Ridgeland, Wis., farrier Justin Mundt also has scripts that he delivers to clients whom he must fire for one reason or another.
“I went to Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School back in the day,” he says, “and Bob Smith gave us some scripts to follow to help us break the news.”
Smith is adamant that farriers should fire clients in person and with cause.
“In this industry, we gain a reputation for not showing up and not answering our phones,” says the Hall Of Fame farrier. “I think that’s the way many farriers fire their clients. They want to avoid conflict, so they just ignore them, but that gives all farriers a horrible reputation. It’s a disservice to all farriers because clients will begin thinking there is something wrong with farriers and not with their horses or their pay. Fire clients for cause, professionally and proactively. Never fire a client in anger.”
Here are some scenarios that Mundt has faced and how he fired the clients.
Ill-mannered horse. “Your horse is not well mannered, so I am unable to shoe him to my standards. I recommend that you train it to stand quietly for the farrier. Thank you for the opportunity to work for you. Please feel free to call me once the horse is properly trained.”
Poor pay. “My books are set up so that I require payment when the job is complete. I do not have a billing service. I am sorry that I can no longer service your account. Thank you for the opportunity to work for you.”
Uncooperative client. “It is apparent that you have lost your confidence in my ability to properly set up your horse. I feel that it is very important that the client have the utmost confidence in their farrier. I am sorry that I cannot meet your expectations. Here are some business cards of other local farriers. Perhaps they can service your account more to your satisfaction. Thanks for the opportunity to work with you.”
Clients you just don’t like. “My book is so full that I am going to have to reduce the number of people I service. I am sorry, but this will be the last time I will be able to work for you. This was a difficult decision for me and I hope you are not offended. Here are some business cards of some local farriers. If they have any questions about your horses, please tell them to feel free to call me. Thanks for the opportunity of working with you.”
Mundt also finds that using the “sandwich approach” works well.
“Give the client a compliment about something they do well, such as paying on time, keeping a schedule, etc.,” he says. “Then discuss the issue you have with them in one area. Then go back and layer on another compliment, or reiterate the original compliment.”
He’s used the same approach when it was necessary to fire training clients, as well as a secretary who scheduled horsemanship clinics for him.
“I always extend grace and treat everyone the same way I’d like my mother to be treated,” Mundt says. “This way I’ll be able to sleep at night, and have followed the Golden Rule. Just remember to be nice, because nobody likes to be rejected.”