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  • Steff Booth

Customer service - the tale of two attitudes

Running your own business can be tricky at times and the customer ISN'T always right. However, everyone knows that the best way to get customers and more importantly, to KEEP customers, is to always give them great service.

After one of my wooden venetian blinds had decided to escape from it's fixings and come crashing to the floor, I was in need of a handyman to put it back up again. I called a company that I had used numerous times before when requiring various services for my clients, as they had always been reliable and their work was of a good standard.

I booked a handyman to arrive at 3pm so when there was still no sign of him by 4pm, I called the office to enquire on his whereabouts. Uh Oh! A 'technical error' had prevented the handyman from receiving his job sheet and he was now unable to attend on that day. I was promised faithfully that he would be with me at 8am the next day.

At 7:59am the following day, I received a telephone call from the handyman to say that he had a huge problem and would be unable to get to me at 8am. When pushed for details, it transpires that the huge problem was that he was on his way to collect the materials he required for a job later that day because it was easier for him to do this. He also had another appointment that he had to get to so he could possibly make it for 2:30pm instead. Imagine my astonishment when I asked him if the only reason he couldn't get to me at the agreed time was that it made life easier for him... and he said yes!

Despite letting down a customer TWICE in less than 24 hours, this guy was happy to risk the reputation and repeat business for the company he worked for. I was amazed. When calling his office to update them, they were mortified and most apologetic but that wasn't getting my blind fixed! The attitude of this one man has removed any confidence I had in this business so I am unlikely to be calling them again.

So, I called upon my trusty friend Google, and between us we found another handyman firm who had an appointment available at 1pm that day. Third time lucky eh?

I waited patiently again until receiving a text message from the new firm advising that my handyman had been delayed and would probably be arriving with me at 3pm. Not great but at least I was being kept informed.

By 3:45pm, still no sign of the handyman so I rang the office - a real feeling of deja vu here!

I would like to think that I'm quite a patient person but by this time, you can imagine that the little bit of patience I had left was disappearing fast. After being assured that the handyman can't be far away, I was pleased when he arrived just ten minutes later and I prepared myself for someone with a stinking attitude to finish off my day nicely. This was probably the second handyman company that I would be parting ways with in the space of 24 hours!

How wrong was I? Dave, the new handyman, had also had a stinker of a day and yet he was apologetic from the moment he walked in, to the moment he had finished the job and went on his way. He fixed the blind, explained everything he was doing and was a real pleasure to deal with. And because of Dave's attitude to customer service, I will be happy to use this company again.

Just goes to show that the people who are dealing with YOUR customers can make such a difference to whether your business succeeds or fails. So whether you're a Handy Man, a Plumber, a Shop Assistant or a Virtual Assistant, your attitude could be the make or break of a business.


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