Dave Chace (
firstname.lastname@example.org) is president of Training Allies, a CE-focused training firm in Philadelphia. It’s the little things that count. Naturally, you take pride in the quality of workmanship you bring to the systems you design and install, and you put immense care and effort into building a system that will blow the customer away with its performance and ease of use. However, it’s easy to lose sight of the simple gestures that convey to the client that you’re being considerate of them, and showing the utmost respect to them and their home.
Here are a few key reminders, along with some true stories to underscore the importance of following these simple guidelines.
Where Do You Park?
While at the job site, do you routinely park in the customer’s driveway? If so, don’t. It’s inconsiderate, and can cause the customer to be inconvenienced, or could even potentially damage their property (think leaking fluids).
Last year we were having some work done on our house, and the contractor parked in our driveway. My wife’s car was in the garage, and was blocked in by the workers’ van. As luck would have it, she got a call that my son had been in an accident at school, and she needed to get there right away. In a hurry to leave, she first had to track down the contractor, who in turn had to climb off a ladder, find his keys, and move the van so she could get out. An unnecessary inconvenience at an important moment–one she still talks about, although the gutter work that was done that day has long since been forgotten.
Unless it’s absolutely unavoidable, stay out of the driveway and park in the street instead.
Where Do You Go?
All customers’ homes have bathrooms, but avoid using them. Have a mind to go before you get to the job site or wait until lunch or end of the day and hit the local gas station or McDonald’s. Why? Because while most customers won’t mind, some will find it unsettling or even downright offensive– particularly if confronted with the eye-watering aftermath of Handy Andy’s potty break.
In an infamous yet true story, one unfortunate rookie installer mistook a bidet for a toilet; and somehow determined this was where he should sit and take care of business. I’ll leave it to you to imagine the disastrous results when he tried to flush.
What’s That on Your Shoes?
Always remove your shoes, or wear shoe covers, upon entering the home. It’s as simple as that. Again, lots of customers won’t care, but many of them do, and will notice and appreciate your respect for their home.
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Always remove your shoes, or wear shoe covers, upon entering the home. It’s as simple as that. A few years ago a woman wrote to my former company to express her satisfaction for the work we’d done installing her home entertainment system. In the letter, she stated that the primary reason we got the $30K-plus job was because she was so surprised and delighted when the salesperson donned shoe covers when he first arrived at the home.
You just never know what small gesture will make a big impression on your clients. So make a point to do the right thing–the little things– at every opportunity. This includes other simple things like covering the customer’s furniture before starting work in that room, and leaving the work zone cleaner than when you arrived. For instance, don’t just vacuum the drywall dust where you installed the keypad, vacuum the entire room.
This also includes the cardinal rule: answer the phone! Or at the very least, call people back. The single greatest insult you can pay any human being is to ignore them. So why do so many contractors choose to do just that to their customers?
It’s a given that designing and installing the ideal system will make a great impression on your clients. Just remember that sometimes what makes the biggest impression has nothing to do with the gear, and can be the easiest part of the whole job.