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Jon’s Journey Episode 8: Why I would never call this plumber again
This is Jon’s Journey: The Plumber.
If you recall, Jon’s Journey is my experience as a customer of trades and seeing if we can take any lessons from that to help you make your businesses better and in my role as a business coach for trades business owners.
I’ve been looking for a plumber
Recently, we had called to hire a plumber. It was a few small jobs: taps are dripping, toilet is dripping during the night, the hot water is bloody hot (needing one of those valves that makes it not so hot). I called my friend Patrick. I know he works as a plumber and he made a recommendation. We called the guy, did a little bit of jiggery-pokery, managing, arranging dates and times for him to come over and have a look. He came over, had a lovely chat, walked around the house, and gave me a verbal $350 quote. We booked in a time and then fiddled about with the time again. I didn’t really mind that. It’s a small job. I said it wasn’t urgent. I work from home so I’m always here. So I didn’t really care that it got shifted.
The plumber came but…
The day comes. Somebody else comes. Not the guy I’ve met, but another person. This would be all right but he didn’t say anything. It didn’t matter because he was also nice. We chatted, he said, “I hear you need some taps and a toilet drips” and I told him basically what the work I wanted doing again even though I’ve explained it once. That was a bit odd. Anyway, he does the work and off he goes.
Michelle, my partner comes home and says, “He’s forgotten the tap in the laundry. It’s still dripping”.
I had to call up the first guy, left him a message. He sent me a text.
The second guy came again and did the tap that he has forgotten. The Job is done. I got a text saying, “What’s your email address?”
I got an email for the bill and I’ve had no communication from the boss. No apology that says, “We forgot the job”. No reassurance that I’m not getting extra charges.
So I get my bill. It’s higher than what I was quoted, $450 not $300. Not enough to upset me, not clear on the bill I’ve paid for their f**kup and I’m not bothered enough to follow it up. Michelle’s a bit bothered. She’s told our friend Patrick.
So what’s the lesson?
The lesson is Jon can’t be bothered. He doesn’t like ringing people up and saying “You made a mistake.” I don’t care enough to want to do that. But I probably won’t call him next time I want a job done, despite the fact that he was nice. He was a bit disorganized. He didn’t use systems. He didn’t communicate.
These are the important lessons that I want to say to you: you need systems in your business so that you can avoid this stuff happening. He should have written down what I wanted to do. He should have given me a written quote. It doesn’t take very long. His guy should have turned up with a written work order or job card, or on a computer, iPad, or on a phone. Then I should have gotten my quote, my price, my invoice that was based on the quote knowing the work had been done because he ticked it all off. It should have gone smoothly with some discipline, but it didn’t. So the consequences aren’t dire, but I probably won’t call him again and I probably won’t refer him to my friends because it was a bit rubbish.
So discipline being the first lesson and communication being the second. Given that he made a mistake, wasn’t disciplined, or was a bit slack and didn’t do what he should have done, he probably should have called me and said, “Sorry about that Jon” and reassured me that I wasn’t paying extra or whatever.
Recommended Reading: Jon’s Journey Episode 4: Are You Doing Your Sales Process Properly?
And he didn’t do that either. Presumably, he was a bit chicken, he’s not disciplined, and he didn’t have systems.
Get your systems in place
This is my advice to you as a business coach:
- Write systems
- Use the technology
- Use checklists
- Be disciplined in your dealings with people.
Don’t go about $300 then send a bill for $450. Have a system and do not allow your guys to forget to do work. Don’t put it on me to make sure you don’t forget to do work. We wrote it down once and we shouldn’t have written it down further. I shouldn’t have to go through it twice with you and take the responsibility for making sure you don’t forget to do the work that I’ve asked you to do and I’m paying to do. That’s not fair. It’s not good customer service.
Here’s what you should do
- Put systems in your business
- Be disciplined. (Be disciplined around this stuff around your interactions with customers.)
- Write things down
- Use the technology
This is what I do. I’m a business coach. I help people implement systems so they’re growing, scaling and making more money. If it’s hampered by things like this, going wrong, you won’t scale.
There are four ways you can engage with me:
1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me.
2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers.
3. Attend my next Tools Down workshop.
4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.
See you later.