How to Handle a Job Failure Call

FCLC Names Robert Blochinger Chairman
By: Robert Blochinger, FCLC Chairman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flooring installation is a service business. And, as in any service-oriented business, a dissatisfied customer will always make a call beginning with “I’m not happy…” Turning an unhappy customer into a satisfied customer quickly is key.

Consider how one’s reputation can be tarnished by one negative workmanship comment after your company has completed 10 jobs with positive comments about your team’s professional workmanship. Reputation is everything and that is the reason for a quick positive response to any callback.

As a flooring contractor, I have had my share of these calls, mostly due to small issues, like leaving the jobsite without vacuuming, leaving a piece of furniture in wrong place, unfinished tucking at door jamb, or knocking down a brand new mailbox upon leaving the driveway!

And then I’ve had serious calls about why does the seam show, carpet falling apart at the wall, bubbles in the flooring material, rudeness, lack of professionalism and dirtiness, smoking or drinking on the jobsite workers eating food from the customer’s refrigerator.

While, the bigger installation contractors usually have a staff person to handle these calls, the smaller size installation firm must handle this call personally. Whoever’s job responsibility this is, it must be performed with urgency and with compassion. Listening is the first and foremost action you take. Make sure to allow your customer to explain the situation and vent their frustration and concerns. Listen to your customer without interruption. Listening is critical to satisfying your customer. When responding to your customer your tone should be kind, compassionate and believable. Explain that this negative issue is not a reflection of your entire company, just a one-time error. Perhaps your team member just had a bad day.

Be prepared to respond to the following questions from your customer:

Did you listen to what they are saying, do you understand the issue?

Can you schedule a fix/repair right then and there?

Will the repair or fix resolve the concern?

Can you perform corrective action on the first trip?

Is the negative concern a manufacturing issue that needs a third party?

Is it a workmanship issue?

Is the complaint call caused by other trades and are you being blamed since you were the last one at site?

If your crews can’t accommodate the fix, do you have another who can?

Is there a personality issue with the crew?

Is this a customer reaction for a discount on the final invoice?

Job failures are based on presumptions of the person viewing the workmanship, after completion. Customers sometimes believe there is a serious issue at hand and until it is explained by you, the installer. Left unexplained, the situation will fester. That’s why a quick positive response is required, before a small issue becomes really big, out of control and a third-party inspector is required.

Product defects are typically discovered during the installation: pattern run off, un-square tiles, banana board, and color lot changes. If the installer is aware of the entire scope of the job, they can ask the question: “Does this look right?”

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