When you hear stories involving contractors and customers, it seems as though most of the blame is placed on the professional. However, the exchange between the professional and the customer is a two-way process: at times, the customer is at fault for a problem or unnecessary situation. Regardless of whether you’re a new or experienced contractor, you’re bound to come across a problem at one point or another, whether it’s working with difficult or unresponsive customers. The following are some of the most common problems faced by home improvement professionals today and how to fix them:
1. Inability to Describe the Problem
Contractors and professionals often deal with customers who are unable to adequately describe the nature of their problem. Whether from the inability to work around a floor plan or describe the problems of plumbing, it may be difficult to get an idea of what the customer’s needs. However, there are several ways to address the lack of dialogue between the professional and the client. Try to pinpoint the exact issue by using simple dialogue or inquiring to the origin of the problem. Another way is to offer free estimates, which will allow you to get a first hand view of the problem yourself.
2. Lack of Communication
One of the most common problems that emerge between the customer and the contractor is a lack of communication. There are a variety of reasons that can explain this all-too-frequent problem, whether because of poor schedules or shyness. However, it is vital to keep communication as open as possible so there is no opportunity for confusion. Be completely transparent, keeping the customer up-to-date on any progress and changes in the project so they won’t feel disjointed or lost.
3. Explosive Behavior
Have you ever dealt with a customer who has completely lost control, yelling and using foul language? If so, this is an experience you’d probably want to avoid at all costs. The most professional way to deal with an angry customer is to be as level-headed and calm as possible. Clearly state your own facts and side in the matter, and explain your case with reason. Avoid reciprocating the customer’s behavior, as this will completely put you at a disadvantage.
4. Unexpected Results
Contractors may find themselves in a situation where customers are dissatisfied with the results. This is a tricky situation – the professional may have to spend valuable resources and time meeting customer demands, or risk ending the relationship with the client. However, the customer must be able to determine a balance between the two. Regardless of your choice, make sure that you keep interactions as professional and amicable as possible.
5. Lack of Payment
In the worst-case scenario, contractors may have to deal with customers who refuse to pay. Luckily, there are ways in which the professional can prevent such a situation. Make sure that you perform preliminary research on the client, looking for any signs or indicators that the individual is unable to pay. In addition, make sure that you go over the terms of the contract with the individual, signing whenever necessary. In general, the contractor should make sure they perform all the necessary procedures to protect themselves as much as possible.