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Janette

You just can't please some people....

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I have had my first unhappy customer in 2 years (which I keep telling myself is not bad) in that a pieced backing was not perfectly centred, but it has left a horrible negative feeling in me and knocked my confidence a bit.

Now I would probably understand her frustrations if it weren't for the fact that I explained fully when she left me her quilt that I would not be able to centre it vertically as the backing was only about 5 inches larger than the top, and I needed more backing fabric at the end of the quilt to avoid interference from the rollers, and didn't need as much at the top of the quilt. She said that was no problem at all and she would not be bothered that it was not centred. I offset as much as I could, but with only 5 inches, there was not much more I could do without making the backing larger. I always make a point of telling customers with pieced backings how virtually impossible they are to centre perfectly.

She had also marked the top of the quilt top and the top of the backing with a white label pinned on. I matched the two confident that this is what she wanted as there was really no direction to the quilt top at all although the backing was directional. This turned out not to be as to her expectations and apparantly the direction of a fabric on some of the top fabrics are now not going in the same direction as the same fabric used in the back of the quilt. (I fear that she may have OCD - LOL.. either that or trying to get the work for free)

I would be accepting an error if I felt I had made one, but what more can you do other than match the labels as a customer had marked and explain that you could not fully centre the backing. ?

In hindsight maybe I should have fully understood her wishes with the directions of the fabric which were obviously important to her, and then I could have checked that her labelling was right. However I quilted it as she had marked it and I could not see any rhyme or reasoning for the top of the quilt and at this point she had not mentioned directions of a certain fabric.

Worse thing though she has been complaining about me to another customer (who I have quilted 3 quilts for, and she was a happy customer) - who I hope when she sees the quilt and quilting that there is nothing wrong with it and tell her friend that she is being unreasonable.

Up until the point that she was bad mouthing me, I was prepared to offer her a nice discount on her next quilt, but now I am not sure I actually want to quilt for her again, as I fear that she will be the type of customer where nothing will be right whatever you do.

What would you do? Is there anything I can do to avoid this in the future?


3903CF121430B009ACE771072A3FAF28.pngLenni 2009

on IQ carriage with edgerider wheels and 2012 Lucey on bliss

www.j-quilts.co.uk

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Very very fast:)

I had a cust like that years ago...nothing I did pleased her and finally I suggested she find another LAer.

She did and did the same thing to her...some people you just can't please.

Life is too short for negative people to put you down. I know it is hard because it is our reputation that is being slandered however your regular cust know your work and keep coming back.

Just keep smiling and don't say a word about her,it will die a natural death and people will see that she is having sour grapes because she didn't explain herself to you. We are not mind readers.

A suggestion for the future. take a picture of the backing,ask the cust what way she wants the backing to lay,if there is a label,tell then you can't place it exactly and give them the option of removing it and they can hand pieced it on later or it will be quilted in where ever you have to place it. They usually take it off.

If the backing is too short,give everything back to them and tell them to bring it back when the backing is fixed and squared up.

This is our business and it is hard to say no but we have to stand strong on what we know is best for us.


c488a9097f8ffdefab27710eef89b22c.png

Nolting 24: Pro-hand guided free motion quilting-no computer and Quiltazoid owner

check out my quilts: Http://community.webshots.com/user/nuts4quilts

My sister s website Http://www.BobbinKnobbins.com

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Oh it wasn't a quilt label I have been talking about, it was a white paper sticky label which had been pinned on marking the top of the quilt top, and the top of the quilt back... I matched those corners and quilted it.

I take photographs of every quilt I quilt, and lucky I have a photo of this one which shows how little backing there was to "play" with. Next time though, I will ask them to make the backing bigger, even then though there are still no guarantees that it will be "perfectly" centred.


3903CF121430B009ACE771072A3FAF28.pngLenni 2009

on IQ carriage with edgerider wheels and 2012 Lucey on bliss

www.j-quilts.co.uk

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Yes I did wonder about a statement about the pieced backings for the future, but then I had another customer recently who when I said about not being able to centre the backing perfectly she said I know that - I am experienced enough to know.... and would most definitely be offended if I asked her to sign something to that effect.

