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Tip Of The Day - 12/7/05 - Employee or Client?

Discussion in 'Industry Surveys & Polls' started by Sean Adams, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    There are two different schools of thought on this one and I wanted to know what everyone here thought....

    Some say the customer is always right - no matter what.

    Others say (especially in this industry) that good help is hard to come by and you should make your employees #1 and your clients #1a

    So here's the situation.... one of your better employees (dedicated, hard working, reliable, knoweldgeable) upsets or has a disagreement with one of your clients, and you need to step in and solve the problem.

    Depending on your decision, you will lose one of them. Side with the client, the employee feels unappreciated and leaves you. Side with the employee and the client fires you and makes it their immediate life's work to let everyone they know how evil and horrible you are.

    What do you do?
  2. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

    I would tend to believe if you are doing outstanding work with great employees, customers and potential customers would know this. That said if an agreement simply cannot be reached that satisfies the client, I would stand behind my employee 100% (this is assuming employee is in the right). IMO if the employee was in the right and did not overstep their bounds, client cannot be satisfied, yet you are well known for outstanding service, the dissatisfied clients word is not going to hold much validity anyway.

    IMO let your work ethic and quality and the quality of your employees stand on their own merits.

    I should add though Sean you really didn't provide enough details as to what the "disagreement" was based on to make a clear call either way. My response is based upon having the knowledge the employee was 100% in the right. I would always back an employee if they are in the right, now if I found that employee was blowing smoke up my wazoo then bye-bye.
  3. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    Good point.... OK here is the scenario

    Employee shows up at client's home to aerate...employee claims that he performed service properly - plugs pulled at proper depth, criss cross pattern performed...client claims he was not thorough enough and wants him to do it again...employee says he is on a schedule and assures the client he did it right...client refuses to pay....you go to inspect and see that it appears to have been done properly... in the process the client throws a few accusations around that the employee "ripped him off" - employee takes offense to it and walks away from client
  4. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Great employees are hard to find Great clients are hard to find and keep. So I would try to compromise and do a little more myself to appease the client, if that did not work then it adios. Its easier to have a great employee keeping 100 other great clients happy, than trying to replace the employee to keep 1 client happy
  5. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

    ok if I were there, inspected the job and could tell it had been done properly I would attempt to point out to the client that the service had indeed been completed to specs, but that in the interest of good relations I would be willing to mark the price down. I would further explain to the client that it is not appropriate to address employee performance issues with an employee, if there is a problem with an employee call me direct and I will deal with it. I still maintain that if the employee were unequivocally in the right I will stand behind him, employee lies to me then yep, bye-bye.

    Now if this flat out does not appease the client then I'm sorry I hate to lose you as a client over this, but if thats the way it has to be then thats the way it will be. I like to believe our quality of work, reliability, work ethic, in short our overall reputation and dedication will win us far more clients than this one can lose for us. In fact I would not lose any sleep over this one client running around trying to sour our rep.
  6. Cooper725

    Cooper725 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    Had something happen some what like what is written above. Situation is employee and customer knew each other and did not get along. Small town. Customer stated that if that certain employee came anyware near there property again that they would cancel service. This guy is a great worker, totally trustworthy, in fact the reason he was doing this lawn was that it was small and he could mow and edge all by himself. I usually send him out in a truck with just a trimmer and push mower and do about 8 of these small lawns. Always done in a timely fashion and never had to check if there done right or not. So I just ended up doing the lawn myself and never sent him there again. But in the situation that is written above I would most likely side with my employee because he was just doing the job in which I instructed him to do. I would tell the customer politely that I am sorry that they feel that way and what should I do to make them happy. I wouldnt have that employee work at that site again and deal with it myself. IMO.
  7. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    all this over a $30-$60 aeration? i choose option c)-tell client to go screw himself, pat my man on the back, buy him lunch
  8. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

    you'll reach 10000 in no time
  9. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    Green-Pro - I like what you said and I agree. Cooper, sounds like you found a way to handle your situation. Bobby... nevermind.
  10. zturncutter

    zturncutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    With all the hurricane reconstruction in Florida right now good, honest, hardworking laborers are almost impossible to find and this customer is someone I do not want as a customer. I would tell the customer the job was done correctly and I want my money now. At the same time I would be complementing the employee in front of the customer and then taking him to lunch with part of the check I just collected.:angry:

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