In this episode WE GET FIRED from a job! I talk about what happened, and how we lost the business, and what my plan is to gain it back.
This job should have been a dead-ringer. The customer was a referral from someone else in their neighborhood, we had a killer conversation when we spoke to schedule the work, and we closed the business...all we had to do was show up and kill them with kindness.
Well, we scheduled the job in the morning after another "quick" job which ended up not being so quick. This made the boys late. That's usually never an issue, we've called customers before and gave them a head's up that we were going to be a little late because of another job running long. There's rarely an issue with this.
Well on this particular day the customer had taken the day off to be home so we could get all of the work done in one day. We didn't know this. When they arrived they went over all of the work with the customer and it was a lot more work than we anticipated, so they asked if it was ok to split the work over two days...they we're very unhappy with this question...rightly so. In addition, the customer tried telling my guys about a weird issue they were having with their ADT security system acting up when they turned on some local switches near the alarm display panels. That's a bit odd, ADT security systems are all low voltage except for a 120v plug usually located in the attic. Other than that they're separate from the rest of the electrical system. My guy knew this and suggested that they didn't have anything to do with another, which was very quickly perceived as arguing by the customer. My guy called me and asked if I could stop what I was doing and come out there and help to make sure it gets done in one day and help iron out the issue.
On top of it, my guys didn't have a chance to eat lunch and it was lunchtime so they got onsite and right away said they were going to go grab some lunch and come back....big NO-NO after being an hour late already.
So...she calls me. She says that she's disappointed that I'm not there personally to do the work. She hired me, not my guys and she thought it strange that I would send other guys to do work for me. I explained that is how electrical, plumbing, hvac, etc companies work. A Master Electrician has several guys that work for him, and everybody does the work. I explained I can't be at every job, I take the jobs that require more experience with troubleshooting electrical problems, and let my guys do installs. She explained that she didn't feel that my guys were qualified or knowledgeable enough to be unsupervised and asked what their experience levels were. I answered honestly, but the customer wasn't happy, so she said that after everything she wants to go with another company.
WE GOT FIRED!!!
I've been doing this nearly a decade and I've never been fired, nor had a bad customer experience. This hit me hard. I reacted fast by calling my guys and telling them to pack up and meet me at the shop. When they got there they had tucked tails and seemed both pissed off and dissapointed. They were also extremely confused as to what happened so fast. I bought them both lunch and sat them down and talked about everything. I explained that this was my fault for not having all of the right information about the job, and for throwing them into a situation without knowing the details. I explained that I'm not upset with them, but that how they interact with customers goes a long way. It can make or break our business. I explained that their experience level is obvious, and that they need to try to project confidence and humility when talking to customers and not argue; rather just take note of their issues and say "we'll look into it." Sometimes speaking less is better.
After lunch we bro-hugged, and I sent them to another job. I went over to the customers' house to apologize in person, but they weren't home. I called but got no answer, so I left a voicemail apologizing and telling them this is not the norm. I offered to do all of the electrical work for free if they would allow us the chance to show them what we're really like. Hopefully they call back and give us a shot!
Please let me know what you think, or share your story if this has happened to you.