Everyone is different I suppose.

Thanks for the confidence boost though Linzi and Heidi, it means alot coming from you both.


3903CF121430B009ACE771072A3FAF28.pngLenni 2009

on IQ carriage with edgerider wheels and 2012 Lucey on bliss

www.j-quilts.co.uk

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No discount. Don't quilt for her anymore. If she asks, suggest another longarmer in the area for her to try.

You did nothing wrong. I'm working on a similar quilt right now. Customer pinned all sorts of notes all over the top and backing. I don't see a direction for the top, but she did. I explained about not being able to guarantee centering the pieced backing. I expect she's not going to be hard to please, but you never know, do you?

Sorry this happened to you. Think about all of your happy customers and don't dwell on this one. She's a blip. You've done enough beautiful work to establish your reputation. Your satisfied customers will not be swayed.


68580D71558C5CD4FA14E80CBBEC4870.png  Millenium with Circle Lord, Bliss and IQ

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Originally posted by Janette

.........What would you do? Is there anything I can do to avoid this in the future?

Ahhh Janette... I am so sorry this happened. :(

What I think happened was a break in communication. A misunderstanding. It happens. It's not the end of the world...

What I would do? I would call her on the phone. Have a nice, friendly chat. Completely put yourself in her shoes and look at this from her point of view.

And, consider this when talking with her "Seek to understand... then be understood." I think when we approach problems with this in mind, we both come to see the light. Seek to understand her... and when she feels this, then explain your situation. Just be calm. In the big scheme of things, it's a very minor set back.

And, I would also explain to her that your reputation and success of business depends on happy customers. Any discouraging news to other (potential) customers could ruin your business. Maybe she will understand your predicament as well... and she will stop flapping her yap! :P

I think you should at least call her to try to calm the situation. You don't need to quilt for her again (or maybe you will). I think she has learned from this, and you have too.

Call her. It won't hurt. And it will most likely help.

This too, shall pass.

((hugs))


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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I had this happen to me, too. The woman is a very high-up in a large hospital and is the "boss" where everything is concerned....but, not my boss. :) I told her the same thing about not promising her that the backing would be centered. She understood, I thought. She was very happy with the quilt when I delivered it to her, but several weeks later she decided the backing wasn't centered to her satisfaction. She had 3 horizontal strips of fabric pieced together for her back. It was centered side to side, but not top to bottom. I measured the half way point and added 2 or 3 (can't remember now) inches to it to allow for the rolling with the batting. It was a queen size quilt for her son and future DIL for a bridal shower gift. It was a beautiful quilt.

She called me to say that I ruined her quilt, and how she slaved over piecing it for months, and her DIL will hate it because it is off center. I reminded her that I said I could not promise it to be perfectly centered and she said that I did promise that it would be perfectly centered. What BS! I know I never promised that! Anyway, it was off by about 1 inch, so it was either at the top or the bottom of the 3 pieces - say that the first strip was 40" and the second 40" and the third only 39" or vice versa. How could anyone tell?

She sent me e-mails and I got more phone calls from her telling me to fix it immediately. What could I do? She said she loved the quilting (a panto she picked out), but demanded I center the quilt top on the backing. Oh, and she needed it in about a week for the shower.

I said I could not pick it all out and re-do the quilting, as the same thing very likely could happen and it might be more than 1 inch off. In the end I mailed her a check for the entire amount of what she paid me. Unfortunately, I was so upset that I not only gave her free quilting, but free thread and batting, too. I jsut wrote my check for the same ampount she paid me.

Since that incident, she has e-mailed me twice to quilt for her. Both times I said no to her.

Can you imagine that this very highly paid professional would stoop so low to get her quilting for free? Disgusting!!!


Sandra Darlington

Darlington Quilts

2005 APQS Liberty, Circle Lord Enhanced

sandradarlington@aol.com or

DarlingtonQuilts@Gmail.com

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Janette,

I know that you are heartbroken about the complaining to another customer.

