Be thrifty, but don’t be nasty

A new kind of customer complaint

Here at The Italian Plumber, we’re experiencing a bit of a new phenomenon that I thought would be interesting to talk about.

Dealing with customer complaints is just part and parcel of running a business.
It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are, there will always be times when a customer is unhappy with your service, product or offer. Luckily, they are few and far between and we have hundreds of 5-Star reviews to prove our commitment to good customer service.

Sometimes their dismay is entirely justified, other times it’s just a reason for them to vent life’s frustrations. Either way, we always do our best to resolve these things with empathy, and in a professional manner.

It’s currently October 2022, and it is entirely understandable that people need to be more careful with how they spend their money. It’s essential that we all get good value, wherever we choose to shop. And, we should be able to trust those we do business with.

As a plumbing company, when working with a customer, our process is pretty standard. We get told/identify the problem, we provide a quote, and the customer either accepts or refuses. All pretty simple.

But lately, we’ve been attending jobs and carrying out the work. The customer seems perfectly happy, and so the plumber collects the payment – be it a deposit, or in full – and then sets off to the next job. And this is where it all goes a bit south, so to speak.

The customer calls the office to literally say: “I don’t want to pay that much.”
It baffles us. We ask why the change of heart, and why they didn’t discuss this with the engineer at the time. We never really get a coherent answer.

They don’t actually justify why they should get any money back in the first place. It’s just so brazen. We explain that we never overcharge anyone, and our engineers are some of the most trusted and honest in the business. We charge what we charge so we can pay their wages, pay our back-office staff and rent and, God forbid, actually try to make a little bit of profit at the end of the day.

Invariably, once we explain all this, they accept it without further argument. But the fact is, we’ve then spent a load of additional time that eats away at that initial profit. It’s so bizarre.

We honestly appreciate that people need to save money, but no one forces them to go ahead with anything, and our engineers are more than happy to give a full and frank explanation of the work that’s been carried out. Plus, everything gets explained upfront anyway.

We don’t blame anyone for wanting the best deal they can get; but people need to respect that we are just doing our best. If this carries on, we’ll need to seriously re-think some of our processes, which we don’t want to do.

Luckily, most of the people we deal with are absolutely brilliant. They understand that ours is not always the easiest of tasks, and they treat us with the respect that we show them.

So, if you ever feel that a price could be better, or that a job hasn’t been explained to your satisfaction, please mention it before agreeing to go ahead with the work. It will save of lot of time and hassle for both parties.

Until next time. Ciao for now.


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