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!