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Diplomacy and The Competition

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  #11  
Old 06-18-2002, 09:36 AM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Looks like I pretty much got it right!

Ed
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  #12  
Old 06-18-2002, 09:40 AM
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Tom, you did exactly what I planned to add to this thread. That I would try to focus the discussion on my work, my process, etc and redirect questions about the competition to what I do in an attempt to side-step the questions. I would not bad-mouth the competition, since it's not only bad "karma", but if the "factions" get out of control, it could go so far as to bring a libel suit (regardless if your comments reflect the truth, depending on how sue-happy your competition is.) It's just not professional or good business sense to criticize your competitors. Focus on your strengths and use that to win over customers.
Jeanie
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  #13  
Old 06-18-2002, 10:24 AM
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Sorry, Jak - I misinterpreted your analogy.
You brought up a point that I guess I get passionate about. Probably a whole other thread but, I do think that the challanges (not descriptions) should look identical (unless otherwise directed), with varing degrees of skill.
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  #14  
Old 06-18-2002, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by chiquitita
I think there is a definite difference between badmouthing and giving an honest answer to a question. Personally, I am all about honesty, however, you have to do it tactfully. Choose your words carefully.
My motto as well! I'm sorry, but if someone brings me something that is clearly junk I am going to give them an honest answer, IF they ask. I will not be mean and would never insult whoever did the work, but I could not look the customer in the eye and give them a vague, side-stepping answer. For example, if someone came to me, not to buy anything, but to get a "second" opinion, and the work was extremely shoddy, I think I would owe it to them to be honest. Say you take your car to a mechanic and they do a poor job (or mess things up further!). You then take your car to another mechanic and ask about the shoddy work that was done...would you not want that mechanic to give you an honest assessment?

IMHO, I think you can be honest without getting into a "war of words" and without being insulting.

Of course, I should clarify that I have ZERO business sense! I'm far more comfortable in an academic environment where debate and criticism are the norm.
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  #15  
Old 06-18-2002, 11:32 AM
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Good discussion, but I would take a slightly different tack with this customer.

Putting myself in the customer's shoes, what I'd really be expressing is my DISAPPOINTMENT with the work done by that other restorer and I would be looking for someone to acknowledge my disappointment.

You could gain a lot of customer loyalty by simply saying: "I'm sorry you're disappointed with the work done before. I'll do my best to create a result that you can be happy with."

We've bought that stupid "love is never having to say we're sorry" line and most times in customer service, you can turn a situation around by saying those 2 little words "I'm sorry"

just my 2 cents worth,
Margaret
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  #16  
Old 06-18-2002, 11:42 AM
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In most cases an honest answer can be given without actually addressing the competitions work directly...simply saying something like " Well, let me show you some examples of my work..." and proceeding to do so will not only get the point across with crystal clairity but also (hopefully) help to divert the conversation from what Has happened ( poor quality work) to a more positive line.
Honesty is always the best policy but like so many things in life there are subtle ways to get your point across and avoid the problems associated with being too blunt and direct...I know because on occasion I tend to toss diplomacy out the window and reply with all the subtly of a Train wreck...not a good thing!!! Nobody wins or comes out "on top" ....
Believe me, folks do appreciate a Business person who is sympathetic to their plight but has the professional "presence of bearing" to avoid "taking sides" or getting into critical commentary about competitors. Its a necessary skill in Business and life...being Diplomatic,yet truthful without appearing pontificating or scornful....Tom
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  #17  
Old 06-18-2002, 12:33 PM
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Tom are you suggesting that saying "I'm sorry you're disappointed" would be the wrong thing to say??

"I'm sorry you're disappointed" acknowledges what the person is feeling without casting any aspersions on the other business or commenting on the work done.

Margaret
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  #18  
Old 06-18-2002, 01:38 PM
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Personally, I appreciate when someone is honest with me about a company / service. I think this can be done tactfully without badmouthing.

Recently a doctor expressed his opinion about another doctor I mentioned to him that I was dissatisfied with. He was tactful about it and didn't even have to really say much about his personal opinion (though I think it was evident). He simply said that they had heard similar things from their other patients about that doctor.

I appreciated that, and I feel the same way about any business I inquire about.

If you are in a small town and there is that much potential for a "war" then I guess it would be best to not say much, but it all depends on the situation. There are a million scenerios and each one would be different.
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  #19  
Old 06-18-2002, 02:54 PM
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Margaret,
Apologising for someone elses work poorly done, while a noble and honest expression of sympathy, really does not make sense and might actually serve as "fuel for the fire"...Now every case is different and some people would take such an expression of sympathy in the tone with which it was offered, but there are others who would go right back to the Competition with a line such as .." and So-and So says it is a really bad job and said they were sorry that anyone would do something that bad"....Now, that is Not what was said, but things tend to get twisted to meet the demand of the moment, especially when anger is involved...so by expressing sympathy, suddenly you become entangled in a " they said.." type of situation. Very unsavory at best!
I just think it is better to divert the individual's attention away from the past and the poor job and get them to focus on the present and the fact that they are finally going to get the quality of work done they wanted in the first place.
Each situation is different but there is a common thread through out all, disarm the anger, refocus and keep the Professional High Ground...Believe me when I say I tried once to show sympathy and it blew up in my face! Having experienced that, I no longer express sympathy...just a calm positive attitude which is intended to address the clients desire to get the work done to their satisfaction. Tom

Last edited by thomasgeorge; 06-18-2002 at 03:45 PM.
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  #20  
Old 06-18-2002, 05:22 PM
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I'm digressing a little but here goes. Recently I was reading an article in a local paper about a scrapbooking shop which had just opened and was horrified when the owner talked about people cutting up "old photos of ancestors" to make attractive scrapbooking pages. I wanted to tell everybody that they should copy the photo and use the copy rather cutting up the original. I just couldn't believe that somebody would be so irresponsible to advocate cutting up original photos. I know these people own the photos and have a right to do whatever they whant with them but it seems like vandalisim to me. Am I being silly? Do you have an opinion on this type of thing?
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