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Re: Customer complaints

I have enjoyed this thread.  Marketing and sales issues are always of
interest to me, particularly what to do with the list of customers that, 1)
get the catalog but never buy, 2) are on the list that is better round-filed
than maintained, and 3) that are willingly coming to you for education but
you know you don't have time to help them with all the education that they
might require.  There are other interesting lists, like the one of the
customers that use your nursery as a reference database.  Are these "good"
customers?  Will they ever refer someone to you?  Or, will they just use you
for information and then trapse off to the mass merchandisers, having now
found what they want?  I can always tell the fun ones to be around, however,
because as they round the corner to view what is my "nursery", they go "oh"
and "ah" and then I know we're going to have some good conversation.

I have had computer systems customers/clients for 17 years, but this is my
first year to have Hosta/Shade-perennials customers.  I understood when my
systems clients did not understand programming--they weren't programmers.  I
did NOT understand it, however, when the in-house accountant did not
understand debits and credits.  It was an enigma to me then, and gardeners
who purchase plants who are really not "gardeners", and do NOT want to learn
how to be, are an enigma to me now.  I have viewed my vendor experience at a
local farmer's market as being ALL about education to help a group of
potential Hosta gardeners.   I view EVERY home owner (with a tree in the
yard) as worthy of some attention and attempt to treat them with respect as
I endeavor to explain that there are  more than 4 kinds of Hostas.

One market test that I recently conducted was designed to have some fun, and
to help people learn more about Hostas.  I have had a good year, so I
decided to give away some Heuchera's and Pachysandra.  If some of the
passer's-by could guess which of five(5) HOSTA's was the highest priced
plant at retail, they would win a plant.   Do you know that 4 of the first 3
got it right, right off the bat?   These were folks who barely knew what is
a Hosta, and they were able to perceive "extra" value with what I assume is
minimal education, on the genus, if any!  A couple even guessed the ranking
down two or three more plants in the correct retail price order!   This
phenomenon was of interest to me, as a marketer turned plantsman, and I
intend to pursue this kind of informal survey at other times, both to spark
interest in the genus, and as an education tool--to ME and to them.

 I cannot say that I relish the experience, but there are, in fact, SOME
customers that even know more than I do about the genus and they are fun to
deal with, too.  I do wish that God, or nature (or whichever course of
creationary evolution you happen to subscribe to) could somehow obliterate
the "customer stupidity" gene.  Yet isn't this what causes us to wake up and
say, "I wonder what I can do to help that stupid person appear smarter next
year?".   I fear this is why no one has answered my question about how to
raise Tokudama's or sieboldiana's in a container--no one wants to tell me
how "stupid" I am for even asking the question..."Just give up and put them
in the ground".  This I WILL do for now, while I'm still stupid on the
subject.  I do NOT, however, intend to remain that way forever... for I am,

Andrew Lietzow
The Emerging "smart" Hostaholic

P.S.  IMHO, it is illogical to assert that customers "care" about the
profitability of a business.  That is the responsibility of management and,
unfortunately, customers cannot assume that role in the company.   This fact
is neither good, nor bad (about customers), it just is....

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