Dealing with "that" client
When I started my own business after about a few months I realized a hard lesson.
This was a hard lesson at first and made me question many things, were our systems wrong? Did we do something or not do something we were supposed to do? Was our work just not great on some jobs? What broke down?
Not everyone respects the other person or has the same values as I do or our employees do.
I went back and adjusted our systems, policies, checklists only to find we would still have some issues with only a few jobs but those issues would seem like the end of the world even though they were in the grand scheme of things small.
So what is the problem? I speak to many other businesses small and large and they all have the same issues whether they show on the outside or not. One company shared some horrible reviews and emails that are nowhere to be seen on their website or Google, I find that as a cost of business they have budgeted in dealing with these reviews and tough customers.
Their approach was to just manage the bad ones because they know their systems are tight, some customers there is no system in the world that will put a stop to the complaining.
We have a very tight system where the office will call at the start of the job, a few days in and at completion even while the painters and project manager are on site doing the same and still we have clients attempt to go directly around them to get to me. Although I care about each and every job it is just impossible for me to manage a job site especially when we have very qualified people in place to do this. When I hire someone to work around my home, I trust that they hired the correct staff to handle my project, if something would happen would follow THEIR correct chain of command, not the one I believe is right.
We recently had a client who interfered on a very delicate epoxy floor job, he felt he could manage the project, dictate to the painters how to apply and wanted to help every step of the way, all the while leaving emails and voicemails on how upsetting this was to him. There was a material issue which was a small inconvenience but one that we corrected without any question along with the manufacturer of that material. This still was not good enough and he became verbally abusive via email and phone calls and to quote "this has been the worst thing that has happened in my life"
Now if this has been the worst thing that has happened he should thank god for that. Comparing a paint issue to other serious things that could happen in someone's life makes us shake our heads.
One other issue we have is clients simply do not read their contract and I am not speaking about any fine print, we are talking about the bold scope of work, what will be done and not done. This is listed many times through the process, during a walk through before a project starts and available every step of the way.
Even when an issue may pop up and we explain this process some people, usually the same type of irrational person will push back from any of this and expect the painters to do anything they need to do regardless of how much it costs the company to do it and not charge them a dime for it.
This me attitude is the worst thing about being a business owner, we want nothing else than to give an awesome job and put a smile on our clients face, but when we meet these people who knock that smile off even before we walk through the door it brings the office, painters, and supervisors down and they want nothing more than to finish these jobs and move on. We also add these clients to our do not work for list. I should charge other companies for this list it would save a ton of time and money for them.