I recently gave someone who was dissatisfied a full refund. It was large enough to be painful, but seemed to be effective. I'm a little afraid (OK, a lot) of advertising full refunds, or satisfaction gauranteed...that people will take advantage. What's the philosophy on satisfaction guaranteed?
The philosophy on satisfaction guarrenteed is to have them fill out a complaint form postmarked by a certain date with the original contract and receipt in duplicate to the proper address and department. After review, additional information may be required to complete the transaction. This original phase may take 6-8 weeks. After any supplimental information is received, allow another 6-8 weeks for processing to receive either full cash refund, services credit, or substitution of equal value to be determined at the discretion of refundor.
Do you really want to take on the liabilty of some people's mental condition? Resonable people can be delt with, and people with unreal expectations or just illintentions are people to try to stear clear.
There would have to be some serious problems for me to give a full refund. Partial refund on labor maybe but if the job was complete they still are in possesion of the materials and at the least they should pay for them.
My father-in-law is a plumber. He told me 98% of his customers are good people to do work for, the other 2% went like this.
Ran a snake (hand operated) in a ladies toilet to unclog a pipe. Gets a call from her the next day saying he "cracked" her tile floor and she wants a new floor installed. He told her "no attorney is going to find a plumber" who is going to testify that his unclogging a toilet cracked her tile floor. She calls him next day and says she was wrong and that she wants him to do more work for her, he said, I will not. Goodbye.
The other bad customer went like this. Installed three new drain piping in bathroom, offered to replace part of the bad floor for her no cost, she bought materials, did labor for free. She even picked out a new vanity, he installed it, after it is installed, she said, You know, this vanity looks cheap, I am having guests over and they will think you took advantage of me. He told that customer he didn't need her either...
Now I think of it, unless it is a close relative or my wife, I am not going to do "free extra" work for anyone anymore just because I am a nice guy. Matter of fact, after having been harrassed and lied to by a senile old lady, I am not going to be Mr. Happy Customer Service "take my kindness for weakness" anymore either. Oh, I will be professional and polite, but no more mr. sociable because it seems there are vultures out there who prey on people.
Another thought to add to the other posts: I consider myself skilled in customer service. I have traveled all over the US meeting with people from all walks of life, Eastern US, Midwest folks, West Coast types and never really had a bad experience that left a bad taste in my mouth like I have with residential customers. I enjoyed troubleshooting problems at factories, sometimes going out to eat with them same customers (maintenance mgrs & techs, plant mgrs) that evening that were ready to throw the machine at your company the minute you walked in the door but happy now you gave them good service and turned their downtime around. Not so with residential customers, they either don't understand what your trying to explain to them so you can build a trusting relationship and take the burden off them of worrying "Am I getting screwed by this serviceperson"? Another thing I have learned, you got people who request a quote, DIY, they have one intention, getting you to explain to them how you would do a job because they have no intention of paying you to do it, oh, they try to make you think they want a bid, but their picking your brain because they want to do it themselves, just needed you to fill in the pieces to the puzzle.
I am seriously considering sticking with Commercial and Industrial Customers... anyone care to share their experiences, good and bad regarding these types?
[This message has been edited by JFLS41 (edited 04-30-2005).]
I enjoy the commercial work also, Jeff. The difference is typically in accounts receivable. With residential service it's usually well under 30 days, and with commercial it's usually over 30 days. The plus with commercial is usually that the projects are larger. It works well if you keep it profitable. Good Luck!
I just finished taking all my tests for my technical diploma on Saturday. I am relieved that is over but know I still have to study and keep learning because it is a never ending process. I have had one phone call from my yellow pages ad, I suspect it was a DIY picking my brain to get ideas how to do the job himself, just my gut feeling. I received one call from a local newletter publication that might turn into a electrical inspection and a quote for an upgrade. My wife is getting ancy about me "finding a job". I told her I needed to build the business not just take another job, she stomped out of the room. So I have that working against me. Woman need the security and she thinks I am just waiting around for the phone to ring. She doesn't realize I spent about 6 hours a day studying for my certification and how committed I have been in getting it completed. I understand her apprhension, but I have invested too much time and money into turning back now. We had a big fight yesterday and I told her, "the only reason this business will fail is because I quit".
As for advertising: I live right on the county line and the yellow book salesman is bugging me about putting another ad in the other county but I have decided against it. I think I can do better marketing myself by visiting businesses, apt complex offices for building maintenance, etc and leaving a biz card and post card advertisement I am going to make up. I had some t-shirts and hats made up this week and will get a digital taken beside my new truck and lettering for advertising me. As for intensity of jobs I have done, I haven't actually done a panel upgrade yet but I am considering putting together a mock-up breaker panel-meter socket-service entrance calculated for a three bedroom single family home and renting a table at the local flea market, with some flyers advertising my biz and panel upgrades, etc... open to any ideas if your interested in helping out. I also am kicking around the idea of finding a niche in my former field of industrial machine electrical and mechanical work and possibly doing maintenance/repairs in that and I am looking into AC/DC motor repair but not sure until I determine the cost of how much is needed to invest in equipment in rewinding cores, etc...