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Customer / Our Forum Discussion

Started by Mojo, January 20, 2012, 12:32:16 am

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Mojo

I just ran into a customer and came out of our discussion shocked. Big Time. It was something I never considered before.

He called me one day and asked about a Patio awning and I told him I could make one. He asked what kind of material I suggest and I told him TopGun. Away he went doing his research and I will be damned he also researched me. He came to this site and read through our posts.When I met up with him to get the measurements he told me " your very active on your upholstery forum ". I about crapped my pants right there.

Then I thought about the numerous threads we have had bashing PITA customers.  Then I thought, what if we have a lot of customers out there doing this.

What do you all think about making this forum readable to members only ? You would have to create an account and become a member in order to read our posts. Obviously it is something Ken would have to approve but still, I do not like customers coming on here to read up on me. I like to think of this place as a forum for professionals who can come and get answers to their questions, support one another and vent their frustrations.

Am I being paranoid? How do the rest of you feel about knowing your customers are reading up on you ? I just wanted to put this out there for everyone to discuss.  :)

Chris

Mike

January 20, 2012, 12:45:55 am #1 Last Edit: January 20, 2012, 01:00:18 am by Mike
I wouldnt have a problem carrs dite  had a forum like that member only and a puplic forum FRaggeds 8 also .
HE didnt read anything bad on you did he? and a thread on a pia customer .... if the shoe fits  :P

byhammerandhand

I'd be interested in a "members only" part of the forum.   Not necessarily for bashing customers (AKA letting off steam before we kick the dog), but for other issues such as pricing.
Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison

sofadoc

I sometimes tell my customers about the occasional "knucklehead" customers that I have to deal with. They usually laugh along with me.
I think that anybody who has ever worked anywhere understands that some people can be difficult.

It's occured to me in the past that we should make more of an effort to recommend the products sold elsewhere on this site when DIY'ers ask for product advice. This is how Ken makes his living. He's provided us with a great forum. We should show our appreciation any way we can.

If it's something that everyone feels strongly about, I certainly would have no objections to a "members only "side of the forum. But I personally am not paranoid about any of my customers reading my posts.

Chris: How did that guy figure out that you're Mojo? You seldom mention your last name, or the name of your business. That guy must've read DEEP.
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban

MinUph

  You have to realize nothing on the Internet is sacred. A search can bring up many things in closed sites as well as open ones. Unless the Admin stops the spiders from crawling it will be made public. Better to not bash or at least realize the fact.
  In reply to your question Chris, I would welcome a closed forum. It is nice to have discussions with professionals only. Even though you can't be sure the odd client will slip in all in all it is a great idea.
Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
Website

gene

January 20, 2012, 01:21:38 am #5 Last Edit: January 20, 2012, 01:22:29 am by gene
Just because everyone is out to get me doesn't mean I'm paranoid.

I never talk about prices on this forum so that's not an issue with me.

I never mention customers' names on this forum so that's not an issue with me. If a customer were to accuse me of talking about them on this forum I would tell them it can't be them because the forum headmaster won't let us use that kind of language. LOL

I would be ok with a members section, but I don't think it's necessary. We don't get a lot of DYI'ers. And I think that folks who are DYIing are probably not going to be paying for upholstery services anyway. I don't think it would get more professionals to join in, although it would be great if it did.

If you don't want it read by Joe Q. Public, then don't put it on the internet! Hello!!!

gene
QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!

bobbin

For professionals only would be OK with me.  I see advantages to that, esp. the pricing issue. 

But so is this.  The way I see it, it's important for customers to understand that we're in business to make money, not be jerked around and nickel and dimed or nit-picked to death! there is a part of me that thinks a forum like this provides the necessary "dope slap" to those who persist in thinking it's all about the cheapest price going. 

The world is full of "lurkers", those who read and don't participate for whatever reason.  If they wish to do the "Nancy Drew" or "Hardy Boys" thing then let 'em go for it.  How lucky are they to have that much time to spend "fact finding"? 

::)

sofadoc

Something else to consider with a "pro members only" section.
Somebody would have the task of approving new "pro members".
They would have to check their credentials to see if they're worthy of pro status.
Ken seems to have a full plate now just banning spammers.

I tend to agree with Bobbin's "dope slap" point of view.

