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Respecting Your Time

I had a call with my doctor last week. It was scheduled weeks ahead for 8:30am that day. I received a text the day before asking me to confirm. It was clear for all involved that this was to be an 8:30am call. The doctor called me just before 10:00am. My frustration, as I waited, brought you today’s column.

One of the most common complaints I hear when I’m chatting with the public is frustration with their ability to make contact, set an appointment and have somebody show up on the given day and time. I wanted to share a bit of perspective and how to avoid this frustration, or at least try.

We all know that stuff happens. Rainy weather slows traffic, a fender bender stops traffic, the job before yours got a late start, and there you sit. Traffic snarls and weather are beyond the control of your service provider. However, reputable service providers that focus on the customer experience have office staff responsible for calling and managing customer expectations about arrival windows.

When you call a service company and get a pleasant greeting from a person that handles scheduling and dispatch, it’s quite likely that you will get a call from that same pleasant person to let you know they are running ahead (it happens) or behind on the day of your appointment. Knowing this, you can adjust your plans. Maybe hit the grocery store now vs. later?

On the other hand, if your initial contact with a service company was a message left and an eventual return call, then it’s quite likely that there is nobody to call you when events impact the schedule on the day of your appointment.

The various in-home service industries (plumbers, electricians, HVAC, house cleaning, window washing, handyman, carpet cleaning and so many more) have many one-truck businesses. Even assuming these are seasoned, licensed & insured professionals (and we can’t assume that, but that’s another discussion) they often don’t have a scheduling and dispatch team back at the office to mange customer expectations. Going with a larger company will often yield both the schedule management team to keep you informed, and they have additional crews/teams which allows for greater coverage options.

I recognize that there is a certain appeal to working directly with the service professional-owner. Whether he’s your handyman, or she’s your house cleaner, you have a relationship and that’s important. Yet, if you establish a relationship with a larger reputable company, you’ll still have local support and in-home staff, but you’ll generally get better communication and an overall better customer experience. This is how they become a ‘larger-reputable’ company.

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