Do not give a discount. Do not quilt for her again. Do not bad mouth her to anyone. If you hear through the grapevine that she has spoken ill of your work, explain that you were clear in your communication with her and that you are sorry that there was a misunderstanding. Explain to others that she was not upset with the quilting but with the outcome of something (centering) that is difficult to do. Then drop it. Your wonderful work speaks for itself. Do not let this incident keep you down.

Can you absolutely keep something like this from happening again? Not if you stay in business. Most of our customers are wonderful; there is the occasional difficult person. The goal is to build a large enough body of work that will speak for itself. Your professionalism in speaking about this event, if it is brought up by other customers, will also give further evidence that you are a pro. As hard as it may be, don't obsess over this and don't let it color your interactions with future customers.

Best wishes,

Lynn


Lynn Founatin

Fountain Fiber Arts, LLC

fountainfiber@bellsouth.net

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Originally posted by quiltmonkey

Originally posted by Janette

.........What would you do? Is there anything I can do to avoid this in the future?

Ahhh Janette... I am so sorry this happened. :(

What I think happened was a break in communication. A misunderstanding. It happens. It's not the end of the world...

What I would do? I would call her on the phone. Have a nice, friendly chat. Completely put yourself in her shoes and look at this from her point of view.

And, consider this when talking with her "Seek to understand... then be understood." I think when we approach problems with this in mind, we both come to see the light. Seek to understand her... and when she feels this, then explain your situation. Just be calm. In the big scheme of things, it's a very minor set back.

And, I would also explain to her that your reputation and success of business depends on happy customers. Any discouraging news to other (potential) customers could ruin your business. Maybe she will understand your predicament as well... and she will stop flapping her yap! :P

I think you should at least call her to try to calm the situation. You don't need to quilt for her again (or maybe you will). I think she has learned from this, and you have too.

Call her. It won't hurt. And it will most likely help.

This too, shall pass.

((hugs))

Thanks, I had already had a friendly conversation on the telephone with her when she phoned me on the day she got back from collecting her quilt and she only mentioned the direction of the fabrics on top and back, I explained that I had quilted it per her marked labels, and she said that it was not the end of the world and noone would probably notice anyway, so I thought that it had been resolved already, but when the other customer approached me at a social event (when I should have been eating cake !!!) I was pretty surprised that obviously it had not and that the centring issue had been added to her complaint. I have been holding back phoning her again, as you never know how things can become out of context very quickly when a third party is involved.


3903CF121430B009ACE771072A3FAF28.pngLenni 2009

on IQ carriage with edgerider wheels and 2012 Lucey on bliss

www.j-quilts.co.uk

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Ditto what Lynn said. You did the best you could given the circumstances you were given. Communication is the key and it sounds like you did that too.

How to avoid this in the future, do what I did. A customer told me she had gone through five other quilters and now wanted to try me. Had a 2 hour free consultation and her being extremely specific on what she wanted. This was an exquisitely pieced quilt (IMO it needed light custom to show off her piecing skills) and she wanted different parts of a pantograph in different parts of the quilt.

After pondering for a day, I gave her back the quilt and told her my goal is to do my utmost to make my customers happy. I didn't feel that I would be doing her quilt justice and she wouldn't be happy with the outcome.

I also have a disclaimer on my intake form and invoice.

Let it go Janette, your quilting is wonderful and your caring heart shows through.


Laura

www.butterflyquilting.com

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26745434@N06/

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It sounds to me like you did your best for her. I would have matched the labels the way you did. So would Tet, who seems to think I am mad for asking ;) It sounds much more like and issue with the customer that with your work. It's horrible when it happens but her bad mouthing really won't stick especially with your happy customers.

I generally refuse all but the most simple pieced backings now. They can be hard to load well and the hassle of trying to centre them and not being perfect isn't worth while. Sorry guys but I tell them to change backing or go elsewhere. Some stresses aren't worth taking on and for me her quilts would be one of them.

You're right, 2 years and this is your first complaint you are doing good work and have great customers.

