names I look for when a new thread comes up is your's. ;>)



I am convinced that early 'training' of the wire, and keeping the tension on the whole piano carefully balanced during the first two years, pays long-term benefits in stability and tone.

I agree that 'unfortunately' staying in tune can lead to customers getting lazy about tunings. And the way to keep them focused is to remind them of the benefits of regular care to the regulation and voicing. It is much easier for us to make fine adjustments and 'tweak' on regular visits...rather than wholesale, sometimes unstable, and major changes at 5 or 6 year intervals!


I like my customers....they pay my bills.

Sipping,
Costa Rican today,
Ah!




Hi Jeff , I am embarrassing (but it is pleasing to read that, thank you wink

Yes I agree if I had to work more on new / very recent instruments (via a dealer for instance) my crusade would be to have more job done the first 2- 3 years, I always explain to a buyer that he have to be ready for that extra work but it pays in the long run.
Indeed it works too much sometime, I know a Steinway D that plays for lessons daily (with advanced students) ,I did not tune if since 1 year now, and the last time I came by for a coffee (the teacher is also a friend) I had to admit that he had to be very nit-picky to decide the piano "needs" a tuning.

But I will remind him to have something done before the tone get harsh, as in that case the wire may suffer (even if the tuning does not seem to change much)

To be honest some years before I really did not believe that such stability could be attained without a lot of tuning, (and it is never granted) , but I was shown how together we can re-conciliate the own consonance of the instrument and the wire/pin stability , and that this was called tuning,it was a real eye opener.

I mention that with a definitive enlightenment from Alfredo Capurso, who analyzed very finely the job;

In the end I believe that even among highly experienced tuners, there is always a little doubt in the end : was the piano really tuned as I was expecting during the tuning ? how much did it slept ?

Even concert tuners are not absolutely certain, of the adequation between the job done and the final result, then they use their knowledge and precedent experiences to be certain of the quality of their job. (some time it make their ego inflate a little wink )

Strangely that is in that aspect that neat and clear explanations on pin setting, unison building and justness(es)gives the last enlightenment (to me , but it worked for other tuners as well, BTW Alfredo will probably give training's and this should be a good opportunity, as he explains the things in a very clear way )

Well, I disgress... What I am sure is that the customers, before , where happy that their pianos wher tuned, and where sometime highly appreciative, while now, even the non musicians seem to realize that their piano (sometime a less than interesting musical instrument) did gain some magic, they where not expecting.

At the first range for that is the good pin setting control, itself allowing for all tone building variations one may wish to realize, then in second certainly the level at which consonance is allowed and how many partials are made active within the octave, the double the 5th and twelve, etc , that makes a "bed" for global musicality and future stability.

Certainly the evening of the wire "solicitation" and the evenness of tension is a big help as well (as someone from Bechstein told me "yes, the amount in regard of BS is important, but what relates to it too, i.e the wire stretch eveness" (and the iH slant eveness, and certainly other parameters)

Well I wonder if our customers are aware of how many people work so their pianos need less tuning wink

Best regards








(while before I was doing as much tuners and "knew" that a note will stay put because of confidence and tone energy recognizing, without having left the note in this exact position
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2046908 - 03/12/13 10:37 AM Re: Customers? [Re: TunerJeff]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1097
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: TunerJeff


I am convinced that early 'training' of the wire, and keeping the tension on the whole piano carefully balanced during the first two years, pays long-term benefits in stability and tone.


Greetings,
I haven't noticed this, but am curious about how it would change the stability and tone? I have tuned instruments that have been neglected for decades, (A 15 year old Baldwin L that had been purchased and never tuned) that,once brought to pitch, seemed the same as others like them.

