An Experience to Learn From

An Experience to Learn From

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  • #651

    Some background :

    I am based in Malaysia where the calibrations I charge for do not amount to more than average of USD100 per client. This is a long post.

    I was asked by a dealer last year to calibrate the JVC X3 for one if his “fussy” clients. He warned me that the client was difficult and fell under the category as a believer of extracting the most for his dollar.

    I calibrated for this client and after 2 trips to his house (was worried by the large adjustments I had to make to the 10point greyscale during my 1st trip and he had to leave his home) and spending a total of at least 8hours with a full tutorial on calibration, standards, references etc. I was led to believe that he actually understood all that I was talking about. At least, he seemed to understand when both of us went thru some reference scenes, and his favourite scenes. His final take before I left was that he was extremely happy with end result and felt it was money well spent.

    A couple of weeks later, the dealer calls me and asks me how it went. I explained the conversations that I had with the client and the dealer informed me that the client’s perception was that I made a difference but it was minor. The dealer also told me that this was how this client typically downplayed his comments but that I shd take it as a positive sign (I think it was my mistake to believe this). This dealer would then from time to time arrange other clients for me, all of whom were happy with my services.

    Fast forward one year later. A couple of weeks ago, this client calls me up directly and comments that he has been happy with the calibrated images of the projector and would now like me to calibrate his newly acquired Sony LED backlit LCD 3D display for 2D and 3D as he was not very happy with the pictures. I go back to his home and start calibrating his Sony (at 25% discount since he is a old client and since this is another display). This time, since I had already educated him just a year ago, I spend less time explaining everything but still explain as I calibrate and show him the charts. We then start viewing some reference movies showing the typical skin tones etc and then the problem starts. He makes a comment that I calibrated in Warm2 mode and that he feels that its too warm. I proceed to show him the charts on where the greyscale started and we ended up with and view the reference images again. He seems satisfied but does not say anything. He comments just before I leave that I should have calibrated in “Neutral” mode. The funny thing about Sony is that when u select Warm2 the ‘cursor” that highlights when u select menu items turn yellowish vs other modes like Neutral/Cool. Anyway, I ask him again if he is satisfied and he says he is and I leave.

    2 days later, he calls me up and with authority says that I made a mistake and that my calibration is wrong and he has been watching all his movies and cable and he tells me that the image does not look what so ever like the JVC that I calibrated (they are in totally different rooms). I also states that I made a mistake and I shd come back and fix it and calibrate in Neutral mode and it shd be ok. I explain to him that if he wants I can do so but the end result shd be the same. This reminded me of the baseball bat customer that Michael references to in class.

    Anyway, I go back, and redo the measurements with 3 meters (my Jeti, the i1pro and the K-10 profiled to the Jeti). The measurements are no different from my previous calibration and I viewed my material I am used to and all looks well. I then restart the education with him from scratch and explain all that I did and show him all the measurements. He understood but was not convinced. So I then proceeded to calibrate as he requested in Neutral mode and the charts came out the same and my reference images also looked the same.

    We checked out both Warm mode and Neutral mode and the final conclusion was that they looked identical. I then finally took my payment after he said that and left.

    Moral of the story :
    I guess, it is to not assume that previous clients remember the education that we gave them. I guess I shd have assumed that he was a new client and gone thru the whole 9 yards. However, I am not sure if it would hv been different as he seemed to be pre-dispositioned that Neutral is correct.

    So do I put it as a lesson learnt or is this a difficult customer?

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  • #2664

    It’s a feeling thing. If you feel he needs another round of education, then give it to him. Some will think that this means they are now the experts and you are not, but it still comes down to client management. I won’t say to anyone that I made a mistake, especially if I didn’t. I hope you made the client realize the error of his ways … (made him eat crow).

    It’s for things like this why I created those video calibration tutorials on the entire calibration process. All the stories … all the methodology … and I let the client refer back to them when they want. Just takes 3.5 hours to sit through it all, but it is in the can now. For the benefit of both the calibrators and the clients.

    Fortunately on a Sony set, calibration really does not take that long at all. No doubt you asked him the question of “why am I here?” You deliver reference video … not preference video. (well preference if dealing with a day mode)


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