How often have you felt deflated as the result of the following: a service provider (whom you trusted) left you with a shoddy product, and was unfriendly in the process? In the worst case scenario, you may have experienced both types of abuse. When contracting work for hire you expect to receive a job well done, pride inspiring craftsmanship, and “service with a smile.” Components of award winning service include:
- Showing up at the time you specify, and completing the job in a reasonable length of time (one agreed upon by both parties). A job that takes one week (if stretched into a two month time frame) should warrant a refund, or at least a reduction in price. Customers are not at your mercy, and they should never be the recipients of your poor planning, overbooking, or continual string of “personal emergencies.” No one likes to be put on hold for weeks on end to accommodate someone else’s personal agenda. Keep in mind that the customer’s time is also valuable.
- Communication: This includes returning phone calls (the same day), and the no brainer of answering your phone when customers call you. The unusual step of being proactive in your correspondence is something that everyone will remember. If you’re a contractor, you should be do the following: (1) Let people know when you’re coming;
(2) if there will be a delay; (3) where you are in the process; and (4) the expected completion date. Note that customers prefer the personal touch of a phone call.
- Completion. Don’t walk out on a job. Finish the work for which you’ve contracted, then decide if you would like to return. Doing anything else is the epitome of unprofessionalism.
- Humility. Quality is in the eyes of the beholder, and not in the arrogant self-perception of the contractor. Ask the person who’s paying if the job is done to their satisfaction. A certain degree of humility, such as “How am I doing?” is helpful in aiding your development as a craftsman.
- Respect. Don’t string people along, treat them however you please, ignore them, and then expect customers to treat you like royalty. People are justified in expressing their frustration at being considered persona non grata.
Going the extra mile for a customer will never get you in trouble – and, it may just garner you a recommendation for future contracts. Bad news travels quickly, and carries more credence than just about anything else people will hear.