I recently went to the doctor for a regular check-up and he saw something that concerned him, requiring some tests. Now, normally, when I’m stressed or can’t get something off of my mind, I just watch some TV, listen to music, play a video game, or do some work to re-focus. But in this case I just couldn’t re-direct my thoughts to anything else. The worst of it was that it was completely out of my hands and there was nothing I could do. If I am stressed about work, I’m able to put it aside because I know I’ll figure it out, be it technical, client relations, or a tough sales meeting. Whatever it is that is bothering me, I can focus on something else to distract me because deep down, I know I’ll solve the problem. Not in this case; I just felt totally helpless. Fortunately, the tests all came back negative; it was just a false alarm.
I couldn’t, however, get the feeling out of my mind. And while I realize there is no comparison between what we do and what a doctor does (as I often say, we aren’t curing cancer here), I do understand why clients get stressed out when things don’t work as they should or when there is a glitch. The main point of frustration, I think, is that they feel helpless. Ten to 15 years ago, most homeowners had a TV and a cable box…maybe a VCR or DVD player, but not a very complicated system. Things have gotten a lot more complex in the intervening years, and people can’t always fix things themselves.
Now think about how central not only AV has become to modern household, but how critical internet access is, as well. I know that if the network goes down in my house, I’ve got a wife and two kids all over me to fix it, which I can do quickly. What about our clients? When their AV system and/or network goes down, they may have lost their main method of decompressing after a tough day, their electronic babysitter to give them a respite from the kids screaming, their family time to gather around the TV to watch a great movie together or even their link to work and their livelihood if the network is down and they do a lot of work from home.
It is easy to say, “We’re not curing cancer” and use that as an excuse to not answer the client call at 8 p.m. or on a weekend, or schedule the service call two or three days out. But put yourself in your client’s shoes and understand how frustrating it must be for them to be without entertainment or a network for days and having no idea how to resolve the issue themselves. And don’t forget that they’ll tell their friends to go with something simple that they can fix themselves.
Putting in a TV, Sonos Playbar, and cable box is pretty easy. And now with even easier consumer-grade networking products coming to market like Eero and Luma, clients may need us less and less. All the more reason to provide amazing service. Like I said, when something goes wrong in my home system (which happens a lot since I use it to beta test everything we do), I work diligently to get it up and running for my family. Treat your clients the same way, treat them like family, and they’ll be loyal to you for years to come.