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What’s the difference between repeat business and never being hired again? The answer’s easy: A single phone call.

I need another outlet in my shop, plus a pair of light switches, so I called the guy who wired my entire shop and office (plus, later, a smaller wiring task), and he told me he could come at the end of the week. Perfect.

As arranged, I called him Friday morning and we set a time for after lunch. The hour came and went and he didn’t show. I called and found out his Friday morning job turning into something bigger and he couldn’t get away. OK, it happens. A call would have been nice, though. We set up a time for the following Monday.

Monday came and went. No electrician. No call. I reached him in the evening and he apologized profusely, and we arranged for him to come the following afternoon. He said he’d call to give me a solid time once he saw the extent of his morning job. No call.

I let a few days go by and tried to reach him, and went straight to voice mail. Tried again the following morning with the same result. And again the following day. Three messages, zero return calls.

OK, my job was small for him, a couple hundred bucks at most. I understand that and would have been willing to work with his schedule if he’d just taken the time to communicate. I guess he figured he wasn’t losing anything by not bothering to give me the time a day though he surely knew he’d lost me as a customer. But he lost more than that.

I was pleased with his original work and had recommended him to friends not once, but twice. But by losing me as a customer he also lost my recommendations. In fact, a neighbor is about to completely finish his basement and asked who did my wiring.

Needless to say, I didn’t recommend my guy for that job. In fact, I told my neighbor to avoid him, and told him why. So, instead of my fast couple-hundred-buck job and a major wiring for a new customer, my former electrician gets nothing.

He could have prevented that, and all it would have taken was a phone call.

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