We have a very open and honest approach to our business and in return we have very nice and understanding customers.
No one likes to be treated like a number, especially if you are spending a lot of money with some long-term important decisions to make about their homes.
So taking time to make sure the customer understands everything (double glazing isn’t as straight forward as you think) is important. This applies before and after installation, too many times the cheque is exchanged and people are gone! Understandably fitters have other jobs lined up from then on but making sure you go back to fix problems if there are any is important, these are things that will improve the industry name too.
I hear of people concerned about not getting paid and I often wonder why the concern! If you have dealt with he whole job from start to finish properly, why wouldn’t they pay? I know there are a very few awkward customers, and they are just being awkward so these are an exception.
If they were not happy because there was a scratch on a unit you would exchange it! If they were not happy with anything else you would go back and fix the problem, then get paid! We don’t expect the customer to pay if they are not happy and would take responsibility for our mistakes if we had made any or our suppliers mistakes which we would deal with them later.
Here is an example of the last time it took a little bit longer than it should have to get paid:
It was a complete replacement conservatory job, these jobs are much more likely to cause problems than just changing a window so much care has to be given. The conservatory was huge and was fitted in a week, the owner was in a different country at the time and the building manager was in charge. The conservatory was built on top of a roof of a block of flats, an unusual job, but what a fantastic view. Anyway the job was finished and all was done, an email was sent to the owner with pic’s ect and the final bill.
Then the bad weather started! Really bad winds and rain. We had an email saying the flat below was leaking! We panicked a bit wondering how that could happen!! The person who fitted it knew there was no way that conservatory leaked but he went back to have a look. The building manager didn’t let him into the flat to see the water damage, he just pointed out some lead by the conservatory which he thought was the problem! After inspection and seeing that under the lead was bone dry he inspected further and there was a huge crack in the render between the side French doors and just before the conservatory, this was there before but had nothing to do with the job. So we sealed that up for them and left.
We still were not paid! We started to realise the information we were giving the owner was different to what the building manager was saying, he sounded like he wanted us to pay for the flat below (that we were not shown) to be fixed! Luckily the owner was very nice and knew what we were saying was true.
We were called back again as it was still leaking and in the end found that it was their French doors that were leaking, this was after we were eventually let into the flat, as soon as you could see the inside it was obvious where it was coming in from and could have saved time to begin with.
Anyway a long email with pictures and descriptions was sent to prove it was nothing to do with us (the French doors were existing and nothing to do with the job) and the owner was thankful that we fixed they additional problems and paid us straight away.
This was very worrying for us but on the other hand we knew from the start it wasn’t us! So the problem really was proving it! and although we were being told that it was us and we would have to pay for downstairs to be fixed, we kept our cool and handled it professionally, if we had gotten arsey with them they would have in return and we knew that, so we went along until we could prove our point.
Now I know not everyone would have done it that way or even agree with the way we handle things, some people get very defensive but in my eyes this was much less time-consuming and more pleasant than a battle with the customer that would have dragged on for months without getting paid and risking people demanding refunds and all that malarkey.
I really do believe if you treat a customer with the respect you want to receive you will get it. This isn’t always easy, trust me we were worried and a bit angry at times because it is especially important to get paid on time when you are a small business, it can make you or break you, but you have to take a bit of time to consider the feelings the other side, the man thought his conservatory was leaking into a flat below!! Would you have paid?