Sometimes I really just want to ask people in a service industry this question. Then again, those that I want to ask probably wouldn’t get it anyway so it would be a complete waste of time. But still….
I think treating a female client the way you would your mother or grandmother and a male client how you would treat your father or grandfather would be a pretty good rule of thumb.
I had some experiences this week which inspired me for this blog. I always see experiences as a way to grow and learn; thus, I must share.
My friend just bought a home. One thing that was recommended before he moved in was to have the ventilation system cleaned. It is an older home and I don’t think it had ever been done – ever, in many, many years. Easy enough and it makes sense.
So I scheduled the appointment for Tuesday afternoon. I got a call that morning asking if I could move the appointment to late morning or – now. So I rearranged a few things and met them early at the house.
The representative was very pleasant. When opening the furnace I started hearing things like “this isn’t good”, “oh, all this needs to be done”, “oh this is going to be a problem.” Hint – bad sign
Now, keep in mind a thorough inspection was done by an extremely reputable inspector with no stake in the game. He wouldn’t even recommend anyone for work as it would be a conflict of interest. Hint – good sign (There were a couple inspections actually by different parties.)
He had asked me about something with the house and I told him of a small remodel my friend is going to be doing. The representative pipes up and says he can do that while he is there, he is licensed with the state. Hint – bad sign
A few minutes later he comes out in the garage where I was painting to tell me that he has very bad news. Hint – bad sign
And here is where the fun begins….
He cannot clean out the system because just by putting his hand in the vents he can tell that the foundation has crumbled the entire system and cleaning it would make it worse. A whole new ventilation system is going to be needed to be put in through the ceiling.
That’s when he popped into the attic, looked around and promptly came back down to tell me the entire attic was covered in mold. Big ol’ germ fest up there.
Oh, and I would also need to replace the furnace because it is the original one that came with the house. (Remember the inspection? That will come back into play soon).
Now for just the ventilation system it would be a little over $2,000; but he recommends a new furnace and all for a price over $5,000.
He gave me his business card and wrote his personal cell number on it “because he would be able to schedule me in faster if I call him directly.” Hint – bad sign.
I noticed on the business card it had a line for technicians to write in their name. Hint – bad sign, your techs are not staying long enough to put their name on a card? Or you are just handing your business card out to sub guys so little lack of quality control there.
After he left I noticed that he had just placed the vent covers upside down on the vents without putting them back in as he found them. Hint – bad sign, disrespect for home and homeowner.
At this point I start flipping out. I will be honest – I really was. Normally I am much more astute and on my game, but I’m blaming it on the paint fumes in the enclosed garage. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I mean it wasn’t even my house, I couldn’t get a hold of my friend and I’m all wonky on paint fumes so all those things didn’t even register.
I called my inspector. I told him the story and he pulled the report. That’s when he became as incensed as I was freaked out.
There is no mold in the attic. He went in that attic from top to bottom and photographed the entire thing complete with a whole litany of pictures.
It’s an older home, seeing sand and rubble in vents is not an indication that the foundation is crumbling around you run, run for your lives. It means it really, really needs to be cleaned.
Oh and the original furnace? It is long gone. The one that is in the house is only about five years old.
At this point I had calmed down and was coming down from the paint. But this is where the excellent distinguish themselves from the good.
My inspector, Mike Bower of Principle Home Inspection Services is excellent. He went a step further at this point and personally researched ventilation cleaning companies. He reached out to contacts that he knew to get their professional opinion.
He looked at referrals, asked a lot of questions and narrowed it down to the highest recommended based on his research and the recommendations he was given. He then called that company! He asked about their process, service, cost and crumbling foundations. Hint – good inspector going above and beyond to calm freaked out person
Vent cleaning guy: bad way to treat your mother.
Inspector: what a good boy, your mother would be so proud.
There is always more to sell, always more profit but at what cost? Not only that, but add on top of it the anger issues. I had to spend almost an entire day trying to be talked off the ledge and get a true response and action plan based on what is really there.
The other anger issue: the girl factor. That will be tomorrow’s blog.
Mike, my inspector, had nothing to gain yet he took the time – his own billable time – to not only talk me off the ledge but do the research and make calls on my behalf.
Yesterday Logan with Mite-E-Ducts came out to the house. He gave me a courtesy call and waited because I was a few minutes late. Hint – good sign; I know he is on a schedule and their time is money but he was very nice about it.
When I arrived there was a huge company vehicle in the driveway, rather than the personal vehicle of the other guy. Hint – good sign, professional and shows they are there for the job and have all the right tools.
He walked into the home and immediately put on the little booties. That was a nice touch (the other guy just walked right in) and I appreciate the small details. He did a thorough inspection including taking pictures within each vent. Again, nice small touch. Hint – good sign, attention to details.
Next he explained exactly what he was going to do, how and asked me if I had any questions. Courteous and professional without the schmoozing or suck up questions or conversations. There was no upselling at any point throughout the entire process. Even when I asked about a new ventilation system in the ceiling he said they do not do that because it is a conflict of interest. Hint – good sign
When he was done he cleaned up each location and even swept the driveway because a little rubble fell out of the major hose when he was putting it away. Hint – good sign, nice touch noticing again the small details.
What are your clients saying about you and your staff? Can you look at every one of your staff and say you would want them assisting your mother, grandmother, sister, girlfriend, wife or daughter? You should have a two-part answer to this.
Not only should you answer an immediate “yes” but you should also be able to give a solid reason other than “they are a good guy.” The first ventilation guy was a “nice guy” too. If you can’t give a professional reason why then you need to rethink your staff.
I know most people do not come back to you and give you the positive reviews of your staff, only the negative. But that doesn’t mean that the positive isn’t making a difference.
You can bet my friends and family will hear about the virtues and professionalism of Mike and Logan. I am not going to let the other company know about their horribly disrespectful and lecherous behavior – my friend is taking care of that.
At the end of the day I have two resources I can personally recommend based on my own experience. Yep, Mite-E-Ducts can do work at my mom’s house anytime and if she is ever needing an inspection done I will call Principle Home Inspection Services for her.
And just for you pessimists out there – no, I did not receive any discounts, offers or one single thing in return for mentioning either one of these companies in my blog. Nor am I affiliated with either one and I do not know Logan or Mike outside of our professional interactions. They don’t even know I am writing about them. I believe exceptional service deserves to be recognized without reward – that’s just one of the reasons that is it exceptional.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.