I recently met with a client who was getting her home ready for sale. She was quite outspoken and straight to the point! I just love honest people! So it shocked me when she began complaining about the work she had done by a contractor. My initial thought was that he was obviously not doing a good job! So I was stunned when I asked her what he said about her concerns and she responded that she had never told him! Why not??? He did the work a number of years ago. So why didn’t you address those concerns with him then? She had no answer but continued to complain about him. Is it fair not to say anything to the service provider? … And then continue to complain to other people for years after the fact?
This is where alarm bells go off. There are many types of clients.Most are fair and reasonable. They treat you well, if they feel that you have treated them well, fairly and they are happy with your services. I always ask if my clients were happy with the project, and if they had any concerns or questions. Sometimes we set something up in a certain way because it showcases a specific feature of the room better, drawing attention to a key selling feature. Occasionally a client, who is not accustomed to their home displayed in this manner, or that particular furniture plan is confused, so I’ll explain the logic behind our selections. They almost always agree or at least understand why we do what we do. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of communication to put someone’s concerns at ease.
However, there are always the clients who don’t say anything to the service provider but do not hesitate to speak about the service provider to anyone else who will listen. This is simply inappropriate! I’ve been in business for over 20 years. Most business people genuinely care about the service they provide and want to leave clients happy! Very few business people I have met are not open to questions or addressing concerns their clients may have. However, the client MUST give them the chance to address these concerns. Not giving a service provider the chance to address a problem and then “bad mouthing” them to other service providers, friends, family, etc. is simply bad manners. One thing I have learned is that if the client does this to other service providers, there is a really good chance they will do the same thing to you. Be careful! Reputation goes a long way in a small community. Sometimes, it’s simply better to selectively choose your clients rather than risk opening a can of worms you may never be made aware of, but can affect your business!
I have to say, my heart went out to the contractor. As many of you know my hubby has a Renovations Company and I can only imagine how upset he would be if a client was bad mouthing his company without ever allowing him the opportunity to correct the problem. Without him even being made aware that there was a problem. Again, most people will do their best to make a client happy if they are given the opportunity. It’s much better manners to discuss your concerns with your contractor and give them the opportunity to correct the problem, then everyone leaves happy!
There is always the exception of the rare client who will try to obtain a discount price on the work because they are “not happy”. Again after being in business you can tell these immediately, because they often discuss the “deals” they have gotten on various work around their home. Strangely, it’s never by the same contractor doing the work! They rarely have anything nice to say about anyone they have ever hired. This is another warning that this may be a good client to “pass” on. Unfortunately, not all people are honest and treat others fairly.
As service providers we can protect ourselves by watching for the warning signs and avoiding those situations. If someone complains about previous Service Providers, chances are good, you may be next in the line. If they cannot find a “good” service provider and always have to get a discount for sub-standard work; chances are they will create the same scenario with you.
Thank you to all my wonderful clients!! Know I choose to work with you and I sincerely hope you are pleased with the services we offer! Remember I am always open to addressing questions and concerns! I would much rather you discussed them with me, than others!