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#6824569 - 08/30/12 How to act around a customer
Lonny Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/13/06
Posts: 2452
Loc: Idaho
Over the past few months I have had a number of contractors come to our house to give bids or perform jobs that I can't do or don't have the time to do. I have been flat-azz unimpressed and impressed with the way some of these guys act around a customer.

The DISH guy came out a few weeks back to get us switched over to satellite. This guy bitched the entire time. He showed up without the tools (I loaned him a ladder and flashligt) to pull a new cable and whined that he had to go back to the shop to get what he needed. He bitched about the company and customers constantly and left a mess when he left. When he finally did leave, he gave me a sheet of paper describing how to give him "10's" on his customer service evaluation when they call. Sorry, but no 10's were given.

I had another guy come out to do some glass work and he showed up on time, introduced self, thanked me for choosing him to do the job, wiped his feet on the floormat, and in every way acted as a total professional. He is 72 and does glass work to give himself some play around money. Great guy who did great work.

Had a guy show up yesterday, and all he wanted to do was talk was religion and politics. I tended to agree with him on most things but damn, it got old quick listening to him, especially when I wanted him to focus on work he "might" be doing for me in the future. The guy is supposedly good at what he does, but he has to be his own worst enemy when it comes to landing work.

A little dose of common sense around customers and some basic manners sure would help some of these guys out when it comes to dealing with customers. And on the same token, it's no surprise why some contractors are successful and always booked simply because they can show up on time and act like someone you can handle having in your house.

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#6824622 - 08/30/12 Re: How to act around a customer [Re: Lonny]
atvalaska Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 01/13/10
Posts: 7882
Loc: 907novacancy
i've been down this same road.......
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#6824651 - 08/30/12 Re: How to act around a customer [Re: atvalaska]
bruinruin Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 03/19/06
Posts: 13678
Loc: Tip of the Mitten
I go on customer visits to give estimates quite often. If I'm going to be more than 3-4 minutes late I call to give the customer a heads up. They always seem to appreciate it.

Another behavior I've adopted is to automatically take my shoes off once I get past the rug inside the front door. I find that it's the little things like these that start a customer/tradesman relationship on the right track.
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#6824850 - 08/30/12 Re: How to act around a customer [Re: bruinruin]
Lonny Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/13/06
Posts: 2452
Loc: Idaho
Originally Posted By: bruinruin
I go on customer visits to give estimates quite often. If I'm going to be more than 3-4 minutes late I call to give the customer a heads up. They always seem to appreciate it.


I had a guy come out today, who called and apologized because he was going to be 10 minutes late. No biggie, but I did appreciate him letting me know. I've had guys that never did show up or bother to call. I understand things come up, but a phone call sure might save a getting some work.


Edited by Lonny (08/30/12)

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#6824858 - 08/30/12 Re: How to act around a customer [Re: bruinruin]
Bulletbutt Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 03/03/06
Posts: 10262
Loc: Between Seafire and Scott F
They do appreciate that call. A year or so ago I had a contracting outfit call me several times to get my business on remodeling the kitchen. I finally agreed to have their rep stop and give me an estimate, but he never showed and called like an hour late to cancel. Fast forward a couple months; new appointment with same guy, same scenario, late and no call for a long time. Next time they called I told them I would not have them do any work for me because all I knew about them was that they don't show up when they are supposed to and leave me waiting for a phone call. They were shocked and assured me it was because they were so busy, and I assured them they could go ahead and catch up without worrying about me.

Later I got another contractor to come give us a bid, and I told him the story. I think it sunk in because they came and did a pretty good job, and always called if their people were going to be very late.
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#6824888 - 08/30/12 Re: How to act around a customer [Re: Lonny]
shreck Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 06/01/04
Posts: 16645
Loc: littoral North Carolina
Being professional and nice is free, costs you nothing and can make you money. When I delivered furniture you wanted to make the customer happy enough to tip you, surly don't help. One of the biggest tips I ever received was from a guy who sent all the furniture BACK because he was unhappy.
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A government is the most dangerous threat to manís rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.

