Marlon was a wonderful
farrier. He came every 6
weeks or so to trim the horses’ feet and make special shoes for one of
them. A good farrier is
critical to a horse’s overall health because foot disorders can disable
a horse to the point that he may have to be destroyed.
After all, when there is over 1,000 pounds to support, everything
has to be in good working order.
We weren’t the only ones
who loved Marlon. He had a
loyal following of regular customers and was busy all the time.
Not only did he do a terrific job, he was personable and fun to
When he decided to retire,
he trained Trish, his daughter, to take over his business.
She was also fun and personable, so there was a smooth transition.
Unfortunately, we started having trouble as soon as she took over.
It started with snow pads, which are rubber inserts that go between
the hoof and shoe and which are supposed to prevent snow from building up
in the shoe. The snow was
building up in spite of the snow pads, and our horse was walking on chunks
of ice the size of tennis balls. A
farrier problem. In the
spring, we noticed both of the horses were tripping on the trail for no
apparent reason. Our vet said
that their feet were not trimmed properly, which was not only causing them
to trip but which was also stressing some of the bones and muscles in
their legs. Another farrier
tried to get her to find out what needed to be done, but she got defensive
and was difficult to deal with. After
about six months of problems, it became too much; we had to find another
farrier. When we told her we
were switching, she got snotty.
you want to know why?” we asked her.
she said bluntly, and hung up.
know that many of Marlon’s other customers also switched.
Trish has ruined her father’s business of over 30 years, which is
a tragedy. But another
tragedy is that Trish bought the business from him and is making
payments. They are both going
are two lessons here having to do with learning.
The first one is this: if
you are delivering a flawed or otherwise inferior product, you must
learn how to fix it! What do
you think will happen if you do a poor job and don’t even try to make
it right? If she had
shown a willingness to “do whatever it takes” to fix the problems she
was causing, we would have been more patient.
other lesson is this: if
you lose a customer it is imperative that you find out why and learn from
the situation. If it’s
because of something that you did, you may be able to fix it and save the
customer, but even if you can’t save this one, you may be able to
prevent losing anyone else.
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