All right, buckle up and get ready for a wild ride! We’re about to share a story that will make you laugh, cry, and maybe even cringe a little bit. But don’t worry, it’s all worth it because it’s going to help you learn how to turn negative feedback into a long-term client. So, grab some popcorn and get ready for a tale about how Nordstrom turned into a Walmart for a hot minute. 

Forty years ago, a man rolled a pair of tires into a Nordstrom department store in Fairbanks, Alaska.  The Nordstrom employee, Craig, asked the man how he could help despite the fact the man was bringing car parts into a store that sells high-quality clothing, shoes, and makeup.  Imagine his surprise when the man said he wanted to return the tires!   

The customer insisted he had bought them at that location, which of course is a bit absurd.  The thing is Nordstrom had bought the location of a store that used to sell everything from towels and linens to automotive supplies.  That company had a guarantee policy that he could bring back the tires at any time.   

Most of us, understandably, would scoff at the idea of accepting the tires and giving the man money for them.  How would that even work?  But Craig was amazing at customer service.  He saw things from the customer’s perspective.  The man had driven over 50 miles to return the tires.  Craig was flexible and resourceful.  He called a tire company and got some information on how much the tires would be worth.  Then he accepted the tires and gave the man money in the estimated amount of their worth.   

From Nordstrom’s blog itself, we learn how this story helps us if we are willing to step back, take a hit, and use the power of responding instead of reacting in order to turn a potential lost client into one who will keep coming back every week with a job for you to scope:   

“Lost over the years is the exact dollar amount the customer received in exchange for those tires, but no doubt it’s been earned back a thousand times over when you consider the scope and resonance of the story today.  In fact, the tire story has become so important to our culture, we even hang tires in some of our stores and break rooms as a reminder of our commitment to our customers.”

Here’s the thing, good customer service, we mean really, really excellent customer service is a thing of the past.  Each one of us regularly experiences a customer service representative saying, “There’s nothing we can do for you.  Sorry.”  And that’s it.  There is not an ounce of empathy, understanding, or compassion for the frustration you feel as a customer when you’re trying to get help or aren’t satisfied with your purchase.  “The customer is always right” motto no longer exists.  And I think all of us, as customers, really miss that, if we’re fortunate enough to be old enough to remember it! 

Now, how does this story relate as you build your own business as a scopist?  

There will come a day when you get negative feedback.  It sucks.  We know.  We’ve all experienced it.  You are human.  We are human.  And we all make mistakes. 

So right now, accept the fact that it will happen and read on to get our checklist of what to do in order to turn that client who might be ready to continue their search to find a great scopist into a super loyal client who provides you steady work for years to come.   


  1. Breathe.  We know it sounds silly, but this is really important.  As soon as you see that you’ve made a mistake or are accused of making a mistake, your flight or fight response kicks in, and that is not a state in which you can recover the situation.   
  2. Step away from your phone or computer.  Give yourself a minimum of 30 minutes before you reply.  You’re much more likely to do more damage if you reply immediately than the teeny, tiny delay of 30 minutes would do. 
  3. Read the email again once you’re sure you’re out of flight or fight .  Find what they are talking about in the transcript.  Look it over and understand what the mistake was and if it was your fault.   
  4. Come from a place of gratitude when you start to compose your response.  Thank them for taking the time to let you know what happened.  Really, that is huge of them.  Some people would ghost you and you’d never know what happened or why.  This is an opportunity for you to learn something, to check yourself and make sure you’re focused when you work.  They are giving you the gift of growth.  So sincerely thank them for their feedback. 
  5. Acknowledge their feelings.  Most often, when you get negative feedback, the client is NOT happy.  They often have big feelings in the moment that they are writing out their message to you.  You most likely do exactly the same thing when you’re upset by an experience or a product you’ve purchased.  Think about how you would feel if you were in their position. 
  6. Apologize.   Once you’ve thanked them and acknowledged them, say you are sorry.  We understand that this isn’t easy for everyone.  But this is a really important step in repairing the damage you caused.   
  7. Make it right.  Think about what you can do to make this right for them.  Depending on the situation, it may be offering to read over the transcript free of charge, offering to relisten, offering a discount, or even offering to not charge them at all for the job if the mistake is grave and damaging enough.  

Yes, we know it hurts to offer to give away money or time.  That’s why we told you the Nordstrom story.  The money or time you lose out on will come back and then some if you use the tools above.  You will not only keep your client, you will bolster your reputation in the industry.  Ask yourself:  Do you want to be a Nordstrom or a Walmart? Behave accordingly.   

Dealing with negative feedback is not easy, but it is an essential skill to master if you want to keep your clients and maintain a good reputation. We hope that our story has shown you the importance of turning negative feedback into a positive outcome and how it can help you gain a long-term client. Remember, there’s always room for improvement. 

In Section 9 of our Complete Scoping course, you’ll find valuable insights on how to keep your clients once you get them. At Scoping International, we care deeply about your success and reputation, and we’re here to help you become a five-star-rated scopist. 

So, don’t wait any longer and register for Module 1 for FREE and get started on your journey to becoming a successful scopist. 

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