Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Confidence Shattered!

OK, I admit it, I'm spoiled! For almost twenty-eight years now we have worked hard to build our business so that we have tradesmen that are consistent performers. Other blog entries will support my philosophy that you look for the very best in talent, and retain them so that they become our "team" of talented tradesmen available for every project. Sure everyone has a bad day, but the steady, consistent performance of talented people really does lull you into a false sense of security! Our guys can do anything!

What a shock last week when my brother-in-law asked me to help with an air conditioner that went out in his beach house. During the summer he rents it out. I thought we had the right service provider identified in that market - at least his previous performance suggested his capabilities. Three trips, frazzled renters, and a little over $2,000 later, I am realizing that my confidence in this guy is shattered! It makes me count my blessings for the consistently responsive talent I have right here in Dallas!

So spoiled am I that this episode reminds me of the lessons we learned years ago, before we saw the wisdom of building - and sticking with a great team of sub-contractors. Let me share several with you:

  • Once violated, confidence is difficult to regain. It's a lot like trust. Confidence seems to be given through consistent, exceptional performance. 
  • Zip the lip! Performance, or the lack thereof is one thing, but flippant remarks in defense of your poor efforts is like dousing your sub-standard offering with gasoline! My guys are sick of hearing me say "head down, feet moving, NO EXCUSES!!"
  • If customer service is not your passion, GET OUT OF IT!  'Nuff' said....
  • Understand expectations. Some have greater expectations than others, but all have expectations. Understanding your client minimizes the risk of loosing their confidence.
The bill for substandard services arrived yesterday. I find myself questioning everything on it! The old adage "fool me once - shame on you, fool me twice - shame on me!" has kicked in. If the serviceman hadn't gotten snippy with the renter we might be able to write this off to normal maintenance, and just a bad day (or two or three!). But his "lip" makes me want to "skip." I have lost confidence in this particular act and have already started rooting around for a competent firm that has lots of integrity! 

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