There are times when you’ve got a pretty good day going — then make one slip to louse it all up.
A lot of times, the slip isn’t worth dwelling upon. A minor mistake can often be corrected. An apology can be offered. A solemn vow can be made not to screw up like that again.
But when you’re dealing with clients and customers, it’s important to realize that the mistake can make a lasting impression — and if that happens, it probably won’t be good.
Consider these examples.
Bits And Pieces
1. An experienced farrier is asked to work on an expensive horse at a nice barn. The owner hasn’t been happy with how the horse has been moving. The farrier identifies what he believes could be causing the problem, and trims and shoes the horse to alleviate it. The owner is clearly delighted with how the horse moves off.
Then, as the owner watches, the horseshoer picks up the nail heads he’s wrung off and tosses them off to the side of the aisle, instead of looking for a trash can. The eyes of the owner follow the flight of the nails all the way. Suddenly, he’s not looking as pleased as he was.
Made In The Shade — Almost
2. It’s a hot and humid day, with the sun beating down from a cloudless sky. A farrier has a full day’s shoeing scheduled at a barn. He sets up in an aisle that offers a cross-breeze for what little wind there is, but more importantly, a little shade from the blazing sun. He goes to work and doesn’t let tough working conditions keep him from shoeing all the horses that were scheduled, plus a couple of additional ones.
But as the sun begins to dip into the west, a little more of the work area falls into the sunlight with each passing minute. The horses like the shade as much as the farrier does, and begin to back away from the door to stay out of the sun, inching closer and closer to the work station and rig.
Something startles a horse and it jerks back quickly, slamming into the anvil stand. The horse doesn’t appear to be injured, but the barn manager, who just happened to be in the aisle when this incident occurs, clearly isn’t happy.
Pardon My French
3. A farrier stops by a barn near the end of the day to tack on a loose shoe as a favor for a fellow farrier. He doesn’t mind doing it, but it has extended his workday a little and he has plans for the evening.
The horse is ready and the farrier gets right to work. The owner is clearly impressed with the fact that the farrier takes the job seriously. He looks over all four feet, checking the hoof angles, and also walks around the horse, examining its conformation. He touches up the trim, paying particular attention to an area where the hoof wall was damaged when the shoe came off.
He also heats the shoe in his forge, making sure it’s shaped to fit the foot properly and is leveled. “Tacking on a shoe,” in this case, is done carefully, with attention to detail — and for free.
But as the shoe is being finished, a small dog darts in for the umpteenth time in search of a bit of hoof wall. The farrier pushes him away with a boot and a sharp expletive escapes his lips. The owner’s face freezes.
The Last Thing Lingers
I’m deliberately not including names or places as well as a lot of details. But I saw all three of these incidents. All of these farriers did excellent work that should have left a highly favorable impression. But in each, an avoidable error may have diminished how that farrier was viewed — particularly since they occurred as the work was being finished. The last impression wasn’t a good one.
Hopefully, the owners were able to get past the slip. After all, one farrier found and corrected an issue that had eluded others. A second took on extra horses on an extremely hot and humid day. The third took the time to do a favor without pay — and the dog, frankly, was being a royal pain.
Maybe the owners got past it and told others about the great work these farriers did.
And maybe they didn’t.