Marine Fabricator May/June 2021 - 19

M

ost businesses have encountered these people at least
once: impossible-to-please
customers who make life
miserable for everyone who has to work
with them. Maybe they are disrespectful
to you and your employees. Maybe they
demand price breaks where none are
due. Or perhaps they critique every little
detail, seeking things to complain about.
The dilemma is that difficult customers sometimes have to be tolerated-
not only for the sales they generate, but
because of the bad word of mouth they
might spread. Bad publicity about your
shop posted on social media or disseminated through online reviews can seriously affect your business reputation if
not properly addressed. So, what's the
answer? That depends on the situation.
But the bottom line is, bad blood with
unreasonable clients sometimes can't
be helped.
Yin meets yang
In the marine fabrication industry, customers are often painstakingly particular people with big bucks invested in
their boats, vehicles, toys and equipment. The vendors, conversely, tend to
be small family-owned shops featuring
exceptional skill and experience, but
only routine investment in legal protection. So what could go wrong?
Vince Innocenzi, owner of Chicago
Marine Canvas, says most of his customers have been top-notch over the
past six years. That said, he's still smarting over one client who left Illinois a few
years ago without paying the balance of
her boat cover bill. Along the way, she
issued multiple complaints about her
order, some borderline ridiculous-e.g.,
the amount of translucency in the clear
thread used for sewing.
Innocenzi says he should have been
tipped off about her ethics when she
misrepresented an insurance claim to

sideline money away from his business
and into her pocket.
" We made changes to multiple items,
and she just went head over heels with
requests, " he remembers. " Then there
was a dispute about workmanship and
the boat had left the state, so there was
no way for us to assess or repair. She finagled herself out of the bill. "
Chris Shuman, president of Florida-based Custom Canvas and Cushions
Inc., remembers a similarly wily customer. For nearly a year the guy avoided
paying for a bowrider mooring cover that
had already been pre-fitted perfectly to
his boat. Shuman says the customer finally paid and took delivery, only to claim
three months later that the cover didn't
fit. He then requested a refund and tried
to dispute his credit card charges but was
denied by the credit card provider.
" People will try to lie and blame issues on us to get us to pay for them, "
Shuman says. " In the beginning, we

Vince Innocenzi of Chicago Marine
Canvas shows material samples to
employee Kole Kerins in the company
showroom. Innocenzi says his firm has
invested in multiple product samples
to ward off client misunderstandings
about the final appearance of their
custom products. Photo: Chicago
Marine Canvas.

IN SOME CASES, YOU'LL GO
BROKE TRYING TO PLEASE
SOME PEOPLE. WE DO THE
BEST WE CAN, AND I HAVE
A CLEAR CONSCIENCE. "
-Chris Shuman
Custom Canvas and Cushions Inc.

www.marinefabricatormag.com | 19


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Marine Fabricator May/June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Marine Fabricator May/June 2021

Marine Fabricator May/June 2021 - Cover1
Marine Fabricator May/June 2021 - Cover2
Marine Fabricator May/June 2021 - 1
Marine Fabricator May/June 2021 - 2
Marine Fabricator May/June 2021 - 3
Marine Fabricator May/June 2021 - 4
Marine Fabricator May/June 2021 - 5
Marine Fabricator May/June 2021 - 6
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Marine Fabricator May/June 2021 - Cover3
Marine Fabricator May/June 2021 - Cover4
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