A customer I could have saved

I always make a meaningful effort to go back and call our previous clients, even the clients we didn’t get and the clients that just went cold.

I make a habit to do this at least once a month and it’s one of the best things for me to do.

Sometimes the calls last 5 mins, others an hour!

It’s always interesting because things change: they have a new job, or just had a baby. The call has even been one of of the biggest turning points because it’s been known to be the “perfect timing” call when we are hired on the spot.

Why do I do it?

I want our company to learn the components that play a part in the decision making process of our customers and find out if we can do any better.

I ask the most painful questions like “What was the reason why you chose not to go with us?”

This question is super important to me, it’s years of asking this question that got us where we today.

But also “How was the experience with your company of choice?”

I want to hear that everything went well, but that not always the case.

Our company is framed around constantly wanting our customers to remove the chance of hindsight, to provide a great experience to the ones that understand the value we offer and sincerely wishing the best of luck to the ones we don’t serve.

Today I had one of those calls, and it has really struck a moment of upset with me because we almost had this one, this client wanted us last year and we wanted them, but we failed to respond fast enough with a quote and they decided to go with someone else. I remember it like it was yesterday.

This call was meant to happen because they missed my call to them and returned the call.

Me: Hey… it’s James from Akiva Projects we were in conversation with you last year and unfortunately we didn’t end up working together but I wanted to check in with you to see how the project went in the end, did you manage to find someone?

Client: “In short it wasn’t a great experience, the company I hired didn’t finish and they just took my money, I wish I could make a claim but I’m just tired of it and I’m unlikely to get my money back”

This potential client, who is a civil engineer, admitted that trying to handle all sorts of tradesmen was tough, I have asked him to come on the podcast to tell us his story.

So many people up and down the country experience something like this but I wish they didn’t.

I’m always asking myself the question of why and how situations like this occur.

Were there enough checks done on the company?

Did you get references from previous customers?

Did you brief the contractor on your expectations?

Was there just a communication break down?

I can’t imagine thinking that there is a single company out there with a clear agenda to steal money from any client.

Even on the rare projects where our very own contractors have let us down, I’m the last man standing, I won’t walk away, it has to be fixed.

The thing is, deciding to contact our company is usually a spontaneous one, when you have decided that you can no longer see the colour of those walls, or you have just moved and the thought of hiring someone seems dreamy but it’s a luxurious decision and should you really …?

The hard truth is you should!

For your own sanity and time.

Unless you are prepared of course to do a stint in project management, learn the trade, the materials used and why, and the order in which things are done.

Everyone is skilled at what they do, doctors, mechanics, dentists, but you hardly ever find the average homeowner under car engine, or giving themselves dental treatment so why on earth do we allow builders to come in, tear your house apart, go home, switch their phone off until the next day, leave thing half done with no explanation, chase them, chase suppliers and just end up in a position where you’re desperately wanting them to leave your home and finish off the rest yourself, scarred from ever hiring someone else again.

When an enquiry comes through it’s exciting and I look forward to speaking with them.

If Akiva can prevent another client experiencing what this client did by any means, I will be happy that we have done our job, if we manage to bring the client on board, even better.

Renovating your home the right way is more serious than you may think, don’t just hire anyone, do your research thoroughly and document everything.