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An Inside Look at 5 Things That Make Customers Crazy

Part of what I do here at Darren’s is research. And part of that research is finding out what made people do business (or not do business) with you in the past. I typically do this through a series of phone interviews with former clients or leads that never closed. And the things I uncover when people feel they can speak freely will make your head spin.

But you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken right?

I always try to explain to the homeowner that by not making my client aware of their displeasure, they had a 100% chance of their issue going unresolved and that if it was a simple fix, could we just get in there and get it done for them to make them happy. This usually does the trick, and we are even able to build referrals, testimonials and sometimes new jobs from the effort.

I recently completed such an evaluation for a client, and I asked if I could use the “results” of the telephone surveys we got back as training material as long as we left out the names to protect the innocent…or the not so innocent in this case, which they agreed to no problem.

I asked this client in particular to use their information because the major complaints leveled against them where so simple, yet caused most of friction for this contractor while costing them tens of thousands in new business and recommendations.

Like I always say, it’s easier to learn on someone else’s costly mistakes instead of your own, so here are, in no particular order, the “Top 5” complaints from my latest survey.

1. Too many trips back and forth, resulting in wasted time – This contractor kept a skeleton supply of parts on his trucks, making it necessary for his crew to make multiple trips back and forth to either the supply house or to the shop when these parts should have been on the truck in the first place.

2. People felt taken advantage of with their time – Giving people a window of arrival of “Monday” is not going to do it in this day and age. If you can’t figure out how to provide appointments or estimates or whatever it is you do in 2-hour blocks, then you are losing business.

3. Voice mail hell – Too many of this client’s customers where finding themselves stuck in voicemail hell. And when it is 10 degrees outside and the heater is broken, you want to talk to someone…fast.

4. To stay on phones for a moment – For every call that comes to you from a client or customer, you owe them one call back. I know it sounds obvious, but in our hurried lives, how many times has someone left 2 or 3 messages for you to call them back? Insert honesty here!

5. Sticker shock – People don’t want to get hit over the head with an unexpectedly large bill at the end of a service call or job, and they are catching onto the “time & material” game some contractors play. Sure they will pay it, but you can forget any referrals. Instead, give people straight forward pricing before you start working.

6. Bonus tip – Offer an alternative – Many people, even in a jam, will give you a “let me think about it” answer when presented with a single option. Empower your clients or customers by giving them multiple choices to doing business with you. That way, they feel better about their decision and feel better about choosing you to do it!

So, I hope these simple yet obvious tips help you land your next client or customer. Or at least force you to remember the little things about customer service.

3 responses to “An Inside Look at 5 Things That Make Customers Crazy”

  1. Chris Spoerl Avatar
    Chris Spoerl

    Working on the front lines of customer service with homeowners can be very frustrating. I think setting the right expectation with the customer is key. One valuable lesson I learned from my mentor Nick, was to “answer your phone ” and always call people back with good or bad news. Be prepared is the motto of the Boy Scouts, and one all business owners should adopt.

  2. Shawn Warren Avatar
    Shawn Warren

    Always answer my phone unless my hands are full or in the shower…Definitely call back, a person rarely gets my answering service. Sometimes it’s I that is stuck in VM pit. This is one of my pet peeves.
    Carving out a niche for sticking close to estimate, detailed communication, customer satisfaction queries as job progresses and remain true to my word are just a few of my ‘musts’ in my business model.

    I owe you a testimony. Lot of stuff going on, still tweaking my site. Good News, pics straightened out on ‘Places’ This morning I noticed I’ve gained some of my old high ranking spots back on ‘places’ 1-5 on choice keywords…finally seeing light at the end of this dark year long tunnel

    1. Darren Avatar

      Good to hear about your Places page. No worries on the testimonial Shawn, when you get to it is great, I appreciate your business! As far as your business model, that makes good business sense, which is why you so good at what you do!

      Thanks for stopping by!