7 sins of a plumbing customer

The 7 deadly sins of a plumbing customer

Me and the team here at the Italian Plumber always do our very best to make our customers happy, and ensure that they are truly satisfied with the services we provide. But like any job, there are always going to be times when customers can become – shall we say – ‘challenging’.

A few months back, I wrote the 7 deadly sins of a cowboy plumber, so I thought it only fair to take a light-hearted look at the other end of the spectrum. Here are some of the characters that can make our lives a tad difficult.

1. The trickster
We make it clear from the very first call, that we only take credit or debit card payments.
So, it can be particularly taxing when we turn up, complete a job, and the customer asks “how much for cash?”

Cash is not an incentive for us to give a discount. Plus, we don’t have a problem with paying tax, VAT, or any other legitimate cost. It’s just part and parcel of running a business.
We politely tell them why we can’t accept it, but they look at us as if we’re refusing a million-pound bribe.

2. The distracted
Many landlords use us to quickly deal with issues within their rental properties.
It’s an important part of our business, and we happily serve this market.

However, the number of times we’ve turned up to meet a landlord, and they have either forgotten the keys, or simply brought the wrong ones, is quite staggering. All we can do is show patience, and ask that they double check, next time round… which they rarely do.

3. The dreamer
We’re a few minutes away from a customer’s home, when we receive a text saying: “Just popping out to get milk – back in 5 mins”. No big deal, we can wait a few minutes. It happens.

Thing is, five minutes turns into ten minutes, then twenty, and so it goes on. Before you know it, we’re half an hour in, waiting in the van, and the customer turns up with a full week’s worth of shopping – completely oblivious to the fact that we’ve been waiting.
When we ask that they pay for waiting time, you’d think that we’d suggested euthanising their beloved pet dog.

4. The hoverer
Concentrating on a boiler with all the focus of a scientist attempting to split the atom, we look up, and there’s the customer, bent over looking at everything we’re doing. They are so close, you can feel their coffee breath on the back of your neck.

No matter how diplomatically you ask for a ‘little bit of space’, they continue to watch your every move. It’s so off-putting and claustrophobic, but no matter what you do, they remain there without a care in the world.

5. The chatterbox
There you are, pulling up floorboards, frustratedly trying to get to some pipes that haven’t seen the light of day since WW2, when all you can hear is the customer telling you about the last time they went on holiday. Or more to the point, how they haven’t had one for years, and they are in desperate need of one.

You sympathetically make the right noises, then they shift up a gear and tell you about the time they had their appendix removed. I wouldn’t mind, but invariably it was 20 years ago.
It’s a distraction you just don’t need and leads to the job taking much longer and delaying your arrival at the next job.

6. The coffee connoisseur
Now, I do like a lovely cup of coffee – after all, I am Italian. And although I’m happy with an instant, when a customer says they have something ‘a bit special’ brewing, I’m all for it.

However, there are times when a cup of coffee can be so strong, it skyrockets my blood pressure, makes me shake like a freezing puppy, and gets me blocking the toilet, instead of unblocking one.

7. The ignorer
After installing a brand-new boiler, we are completely aware of the warranty status, and the times it’ll be due for a service – usually annually. Because of this knowledge we will email the customer with plenty advance warning, and recommend that they get the boiler serviced in order to maintain the warranty.

Cue irate customer, phoning us to complain that their prized boiler has gone wrong, and that they have just been told that it won’t be covered under the guarantee.

Apparently, it’s all our fault, even though we did send them multiple reminders.
They reliably inform us that they will never use us again, slamming the phone down in the process. Five minutes later, we get the call: “Can I book a plumber, please?”

That’s it. Hope you enjoyed this round up. I’m sure if you are reading this you are nothing but lovely, easy-going, and a joy to work for. So do please get in touch if there’s anything that we can fix, service, or inspect. Until next time… ciao for now.

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