For years now, as the owner of Central Texas Tree Care here in the Austin area, I have had customer after customer, time and time again, tell me how bad customer service is when dealing with local contractors. Yes, there appears to be a big black cloud of bad customer service hanging over Central Texas. Let me preface this by saying that not all businesses give poor service; I don’t. But, read on and you’ll see what I mean.
People here call contractors who either simply do not call them back at all, or just as frequently, they make an appointment and simply don’t show up. If they do actually show up, often they still fail to provide the customer with an estimate at all. Even when they do provide an accepted estimate, they may not show up to begin the work on time, or at all, or it takes twice as long to complete the job than what they tell you it will. I have heard many stories about contractors walking off the job halfway through with money in hand and never returning.
For years, I always did the work around the house myself. I am not very good at construction and have no patience, but in my younger years when I had more energy I bought a HUD home and fixed it up. It wasn’t perfect, but I sold it in three years and turned enough of a profit to put a down payment on a new house in a nicer neighborhood before my kids started school.
After seven years in the new house, we needed some simple handy work done: weather stripping and the front door lock replaced, some crown molding painted, etc. After calling several Austin businesses and getting no response, we finally decided to try a service that a friend had used and was happy with. Well, the guy showed up and was very congenial. We had a good conversation and I told him what we wanted to have done. He was very passionate about how larger competitors were taking his business away. After an hour or so, he drove off promising an estimate right away. (Keep in mind that this was the summer of 2009 at the height of the recession when no one had any work). Can you see where I am headed with this? No estimate. We called and no return phone call. This was a referral.
Perplexed, I started asking my customers about their experiences. I am in front of easily 30-40 people a week, many are repeat customers I have known for years. I started to see a local pattern of terrible customer service by contractors everywhere I went. Not only had almost everyone I talked to had bad experiences, but most never got return calls or when they did no one showed up. Many people gave up and resorted to doing the work themselves.
I am continually perplexed whenever I hear about this lack of customer follow-up and service. A service business is called a ‘service’ business for a reason. I am extremely passionate about customer service. Check our reviews on Angies list, and you will see that we are a preferred customer, and are on their ‘A’ list based on customer reviews only. Our customers generally don’t review us because they get great service. We are trying to change that. If you are on our long list of satisfied customers, please take some time out to give us a review. It will be greatly appreciated!