The sad side of doing business: customers can be rude and arrogant!

By | October 23, 2009

It’s not often I complain about running our business, but over the past few weeks, we’ve been getting complaints from some of our customers over their dissatisfaction with some of our longest running policies.

To explain: When students miss class, we’ve always provided makeup help for students, but now some of our parents are asking for class refunds instead of make ups… To me, since we’re teaching a skills based curriculum, students who miss class and never make up really begin to fall behind the other students.

Unfortunately, with H1N1 going around and school classes cancelled, students are trying to come to class at our school. But we tell them they’re not allowed. We’re not allowed. Them’s the rules. We WILL make up classes after they resume classes at school … but some of our parents have got the idea that they can get refunds and don’t need make up classes or want classes that are made up in EXACTLY the same time as their missed classes.

Where they got the idea, I don’t know. We have always said for students absent, "we will make classes up at the teacher’s discretion". Since our teachers aren’t idiots or newbies but real professionals, this isn’t usually a problem.

It’s starting to really annoy me, esp. since we’ll usually work our asses off for students. But I find that this set of parents only care for what they don’t get, not what they actually get.

Today, though, one parent called up and was really rude on the telephone. So when the kids came in to pay their tuition, we sent her back with the money after class. Then we got a nervous ‘apology’ from the parent concerned, but it was already too late.

Too often angry people in Taiwan don’t realize that when they say something hurtful in Taiwan, it’s too late to take it back. While I understand this is a bargaining chip in trying to win the debate, it often backfires as in this case, and ends up a much bigger mess, especially if the other party in the dispute doesn’t take up similar tactics.

Oh, well. I think it’s time to finish this post, and put it rest. Next week, I’m going to force a resolution on this point, because my two colleagues are avoiding this issue, and it is just getting worse and worse.

Unfortunately, one of the accusations that the parent leveled at us was that we cared more for money than educating our students; in reality, as soon as she said that, it made it clear to us that that was exactly what she cared about. She wanted class refunds and her daughter not to miss anything at all.

So, when you talk, be careful what you choose to say about the other party, as it clearly reveals what you think yourself about your own values; and very little about the other party at all.

In truth, we charge very little money, provide quality small class instruction, and always welcome our students and parents; but now I realize that some customers are just greedy and care nothing for what we are trying to do, they just want more and more for less and less. It’s really sad.