What is the most important aspect of any business? 

Many times, a potential customer will research and compare price and location, maybe reading up on reviews as well. At the end of the day, customer service is a dealbreaker. It’s been said that how you handle problems is the biggest thing that you can do to keep your business growing. 

My business is like any other service business, in that I repair things everyday.

Sometimes a repair does not hold up for the customer and they need to return it for further work.  Sometimes the return is for something that is not associated with my overhaul — a part may break after the customer wears the watch or a part can come loose. 

Regardless, if it is a mistake made by me or not, how I handle this problem can make or break my relationship with my customer.

To expand on this point, let me tell you about two issues that happened over the last few weeks and the ways they were handled. 

Customer Loyalty Service Support Care Trust Business Concept

First I overhauled a ladies Rolex for my customer. Let’s call her Mary. The watch was overhauled and no special problems were seen. It ran well on my watch winder for a few days before it was shipped and was sent out to her on a Monday.  

When she received the watch, it would not run. She emailed me about the trouble and I told her to manually wind it from the crown and let me know how it goes. She emailed me the next day and said the watch would not start no matter what she did. I apologized for the trouble, and sent her a prepaid FedEx label by email for her to return the watch. She packed it up and I received it a few days later.  

When I got the watch, I opened the back and found a loose screw that was lodged in the train wheels stopping the watch. I removed the screw, and put it back where it was supposed to go and the watch started running perfectly. I wound and set it and checked it on my timing machine and all seemed fine. 

This type of problem comes up from time to time. I always double check that every screw is tight before I close the case, but sometimes the vibration during shipping can loosen things up and cause this type of problem.

I returned the watch to her and she is back in business. She understood the problem, was very happy with how I handled it and was very pleasant.  The problem was solved and everyone is happy. 

Next, I sent a watch to a customer, “Steve.” I overhauled a 35-year-old man’s Rolex for him, which had never been serviced before. I did the standard service. It ran well on my watch winder and I returned it to him in under three weeks. He received the watch and was not happy at all. First, he said that the band buckle was dirty, the date did not change properly and it was not keeping proper time. 

I apologized to him and said that I would send him a return label for the shipping and I would take care of the problem. He said that he did not want to return the watch and he wanted a full refund. I told him a number of times that I would gladly make any and all repairs for him at no charge and all he had to do was print the label, put it back in the same box and I will correct the trouble. 

He said that he “has lost confidence in me” and  wanted a refund or he was going to call the Better Business Bureau. He also filed a complaint with PayPal and wanted a refund. When a customer says that line — “I have lost confidence in me” — that tells me they are looking for a free job.  I have had a similar situation in the past with PayPal and I have won that case. 

As Judge Judy would say, “You don’t get to eat an entire meal at a restaurant then complain to the cook that it was bad and get a refund”.

Two customers, two different ways they handled the problem. 

My response to each was the same. One customer was reasonable and the other one? Not so much. 

Dealing with the public at times can be a challenge. I will continue to try and correct any problems that come up the best I can. 99.9% of my customers have been great and that last 0.1% can be a challenge. 

CHARLEY PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Charley, our black lab who will be eight next month, is the Watch Doctor’s trusty walking companion. She also has a big bed and her own stash of pretzels in the workshop. Here’s a photo of her getting brushed over the summer.