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Old 09-26-2013, 08:46 PM
DVS Hardscaper's Avatar
DVS Hardscaper DVS Hardscaper is online now
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I'ce become 'One of Them'

From time to time we contractors share stories on this forum about difficult and unreasonable customers.

Well this time I was a difficult customer.

For the last 10 years my chimney has been cleaned by a really great man whom cleaned my parents chimney when way back to when I was a small child, and he cleaned all our neighbor's chimneys. This man had the monopoly on the county's chimney cleaning, and he even did the cleaning of the chimneys at Camp David. He was very successful, very personable, and had no enemies. He was an icon in the county and his customers were very loyal to him and enjoyed doing business with him. He always showed up in his black chimney cleaner's cape, hat, and gloves. Numerous times the local paper had pictures of him high atop a chimney in his cleaning cape, hat, gloves. Even on his telephone answering machine he sang "cha-chimmeny, cha-chimmeny, cha-chimmeny, I'm so happy you're calling me......" The last time we spoke, we chatted on the phone for a good 45 minutes.

Sadly this man died last fall of cancer.

His widow has recently sold his business to a local, larger company. A rep from the new owner called me last week to ask if I needed my chimney cleaned. I said yes and scheduled at date.

So this afternoon I called to find out if they could tell me what time someone is coming. I felt like I was calling a big call center. The lady was not able to tell me what time anyone was coming, she did not even have tomorrow's schedule, and had no record of my appointment, as she was just a phone person.

So I proceeded to say that I must leave at a certain time and they will need to arrive here with that in mind. I said "we're getting the crown replaced, but they can work on that without me being here because it's outside". She replied "we're replacing the crown?" This was after she just got done asking me what exactly it was they were cleaning!! I said "yes, you are doing a cleaning and replacing the crown, but if you don't know what you're coming here for tomorrow, then I really don't want you people at my house, so just forget it, you can't give me an idea of the time, you don't have a computer program with the schedule, no clipboard hanging on the wall with the schedule, or even a dry erase board with the schedule, and you don't know why you're coming, I can't proceed" and I hung up.

I could never own a business that is run like that. They're going to lose at least 50% of the customers they bought, we're too used to the personalized, first name basis service. I'm sure that lady hung up the phone saying "wow, what an A-- ----", not realizing that their company culture is the culprit.
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My Equipment Brag List:

-1 CAT hat
-16 pairs of Hanes socks (the Heavy Duty model), many with holes.
-12 pairs of underwear, ranging from Joe Boxers to Jockey, many are in need of replacement. (no more photo requests please)
-hundreds of t-shirts. Some w/ grease stains, some torn & tattered.
-7 pairs of jeans, ranging from Levis to Polo to GAP. 1/2 of them have holes in 'em.
-1 belt
-1 pair of old worn out Nike shoes.
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Old 09-26-2013, 09:41 PM
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RedSox4Life RedSox4Life is online now
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I missed the part of the story where you were being difficult?
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Landscape maintenance.
16 years experience, 10 as owner/operator.

And still not rich

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Old 09-26-2013, 09:59 PM
DVS Hardscaper's Avatar
DVS Hardscaper DVS Hardscaper is online now
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Location: County Jail
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedSox4Life View Post
I missed the part of the story where you were being difficult?
That's when I told them to cancel the appt.



I did some research, and it WAS A CALL CENTER!!!

Now, my purpose isn't to whine to anyone here, I just can't believe someone can run a large company like this, with terrible service and be successful, obviously these new owners are successful. If I ran my business like that I would be hung out to dry and the judges would know me by first name!
__________________
"It's You vs. You"

"People Throw Rocks At Things That Shine"


My Equipment Brag List:

-1 CAT hat
-16 pairs of Hanes socks (the Heavy Duty model), many with holes.
-12 pairs of underwear, ranging from Joe Boxers to Jockey, many are in need of replacement. (no more photo requests please)
-hundreds of t-shirts. Some w/ grease stains, some torn & tattered.
-7 pairs of jeans, ranging from Levis to Polo to GAP. 1/2 of them have holes in 'em.
-1 belt
-1 pair of old worn out Nike shoes.
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  #4  
Old 09-27-2013, 09:33 AM
PaperCutter PaperCutter is online now
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 1,443
You're not their target customer. They want someone who is just going to book the appointment and forget about it till the charge shows up on the card. It sucks for the owners if they paid a good bit for the old guys' book of business and all his customers want actual SERVICE, but there are a lot of service businesses that run this way, especially in the DC area.

I met a guy who owns an electrician franchise while at a chamber of commerce event, he seemed cool, so I figured I'd give him a shot. Had a water feature project come up for which I needed an outlet so I called the number he gave me. Operator said it was a $75 trip charge, after which they'd give me an estimate. No, I said, I have the plans that show where the service panel is, where the line penetrates the house, and where the outlet is going. Ok, she said, you can prepay your $75 trip charge and show the plans to the electrician when he gets there. Clearly if what you want to do deviates from the script, they stick to the script.

Just be glad that's not how your day runs, appointment after appointment of anonymous people who don't really care...
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