As for discussing (or not) wholesale pricing, I don't see the importance of keeping it private, especially since EVERY TOM, DICK, and HARRY can now go online, and buy stuff cheaper than I can anyway (and get free shipping to boot).
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban

Peppy

I thought the 'Business of Upholstery' was closed to to the public and only open to members?

I never say anything on here I wouldn't say to anyone in person. I don't think restricting access to information will increase the value of the information. I think the best thing about this place is how nice and helpful and open we are to some goofball trying to upholster something. By sharing our knowledge, at the very least, we increase the worth of our trade in his mind. He attempted upholstery and realized it's a trade and now has respect for the craft. Larry Lurker is welcome to do so, maybe someday he'll come up with the Next Big Thing and let us in on it.

And what are the prerequisites for being a member anyway?
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JuneC

I agree with most of the posts here.  If a customer is more reasonable - courteous - respectful of my time and skill because I've said that difficult customers will get a PITA upcharge, then more's the better.  Some need to understand that honey draws more flies than vinegar.  It's about maintaining a professional relationship.  I can imagine that it was a shock to hear someone mention this newsgroup in a customer situation, but it's all public, and I never put anything on the Internet that I don't want to world to know. 

June
"Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people."

     W. C. Fields

kodydog

January 20, 2012, 04:44:20 am #10 Last Edit: January 20, 2012, 04:47:46 am by kodydog
Quote from: Mojo on January 20, 2012, 12:32:16 am
I just ran into a customer and came out of our discussion shocked. Big Time. It was something I never considered before.

He called me one day and asked about a Patio awning and I told him I could make one. He asked what kind of material I suggest and I told him TopGun. Away he went doing his research and I will be damned he also researched me. He came to this site and read through our posts.When I met up with him to get the measurements he told me " your very active on your upholstery forum ". I about crapped my pants right there.


So Mojo (I won't call you Chris anymore) Was the guy laughing at you or giving you a hard time. Of course you can't tell us because he's probably watching. What if we all just went by street names like "The Mug" or something?

I like the occasional layman coming on and stirring it up a bit.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html

sofadoc

Quote from: Peppy on January 20, 2012, 02:28:07 am
I thought the 'Business of Upholstery' was closed to to the public and only open to members?
No, anyone can view it. But you have to be a member to post topics, or reply. 

I've actually invited customers, supply salesmen, and other stitchers to visit this forum.
One of them reported back to me that he found it to be "mind numbingly boring".
When I ask some of the others if they visited the forum, the answer is usually something like "Huh?......Oh......uh....yeah....sure". ::)
One day, my brother-in-law peeked over my shoulder while I was reading this forum. He read a few topics, then proclaimed that he'd rather shoot himself in the face than read this crap. :D   
It ain't for everybody, I guess.
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban

Mojo

I have wanted to discuss pricing strategies but wont now. :) There were several other things I would have liked to have discussed and get input on but didn't. Thank God for that.

My concern is one of my customers grabbing something I say out of context and re-posting on an RV Forum. At that point I am out of business since 95 % of my business comes from these forums.

I guess my point is that customers, because of the internet, are getting very good at research. This guy knew more about TopGun then I did and he knew the pricing schedules from the Miami site. Thankfully you cannot get wholesale prices off the Miami site unless you have an account with them.

In regards to Ken having to do more work by approving new members, that is what he is doing now. Every new member has to go through an approval process. He was forced to do that to help eliminate spammers who used the automated sign up feature. Now its a manual feature and obviously it is working good since I haven't  seen much spam around in a while.

I guess  I need to be very careful of what I talk about and say on here from now on. I would hate to get burned by a comment I made that was copied and posted elsewhere.  ;D

Chris

mike802

I think a pro section only would be a good feature to add to the forum.  I agree with Bobbin that some people might come around by reading about pesky customers,  thankfully they are few and far between at my shop.  But I do have a few things that would be nice to talk about in a private setting, like Mojo mentions, things could get upsetting if some people were to think they were being talked about, even it they were never actually named.  Even if we do get a pro section, I would leave naming names out of the conversation and just keep it general. 
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com

Mojo

I would like to hear from Ken, Richard and Bobby on this matter. A Pro section would be awesome.

:)

Chris