For the first time ever in my entire career, we had a customer take advantage of our two week sale or return for preloved saddles. After the two weeks they asked to be invoiced and now refuse to pay for the saddles and not want to give them back!
This situation is currently being picked up by our legal representatives. However, this tale of woe has not only shocked me and saddened me, but also made me look long and hard at how we work with the customers. It's made me question the amount of flexibility we offer customers in their decision time and also what we offer as a business.
Of course, the majority of people reading this blog will agree that it is unacceptable for anyone to take something (whether its services or products) and not pay for them. In my eyes, this is stealing. Whether you are 'stealing' from a small independent business like ours or a giant corporation, company policy changes in response to customer’s wants, needs and behaviour. To continue to deliver a fantastic service, train and employ our incredible expert team, put diesel in the cars and delivery quality saddles, we rely on people paying their bills. If people don't pay, we can't do our job, the job that, Helen and Laura and I love doing. Do I need to change my policy?
Having a real passion for what you do is rare in our sector, but we have it.
“It's not about a quick sale and a goodbye – it’s a long term relationship with the customer and working with them to create or find the saddle for their horse and them that they will both love and enjoy.”
That relationship relies on trust on both sides. I don't want us to feel twitchy about going the extra mile for our customers and being generous in what we do and offer because THAT is part of what makes us different. We genuinely do care about you, your horses and ultimately your saddle fit, which is why our customer relationships stand the test of time because we become part of your valued support team along with your farrier, vet, physio etc. This has always been part of Childéric Saddles UK's successful formula and an ingredient I don't want to change. If we can't leave a saddle with a customer to try, then you won’t be able to try before you buy. What you will have instead is a sell or no sell, and I don't like that way of doing business.
When you buy a Childéric Saddle from us, you're not just paying for the saddle; you're paying for our skill and service. So, you see not paying for your saddle or not paying for our time isn't just about a faceless business absorbing costs, it affects the company at the very heart of it and also financially and emotionally impacts on the very people who work so hard to make it the success of it and care so much about you and your horses well-being and happiness.