Ferret

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Janette,

I feel your pain; I've been there. The customer even stopped payment on her check--thus getting a free job.

I was so insulted by her remarks that I thought of no longer LAing for customers. I have not done that. In fact, I see her at the LQS. I always smile and say hello to her first. The first time I did it, I thought she squirmed a bit. She has never asked me to LA for her again and I don't believe I would do so.

Let it go. Have confidence in what you do. For this one grumbling customer, how many of your customers have loved your work? How many have even shed tears of joy when they say the results of your quilting? Remember those things and throw these negative thoughts away.

The fact that you are fretting over this shows the kind of good person you are.


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Janette,

I agree with the others. No discount. You're not a mind reader. You told her the problems with what she wanted and she agreed. Now, she's rethinking. That's her responsibility for not making it absolutely clear with you. I had a new customer who put labels on hers too. When I asked her why she said that was the top. When you looked at the entire quilt, it was the same from all four sides, she just never noticed it. I also had a guild member telling others that my quilting is beautiful but I'm expensive. I just called the person saying it and the person spreading it, because it wasn't even true. We just can't control what others say, but we can control who we quilt for. So try not to let her make you feel bad, your quilting speaks for itself.

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Thanks guys for your opinions and thoughts on this one. Like you all say, it is because I care about my work that I am worrying so much about this, as I take good care of my customer quilts and take pride in the quilting and want everyone to be happy. I will try and be as professional as I can be in this situation and try and learn from this experience.


3903CF121430B009ACE771072A3FAF28.pngLenni 2009

on IQ carriage with edgerider wheels and 2012 Lucey on bliss

www.j-quilts.co.uk

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Good advice from the others. I agree, no discount! Keep your chin up, sounds like she's one of those difficult ones. I should talk, I am the worst at stewing over criticism! (((Hugs)))


9BD280A625D2D6D2E2166C9DE34879A9.png

Quilting from the Heart

APQS Millenium, Circle Lord equipped, hand guided and lov'n it!!!

http://rosecityquilter.wordpress.com/

http://qfth.ca

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I don't quilt for a living, but I do accept commissions often. That being said, I'm with Ferret. I don't accept pieced backings if the customer has any expectation that the back will match the front. If that is the only back they have and will be happy with whatever I do with it, then I'll take it on.

You don't need bad customers! You're doing them a favor taking their job. If a customer expects you to do something you don't think you can do, or you DON'T want to do, send them on their way. Chances are that the two of you will never have a good comfortable relationship anyway. You don't need the hassle. You probably could have quilted another quilt in the time you've spent agonizing over this one. Don't return any money, and don't quilt for her again unless she begs you.

I'm sure that you do the best job you can on all the quilts you do. If the customer's expectation is for more than you can do, there's no hope for a successful relationship in the future. Write her off! Just my 2 cents worth, or maybe I should say farthings. Jim

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i'm sorry janette, she sounds like a doozy.

if it were me, i would not work with her again, saying nicely that i was too backed up to take in another quilt.

nor would i give a discount.

i would be very friendly if i ever ran into her.

and most important, unless i saw her or she called or emailed, i would TRY VERY HARD to forget all about her.

:(:(:(:(


Meg

"Do small things with great love." Mother Teresa

"Life's too short to fuss with thread." Meg Fazio

http://theonewiththreadsonherclothes.blogspot.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/megfazio

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hmmmm, these type of customers always make me nervous. However, usually their friends realize their 'quirks' and also that the likelyhood of a quilt being ruined by an off center backing seam is unrealistic. Glad you're feeling better about it now, no worries.


Kathy A

Liberty & Millenium

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Listen to everyone's advice then try not to worry about it. Everyone encouraged me when I had a client problem and in the end it all worked out.

Do you have an intake sheet? I have one and I write down things like this. There is then a place for them to sign at the bottom. If they question it I just say we have made it a business policy. You can see it on my website. I don't quilt if they don't sign.


3EAE3E003BE317F1F9B22C884AD7B5E3.png

www.silverneedlestitching.com

APQS Millenium with Bliss & Intelliquilter

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