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#2046922 - 03/12/13 11:06 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7185
Loc: France
it is way easier if it have been done

even 30 years later, you can put back a piano at pitch in a stable manner and then it is noticed that that tuning have been done at some point.

non tuned , even non played pianos, after 10-15 years, are a hassle to bring back to musicality, the soundboard move too much you obtain bends in the speaking lenghts, the bridge roll, it is in the end amasing that pianos could have such "memory" and help the tuner when they are bring back to pitch.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2046938 - 03/12/13 11:36 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Ed Foote]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 450
Loc: Oregon Coast
[quote=Ed Foote Greetings,
I haven't noticed this, but am curious about how it would change the stability and tone? I have tuned instruments that have been neglected for decades, (A 15 year old Baldwin L that had been purchased and never tuned) that,once brought to pitch, seemed the same as others like them.[/quote]

Dear Ed,

While I do have institutional and concert tunings, through the events centers and schools I tune for, my basic business is truly in-home service. On the Oregon Coast I get a fair turnover of people moving in and out as the years are rolling by. So...I see older pianos that have been untuned for years, too. Just tuned a Yamaha G3 that had been ignored for 5 or 6 years, and tuned 'because they moved it'. It tuned up just fine, too.

Pianos that have really been 'let-go' can have issues when you crank the wires 30 or 40-cents up to pitch. Consider the bends in the wires at the bearing points getting dragged off the positions they've been sitting at for years. Those little kinks are now in the upper-capo area, or into the speaking length off the bridge-pins (although some tuners swear that the bridge will 'roll' rather than let the string render through the bridge-pins on older pianos). It can lead to false-beats or crummy termination issues. Sometimes the capo-duplex starts howling, too. Re-seating everything can help, but..of course...better that it never gets that bad!

I do seriously notice when a recently neglected piano, that got plenty of 'early training', is tuned it will practically jump back into place. There is an ease to the tuning, less fighting with the pins, and an 'Ah!' when the unisons slide back together. A totally neglected instrument, that did not get that 'early training' does not reflect that ease and smoothness when you crank it into place. Less stable, and wants another tuning much sooner.

The tone reflects the early care, too. A piano that was well-maintained, regulated, and voiced during the 'early training' tends to be much more willing to return to that state of balance and tone if it gets ngelected for a while. Again; if it lived there a while, in balance and sound, it is more willing to return to it than one that never got the advantage of proper care in the first place. That's all I'm saying, ok?

The stability of 'early training' I am convinced of, too. When you keep the 20-30 tons of string tension (grands especially) in good balance during the early years, you are getting the piano used to the tension properly distributed; the strings, bridges, and soundboard all get used to, and more willing to return to, their 'proper' place. When I see pianos I've been tuning since day 1, from delivery to present day, they are WAY more stable, and need less attention year by year, than pianos that owners only tuned once in the first year. While both pianos may now be tuned once a year, the piano that got good care during the first two years will have drifted less, and be more willing to go back into tune. The 'Ah!' effect shows...in my experience at least!

Yr. mileage may vary,
Sipping the Sumatra Dark,
Ah!
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2047377 - 03/13/13 12:08 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Jeff, we are waiting for your book and video...How To Train Your Piano.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#2047402 - 03/13/13 01:11 AM Re: Customers? [Re: RoyP]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 450
Loc: Oregon Coast
Roy,

Tune, regulate, voice. Rinse and repeat. Whip is optional (..for training the piano-owner to tune regularly!).

Actually, when I got back from the Yamaha Little Red Schoolhouse, I started telling my chapter-mates that it was an intensive course on the 'Care and Feeding of Yamaha pianos'.

But, I am absolutely serious about this, guys. You take care of a piano for the first couple years, and it can be recognized later. I tuned a Baldwin upright last month, which the owner had just inherited from her mom, and it was 'one of those'. It had not been tuned during the last many years of her failing health, and was 15-20 cents flat, but it just jumped back to pitch, the unisons were easy to finish, and it just 'felt' right. As I tuned through the midrange I turned to the owner and said; 'This piano is tuning very nicely!'. And she said that her Mom was a piano teacher and always tuned it 3 or 4 times a year when she was younger. It matters, guys!

