Learn to Learn

Oct 21 21:00 2002 Dave Balch Print This Article

Marlon was a ... farrier. He came every 6 weeks or soto trim the horses' feet and make special shoes for one ofthem. A good farrier is critical to a horse's ... because foot ...

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,Guest Posting 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 have around.

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

We 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.

"Don't you want to know why?" we asked her.

"No", she said bluntly, and hung up.

We 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 to lose.

There 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.

The 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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Dave Balch
Dave Balch

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