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#6824912 - 08/30/12 Re: How to act around a customer [Re: shreck]
Rock Chuck Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/06
Posts: 29409
Loc: Filer, ID
A while back a guy came to install cable. He drilled a hole into an interior wall...and though the other side...and into the back of a bookcase in the next room. He was darn lucky that he missed an antique rolltop that was sitting next to it. Hell would have been shaking if he'd hit that one.
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#6824917 - 08/30/12 Re: How to act around a customer [Re: bruinruin]
jnyork Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 03/05/08
Posts: 7703
Loc: Wyoming and Arizona
It always amazes me to find that a person can be a highly skilled expert in his field, able to do a job as well as it can be done, but is entirely lacking in customer relations and people skills. This person would make a LOT more money if he would just work a little harder at those things.

I have contracted out a couple of concrete jobs in the last year or two. After we agreed on a price, etc, I told these guys I charge $40.00 an hour to sit and wait for someone to show up for work, 0800 MEANS 0800. Both contractors always showed up a few minutes early. grin


Edited by jnyork (08/30/12)
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#6824927 - 08/30/12 Re: How to act around a customer [Re: Lonny]
ColdBore Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 8759
Originally Posted By: Lonny
A little dose of common sense around customers and some basic manners sure would help some of these guys out when it comes to dealing with customers. And on the same token, it's no surprise why some contractors are successful and always booked simply because they can show up on time and act like someone you can handle having in your house.


I'm in the process of getting estimates for a new roof.

A guy showed up today, introduced himself, and said "Let's take a quick walk around the house, while I ask you a few questions". We proceeded to walk around, him pointing out things that he noticed, and asking me about other things. As we are doing this, he explains "We'll be stripping the shingles, putting on new drip edge, new ice guard, new flashing around the skylights, etc, etc, etc". He points out that the flashing on the stone chimney looks like it is mortared in, but he has dealt with that before, and shouldn't be a problem.

Then he starts to take measurements, sketching the roof as he goes.

You get the idea.

At the end, he says that he'll need to go back to the shop to work an accurate quote, and that he hopes to have it out to me in a few days.

At this point, I confessed to him, about another "contractor" that had come out a few days ago to give me a bid.

This guy "paces" off the house, grabs his phone to do the math, and within a few minutes, gives me a price. I asked "What is included in that price?", as he had basically told me nothing up to that point. His response?

"Well, ya know, like pretty much everything that should be included".

WHAT??? shocked

"PRETTY much everything"??

How about ALL of everything, and how about explaining what "everything" encompasses?

The second guy just laughed (I'm sure he LOVES having competition like the first guy; makes it much easier to score work! laugh ).

Needless to say, only one is in contention for the job right now.....

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#6824936 - 08/30/12 Re: How to act around a customer [Re: Rock Chuck]
shreck Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 06/01/04
Posts: 16645
Loc: littoral North Carolina
Guy came by my old house to put up a dishtv unit, we had direct tv but dropped them. He didn't have to run co-ax because it was already there. He did cut the line at the base of the dtv antenna, rendering it useless. I called his boss when I saw it, dishtv paid us for a dtv antenna.
_________________________
A government is the most dangerous threat to manís rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.

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#6824948 - 08/30/12 Re: How to act around a customer [Re: shreck]
maarty Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 07/10/10
Posts: 1780
Loc: New Zealand
There's a reason contractors vehicles have windows, it's so you can wind them up AFTER the job and have a quiet bitch to yourself about the customer if you feel it's needed. While you're with the customer your behavior has to be 100% and you need to take your cue from the customer as far as conversation goes BUT even so you need to make sure you are focused on the job you're there to do.
We have slip on boot covers to put on because often after a days work your feet smell so slipping covers over your shoes protects the customers floors and saves having to apologize for the smelly feet, also our Occupational Safety and Health requires us to wear safety shoes on the job.
We also do the courtesy call if we're going to be late and I've found all customers appreciate it, even if you're only going to be five minutes late.
We also like to send a thank you note or call when we receive payment and if someone has referred work to us we like to send them a thank you as well, depending on the job we'll sometimes send them a bottle of wine, some beer or chocolates. One we did recently was referred from a realtor, it began as a simple rat control job but once we got in the ceiling we found wiring chewed, insulation destroyed and huge quantities of droppings so we recommended they have the wiring done and the insulation replaced (without offering to do the work) we ended up recommending an electrician and getting the job to do the clean up and insulation. So a simple $100 job went to a $1500 job. We sent the realtor a bottle of wine and some flowers as a thank you for referring us.

Little things don't cost much but they can make you a lot.
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