Wednesday, 24 February 2016

8 most common complaints against plumbers (and how to fix them)

I've researched thousands of online reviews that relate specifically to Plumbers. What I've found is that there are 8 common complaints. Below is a list of the complaints and a quick guide to making sure you never encounter them again.

  •  23.5% of people complain about receiving an overpriced estimate quote, being overcharged or feeling that the price is unreasonable.

FIX: This complaint should be countered by being upfront and detailed. Most complaints simply come from a lack of understanding so be sure to detail invoices/quotes to include all charges instead of just an overall figure. Call out fees, parts and labour should all be itemized. When labour charges relate to time periods be sure to provide your estimated time period to complete the job and if the job requires you to go over that time period be sure to clearly explain why, why it was out of your control and not known before the quote was given.

  • 14.5% of people complain about the poor quality of work or the negligence of plumber to properly complete the job.

FIX: Ensure that your staff are always trained in the best practices. Mistakes can happen so if in the event a job is not fixed to your standards offer to come back and fix it free of charge (or the necessary charges if new parts are required). While fixing mistakes may cost your business money to start off with the positive impressions you leave with customers will repay this investment. Negligence can also be brought about by not leaving the job as found so always look to clean up and leave the job in a position that requires the customer to take no action once it’s complete.

  • 12.5% of people complain about bring disappointed because of the plumber’s lack of knowledge or proper skills.

FIX: Ensure that your staff are always trained in the best practices. Always look to upskill staff. A large part of this complaint stems from communication, a quick explanation of the job and what was/is required will leave the customer feeling satisfied with the plumbers knowledge.

  • 10% of people complain the plumber not showing up on time

FIX: Be punctual and plan in advance. Account for travel time between jobs and always plan ahead and leave extra time where appropriate. If jobs are being booked for a plumber by an admin department then ensure they are both on the same page and in regular contact. If the worst case scenario occurs and it’s impossible to arrive on time give the customer as much notice as possible, apologise and set a new time that is achievable and suits the customer. When an appointment has been rescheduled ensure it’s an absolute priority.

  • 9.5% of people complain about poor communication, receiving a late response or not receiving a call back to a voicemail or message.

FIX: Organization is a huge part of maintaining relationships with customers. If an admin member is handling enquiries ensure that they have all of the job information available and it’s also readily available to the plumber. If you are a sole trader that manages your own appointments it can be difficult to look after the administration aspects in addition to completing the plumbing jobs so use your time effectively, get a phone system that is legal to use while you’re driving and make call backs while driving between jobs. Make call backs a priority to get to as soon as you’re available (Equally, when your on a job focus on the job as customers don’t look kindly at being charged and hourly rate while you’re on the phone to someone else – even if you’re not going to charge them for that time). Another great solution can be using a virtual receptionist or answering service which are available at extremely affordable rates.

  •  6.5% of people complain about not expecting a call out fee.

FIX: Be clear and advise your call out fee policy prior to accepting the job.

  • 5.5 % of people complain about the customer service being poor.

FIX: Customer service is extremely simple yet something that can often be over looked. Smile (no one wants to speak to someone having a bad day), use the customer’s name, clean the work area when the job is completed and don’t complain or criticize the client under any circumstances (Especially if you’re correcting a botched DIY job, simple human nature shows that people hate being criticized and the client will be left frustrated or unhappy even if you’ve done a great job).

  • 5% of people complain about the discourtesy, misconduct or inconsiderate behaviour of the plumber.

FIX: To some extent this complaint generally stems from one of the above complaints. It’s discourteous and inconsiderate to not show up on time, it’s discourteous not to employ the basics of customer service, it’s inconsiderate to leave the job in a mess and a customer generally views misconduct as being over charged so be sure to clearly explain all charges.

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