One of the hardest things to do is to lose business…and while you try to do so many things not to, it is inevitable that you will. When I have had to deal with upset scrap customers it has proven to be a challenge. Many times we are working with peddlers who do not understand our methods of grading and immediately react instead of asking questions and listening the explanations. I know that all businesses deal with this, but it seems to be something that have been more prevalent in the scrap industry over the last 10 years with the prices being much higher.
When I have had customers that have been upset or angry the first thing that I have tried to do is understand the situation. When you are not hands on or there is a job going on that you facilitated and did not go to plan you have to be able to step back and figure out what to do next.
The first thing I do to deal with upset scrap customers is talk to my guys who are buying the scrap metal or grading it over the scale. This way I have first hand knowledge on what happened and where we are at inside of a situation.
STEP 1: Recently a customer came in with 4300 pounds of computer wire. This customer thought that this material was Insulated Copper Wire, which it is, but didn’t realize that the recovery of copper on it is significantly less then a normal insulated wire like Cat 5 or Cat 6. When they saw that the pricing was much lower they immediately got angry because we were talking about almost a $1000 difference in prices.
STEP 2: After taking a piece of their copper and stripping it down to the rubber being separated from the copper we were able to explain to them the percentage system. How different materials have different yields of copper and this is how the pricing was determined.
STEP 3: Moving on from the explanation they were satisfied because we took the time to sit down with them and really go in depth on how the scrap metal process works. I learned that customers appreciate you taking time to go over things with them and from there we knew how to deal with upset scrap customers much better.
SOLUTION: We came to agreement to pay them a few cents over board and get a little more money then they expected, and since then they have come back several times.
Like any industry, there will always be problems, the real issue is figuring them out so you can correct them from happening again.