In the same sense that you will talk about a doctors “bedside manner,” many contractors are rated on their customer service. So many factors can contribute negatively or positively to a consumer’s perception about a contractors’ customer service.
Does he believe the customer is always right? Does he emphasize service and value a trusting relationship with you? Does he listen to and understand your needs and wants and works with you to ensure that the plans accurately reflect your expectations? When you discuss your priorities, does the contractor show enthusiasm for your ideas and suggest ways to make them work within your budget? Professional contractors can make suggestions or give examples of how their company has solved similar issues for other customers. They take the time to establish a personal rapport with you.
Does the contractor engage in high-pressure sales tactics? How do you feel about working with this person? Is he honest, trustworthy, sexist, racist, chauvinist, ageist or judgmental? In short, do you feel comfortable with the person? It is next to impossible to have a healthy, constructive working relationship with someone you dislike. The construction process can be tough enough by itself, without adding some of these painful dimensions. This is not saying you have to be friends with the person you are asked to deal with, but shouldn’t there be mutual respect and a good working relationship?
A remodeling project that is not carefully planned can cause real headaches for the customer in terms of mess, delays, and missed deadlines. You will have to work with, spend time with and interact with the contractor on a regular basis throughout the duration of your project. It is worth a little time at the beginning of the process to choose a contractor that provides great customer service, has a sense of all of the elements needed in the relationship and with whom you get along.
Unacceptable: The contractor is rude, does not listen well, interrupts often and is trying to control the whole relationship. There is uneasiness about all of the interactions you have had with him.
Good: The contractor understands that he has been asked to make an improvement on your home and is very appreciative of the opportunity to work with you. He takes the time to get to know and understand you and tells you who he is so you can visualize your future working relationship.
Better: In addition to the above, the contractor finds out how you make decisions, what your taste is, what your long-term commitment to the house is, what your values are and what your budget is in an effort to better serve you and create a successful project. He understands how to be in relationships and he values what good relationships contribute to the process.
Best: In addition to the above, the contractor has programs in place and ongoing training for all employees at all levels so that this kind of customer service becomes a part of the company culture. These values have been clearly communicated to the trade partners and suppliers also.