We need a service, we do the research, we hire someone, they do the job, and we pay for that service. Simple process; at least it is easy enough to understand. There is a need, an expectation for fulfillment, and the final stage is payment. I want to talk about that final stage, the settling up, if you will.
I have often observed how easily and rapidly we will have something bad or negative to say and we will go out of our way to complain; but when someone does something good, positive, or admirable suddenly we do not have the time. This fosters a behavior in us to look to someone else for all of our problems and thus we feel correct in blaming others for virtually everything that we see is wrong.
Let’s examine this service issue. Since my business provides a service I feel like I am qualified to address this and I am going to draw on personal experience. I can say that most of my customers are happy. We have established a rapport with them that allows for a friendly exchange. We do try to make it clear that we are professional and take what we do seriously. Therefore, if there is a problem we want and expect to be given an opportunity to address and correct that same problem if it is at all possible.
Recently we have encountered a new type of customer, and I am going to call them “the quickies”. “The quickies” are being named that for some very pertinent reasons, they are quick to complain and quick to quit. This behavior leaves any reputable business wondering what really happened.
Example one: this “quickie” had been approached when we started our business a few years ago. We offered her a competitive rate, we knew her home because we provided her with this same service when we worked for someone else. Two years passed, she had quit our former employer due to financial issues (she said), but now she contacted us wanting to obtain a quote and possibly start service. We came to an agreement and went out to do the job.
Upon our arrival there was a note asking us to do something additional. Now when you are in a service oriented job additional service can be provided, but often it is with an additional cost. The smart thing to do is to inquire prior to the actual service being scheduled. This did not occur, but being professionals we did what was requested and made her aware this was not a part of the regular service of which she ordered and that there is a charge for the additional services.
Afterward we requested feedback; and all we got was positive comments along with an apology for asking for the additional work. Again, the exchange was friendly and positive. Therefore, I was accommodating and let this new customer know that it was an honest, understandable mistake. “No harm, no foul”. She happily stated she was looking forward to our next visit. FOUR DAYS LATER, she sent an e-mail to me stating that after she examined the house further she found several deficiencies and decided that she would not need our services, as she could do this good herself. She went on to tell me that she felt she did need a deep cleaning job on her house once a month, in spite of my recommendation.
“Quickie number two” stayed with our service for five months following an intense screening process. They asked for references to e-mail and/or call them to answer a series of detailed questions. It had been their experience that companies start off good, but gradually deteriorate over time until they reach a point of unsatisfactory service. Well we passed their screening and began providing them with service. We gave “Quickie number two” the same information that we provide all of our clients with, making them aware that they are not contractually bound and if there were complaints we would address and correct them promptly. ” Quickie number two” was given the same request for feedback. There were a couple of initial items deemed questions rather than complaints. These items were resolved and never spoken of again.
“Quickie number two” sent me an e-mail stating, “he wasn’t sure if he had our phone number (cards are left after each visit that have business contact information that includes the e-mail address as well as the phone number) but he wanted to inform us that he and the wife were cancelling service, because it was not up to par and they wished us much success.
Okay, now let me explain a couple of things here. I am not by any means saying our business is perfect, I do believe we do a very good job and strive for excellence. I feel confident in the service that we provide and am willing to stand behind it. If a customer is dissatisfied we have a policy to try to fix the issue; but if we can not we feel it is better to let an unhappy customer go than to try to keep one, for they will more than likely never be happy.
The former customers referred to here as “quicky number one and two” were dishonest and while from a revenue standpoint you do not like to lose paying customers, from a peace-of-mind standpoint you are truly better off. In each case I did personally answer the respective e-mails and I wished them each well. Their responses confirmed that the real problem was not necessarily our service; but their inability to own up to the truth, they could not afford to pay for our service.
This is all really immaterial in the sense of the “why”, but again it breaks down a system that encourages honesty and credibility. If the job truly was bad you should be willing to let the provider correct the problem. However, if you say the job was not done good maybe you will drop your price, or even provide service for free to keep me.
Next time you have someone come out to provide you with any type of service, realize that along with the monetary payment that bill will not be settled to an upstanding business, until you give that individual an honest opinion about the work they did for you. Your opinion matters; it is a gauge, a barometer to help businesses know when they do good work and where they need to improve. That does not give you authorization to lie for your own personal gain. It will hurt the next person. Remember your indebtedness can only be paid with the truth.