This is aimed at engineers out there, but for Joe public, please make notes on what you should expect from a decent tradesmen! Help us win the revolution against piss poor boiler repair, heating & plumbing service. Don’t use them… demand more and get more.
Right then, before we kick off I want you to admit that you’re at fault. No excuses. If a job has taken longer than you anticipated, the traffic is horrendous or you have had a family emergency, when it comes to your customers none of this matters. You aren’t where you have said you were gonna be… helping them sort their problem.
Be under no illusion: To your customer, their dripping tap could appear to be the end of the world… Therefore, you need to suck it up and treat it with the urgency they feel it deserves. If you can’t get there to save the end of the world just Stick to the facts and FFS no bullshit.
Tell the truth… you can spot a lie a mile off… oh and by the way, telling a customer you can’t get to them because your van has broken down has to be the worst excuse going.
What does this say about you as a tradesmen? That you can’t maintain your own van! Why should that customer have any faith in your ability as a plumber? It also suggests that you’re not doing so well at plying your trade and that your driving a clapped out banger… way to make a good impression.
Better get the obvious out of the way. Yes it’s in bold so it is important.
Call the customer if you are running late.
You know way ahead of time that you’re running late. You may have had an issue with a job running over or nightmare traffic (everyone in London will attest to this, the M25 is without a doubt the biggest car park I’ve had the misfortune to find myself in). But If you don’t let your customer know you’re running late you are pathetic and you don’t deserve to be in business. Chances are you probably won’t be for very long… you will certainly never get out of the ‘one man band’ arena, if that’s what you’re deluding yourself you’re going to do. Be the next Pimlico Plumbers, make loads of money… not a chance if you start this way.
It is common decency to let someone know if you’re running late.
Here is a thought. If you are running late give as much notice as possible. Suggest a 2 hour window and say that you will call when you’re 30mins or an hour away. Whatever works best for your customer. Why not even say “what would work best for you?”. After all, you only have a job if you keep your customers happy. As I’ve mentioned. There are thousands of plumbers out there and surprise surprise they can also fix that leaking tap. You have to be better at making the customer happy with the whole experience.
Ensure nobody is waiting around, wondering and hoping you are gonna show up.
The classic for this are the big boys on the block. Those guys in the blue vans say they will arrive between 8am-5.30pm. So you are expected to take a day off work. Wait in the house all day (so you can’t even make the most of this time) and the icing on the cake, if there is no parking within 100 yards they won’t hang around to find a space. We hear horror stories from our customers but I’d love to hear more… it’s like that sick part of your brain that slows down to look at the crash on the motorway (yes the one that’s caused you to be late again). send us an email with your atrocious customer experience and the best/worst (well you know what I mean) to win a free service worth £150.
Well, in summary…
Don’t over promise and under deliver. I know it’s tempting to fill your day to the brim with customers and make the most you can in the day BUT if you don’t leave yourself any breathing space your customers will get let down.
It is far better to say that you can’t make it and give them a number of another engineer than not show up. So another top tip is ‘buddy up’. We all know other engineers. Find one that has the same values as you and help each other. Be the hero and help them find a decent engineer. Yes you don’t get that money but you will never get it again if you mess someone around. Your buddy will thank you and likely send you some custom when they are flat out.
Keep your customers in the loop and treat them as human beings. Call and let them know what is going on. Offer options and above all remember that You don’t have a business without their business.