Earning ‘Extra Mile’ Respect in Custom Installation

7/13/2012 4:58:00 PM
You walk into your office before everyone else, ready to take on the day, and just as you're settling in to get started, the phone rings. It’s a client on the other end of the line, and because technology is not a perfect science, something isn’t working right. (I know you’ve been there.) The client yells and screams at you, demanding that someone be there TODAY!

OR...

In an alternate universe, the same client calls. He explains that up until last night, their system was working perfectly. However, at some point, the remote stopped controlling the TV for some reason. He asks if there is anything that can be done, or if you might be able to walk him through some troubleshooting steps over the phone.

Ask yourself: Who are you willing to go the extra mile for? 

That’s an easy answer, right? 

Now, reverse roles; think about when you are on the other side of that call. 

Last week, I had a good client that decided to move forward with "Phase Two" of a project, and he requested it be taken care of as soon as possible. I made a few calls, surfed a few web pages, comparing prices from Company A to Company B, looking to order the equipment. I personally like Company B better, and they were closer, so I made a call and talked to the rep. 

When I call a rep or a client, I’m a pleasure to talk to. I’m not trying to sound conceited or too confident, but I’m nice to talk to. Talking over the phone is an art. Maybe even a lost art. But you will always get further by being nice, by being kind. Open your call with “I’m really hoping you can help me out,” and you’ll get a lot further than, “You people told me…!”

By being nice, I got the rep to waive the shipping (doesn't always happen, but being nice never hurts), making it the same price as Company A, and ordered the equipment. 

Fast forward one week to the day before the job, and the equipment isn’t in. This is not the time for an email, so I make the call and get my rep on the line—same guy I spoke with last week. 

I know I’m right on this one, I know I placed the order, but that isn’t the important part. This lesson took me a long time to learn. The important part is that I need that equipment. I could yell and scream and tell him he is an idiot—and be totally right about it—but that’s not going to help. Nor will it get me any future favors. 

So I apologized for the confusion (“for any miscommunication,” one of my favorite lines) and remind him of our previous conversation. I tell him “it happens.” He puts me on hold for a moment and then tells me that he can get my order out today and I’ll have it tomorrow. SOLD! Mission accomplished!

I would love to leave the blog there, but this is the real world, and I’m here to tell you the way it really is… He called 10 minutes later and apologized that he was unable to make today’s shipping deadline; I will not have the equipment on time. We did have to push the job back (in the nicest way possible, of course) and the client was okay with it.

But what a much nicer day then everyone screaming at each other, don't you think? 

Heather L. Sidorowicz is project manager/designer for Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY. Learn more about Heather in this guest blog written for fellow Resi blogger, John Sciacca.

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