In my office, we can always tell when the weather warms up because the following phone calls and scenarios always present themselves.
Sneaky spigot issues
The phone rings, and a panicked homeowner exclaims, “There is a huge water leak in my basement!”
The conversation then goes something like this:
“Has the water stopped?”
“Did you wash your car or water plants today?”
“Why, yes. How did you know?”
“Because the spigot or silcock froze and now it needs to be replaced.”
“How could it freeze? It’s 72 degrees out!”
“Yes, I know. Sometime last fall, the hose wasn’t disconnected, and it froze and broke the spigot or silcock.”
The conversation continues with the homeowner going on about how this is obviously a defect in the home, and someone should come out immediately to fix it and clean up the water.
It is often difficult to explain to the homeowner that the only way a silcock breaks is if a hose is left on when the temperature drops and it freezes because it can’t drain. If you are managing this process in-house, best of luck—you may be paying your plumber every spring to replace a number of these. It is possible the plumber will be asked to mow the grass on the way out, too.
The phone rings again. An angry homeowner insists, “My air conditioner is not working, and this is an emergency!”
The conversation goes something like this—usually on a Friday at 4:48 p.m.
“Thank you for calling to let us know. Because your house was finished and closed over the winter, the A/C could not be charged. We will send a work order out to the HVAC sub first thing on Monday.”
“Monday? This is an emergency!”
“The subcontractor is not available after hours for A/C repairs like they are for heating issues. Monday will be the soonest they can get there.”
Many homeowners are under the impression that what they consider to be an emergency must be an emergency for everyone. The reality is there is a defined list of items—six, to be specific—that are 24/7 emergencies. Builders know that getting trades to respond numerous times, after hours, for non-emergency situations is a battle they’re not likely to win.
This is just a highlight of typical warm-weather calls you may receive from homeowners who haven’t been educated about maintenance issues they can expect in their new homes.
Customer service is an important service of each company. Customers need to be made to feel as if they are the most important people when they contact your company.
Take a moment to determine their issues, concerns and/or situations. We do not deal with problems. We deal with issues, concerns and/or situations.
When a customer shares their concerns. Please let them finish their conversation. Make notes.
Upon determining the final list, please repeat it to the customer so everyone has the proper information.
Please maintain a mirror next to your phone. When the phone rings look into the mirror and smile. Maintain the smile during the conversation. Please remain calm. These points will help a disgruntled customer become more relaxed with you.
Please share how you are going to help the customer in a timely manner.
Continue to follow up with the customer until all complaints are resolved positively for all parties.