Probably had that experience on my mind when I answered that post up above here....

Scratching,
my head, that is,
I remain,
Convinced,
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2047502 - 03/13/13 07:59 AM Re: Customers? [Re: TunerJeff]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3834
Originally Posted By: TunerJeff


You take care of a piano for the first couple years, and it can be recognized later. It matters, guys!



This is absolutely true. I've been able to verify it many times, thanks to tuning notes from other tuners though the years.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2048097 - 03/14/13 08:58 AM Re: Customers? [Re: Bill12349876]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
I agree that the frequent early care of pianos tends to help in the long run. They seem to find their "happy place", and not change so much. Many of the pianos that I see every six months have been regular customers since the piano was new. They just are more stable.

I don't do much work for dealers currently. When I did, there were some sales people who would routinely tell customers that the piano wouldn't have to be tuned for a year. It seems that a common sales pitch was to impress the customer with what a high quality piano it was by telling them that they wouldn't have to tune it as much. I was often counteracting these ideas.

For those of you using Genbook. Does it allow customers to book multiple services per appointment? I'm still weighing options. In looking at these, I think I have it narrowed down to FullSlate, Appointy, or Genbook. It seems that there are literally dozens of these services now. Most of them probably do an adequate job.

Currently leaning towards FullSlate, which allows you to set up multiple locations. So you can be in one part of town on a particular day. That's the big attraction for me. I'm trying to cut down on driving. It allows customers to book multiple services per appointment. You can have customers either register or not. It will sync with Quickbooks, so you don't have to add new customers to the database manually. But that's an extra charge. That's Intuit, who charges extra fees for just about anything.

Appointy looks very good. But it looks like Appointy charges $.05 for every text message. It wouldn't be that much, but it's something. Appointy and Genbook look stronger on the marketing end of things. But that's not what I need so much.

As far as pre-screening customers. There are many of these services which claim to cut down on false bookings. So apparently it is a common problem. It doesn't take much imagination to think about what could happen. Imagine some 15 year old kid sitting in his mom's basement filling up your schedule, booking appointments, and laughing about sending the piano tuner running all over town. If this started to happen to you, you might want some barriers. If anyone can go online and book, they might not even own a piano. Your ideas about what constitutes a good business practice might change. That's what I'm talking about, not whether someone deserves to have their piano tuned.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#2048168 - 03/14/13 11:57 AM Re: Customers? [Re: RoyP]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 450
Loc: Oregon Coast
Originally Posted By: RoyP
As far as pre-screening customers. There are many of these services which claim to cut down on false bookings. So apparently it is a common problem. It doesn't take much imagination to think about what could happen. Imagine some 15 year old kid sitting in his mom's basement filling up your schedule, booking appointments, and laughing about sending the piano tuner running all over town. If this started to happen to you, you might want some barriers. If anyone can go online and book, they might not even own a piano. Your ideas about what constitutes a good business practice might change. That's what I'm talking about, not whether someone deserves to have their piano tuned.


I'm not sure that I would ever be comfortable with letting my customers access my entire schedule online, and book themselves a time-slot whenever they felt like it! Beyond the simple knowledge of how busy I am...or not, depending on the month!...I would not feel terribly secure about my home and business with the fact that I am OUT easily available online. That kind of access to my life, and certainty of when I'm away from the house, would worry me...a lot.

It makes a lot more sense for businesses, like hair-dressers or dog-washers, or others that are scheduling into a business location, to let folks access their own timing, but I just don't think I'd like to let people into my face that much!

If...and a big IF...I let folks schedule online; I would probably agree that demanding a credit-card deposit or number would reduce the 'false-positive' scheduling by idiot 15-yr. olds with too much time on their hands.

You're right! Business practices would have to change. I'm quite happy to have my darling wife as the office/store manager. But, that 'old-fashioned' business model ain't the wave of the future!

Mumbling,
'Yes, dear',
I remain,
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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