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Customer handling.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by snowslayer, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. snowslayer

    snowslayer Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    Hi all,
    I took over my father in law's snowplow business last season. We have 5 trucks, 300 driveways and about 8 small commercial lots, the drivers all have at least 5 years experience and nothing has changed in the running of the routes.

    My problem is complaining customers and how to deal with them. Last year we tried to answer every phone call and bent over backwards to please every customer and in a lot of cases we thought they were being unreasonable but we did what we could. My father in law in his successful 30 years of plowing said that he would just let the phone ring and then deleted the messages and he mostly always got his repeat customers back next season.

    I was thinking that answering the phone would provide better service and make the customers feel more aware of the conditions, time of snowfall e.t.c but now I'm ready to tell them to go to h***. Most of them are the same dozen or so who complain but work is work.

    So my question is how do you deal with unreasonable complainers and still remain professional and not die of stress after 10 seasons?
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Fine 12 new customers to replace them. What type of complaints are they?
  3. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    80/10/10 rule

    10 percent love you

    80 percent are good and don't complain

    10 percent complain about everything

    You can try to replace you complainers with other customers, but always expect some to complain - just because they can. It's their right, because they woke up this morning.
  4. treesnsnow

    treesnsnow Member
    Messages: 79

    I had a customer 2 years ago which called me up one morning around 10-11am stating she doesn't understand why i havent been there yet to clear her driveway. and she wanted to go out and get her nails done. she had 5-6 inches in her driveway when she called i said to her i was there at 6:40am and yes i know it snowing real hard and has been all night and day, and that she was next on the list to be cleared out agian. her response was well dont think your going to get paid for both times since i didnt need to be cleaned out till now since its saturday and it snowing so hard out. heres the kicker when she signed the contract in the beginning in the year she wanted her drive way done by 7am everyday since she is a early riser and paid a extra $5 a time so that she would be my first residential cilent.

    So in short the other guys are right drop them and find others, customers are real hard to get here in my area since most of us plow guys dont go and bid on each others property unless they drop the customer for some reason or the customer fires them. but there are always new customers who need to be serviced
  5. RepoMan1968

    RepoMan1968 Senior Member
    Messages: 439

    You will always have a neighbor or an employee of the property that will make unsubscribed comments about the work being done and that they know a guy who has a plow or Paco can shovel this for a burrito and you win some and you will lose some .

    We all have faithful customers who trust our craftmanship and been with us for years .
    There are those who come and go and shop around . Signed or unsigned.

    When I get a call from a customer I "coddle" them and insure were on it and "dont worry about it " .
  6. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    It seems as though there is always that group of people who try and tell you how to do your job. If they knew how to do the job better then you shouldnt they be plowing snow themself? But your father inlaw probably learnd just as you have that people complain just because they can, which is why hed duck the calls. Eventually you hope those complainers go away or you just up the PITA fee. Its now your reputation on the line so be as respectful as possible, and do a job your proud of and let the chips fall where they may.
  7. pabaker66

    pabaker66 Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    I just got fired from a residetial that I have been doing for 7 years. This is a older lady has a 250' gravel driveway. It is a per push contract for 45.00 per. So it has been a good acount. The down fall to the account has always been that she never pays her bill untill November when it is time to sign a new contract and I tell her I don't think we can service her any more. So this year with the ground not being frozen we had displaced to much gravel for her. I have offered to send guys over in the spring to put it back but she said no we don't need you any more. Win some loose some.
  8. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    pabaker66- sounds like she just wanted to switch to someone else to screw over. The next guy I am sure will push up just as much gravel.... she fits within that 10% you can't please.
  9. Winterized

    Winterized Senior Member
    Messages: 120

    Not answering a call when you in fact are there.... seems like a good idea, when you know it's just one of the PITA-holes anyway.

    It lets them cool off a bit... and also lets you screen their concern and gain your composure for a call-back-later response.

    Not calling them back at all.... is not what I would consider good business, unless you just want them out of your life and are hoping they drop you.

    I get very upset and mad when a contractor ignores my call! They do not call me back, then I guess they do not need any more checks from me either.