A ‘Worthy’ Customer vs. a ‘Valuable’ One
As Colorado Springs #1 Rated Electrician, Swartz Electric has an obligation to provide our customers with the best customer service and high quality materials. We are uncompromising in our attention to detail and thorough, attentive work. We offer a lifetime guarantee on all our labor, and an above and beyond warranty that we personally cover the materials we purchase and install for two years.
Sometimes, this can put us at odds with the cost-conscientious customer – not because we don’t offer exceptional value (because we do), but frequently because they do not see the difference between the ‘value’ of investing in a good contractor; they see only the ‘worth’ of their dollar bill and feel its’ absence when they must use it to cast a ‘vote’ with their contractor of choice. This is extremely tough – how do you point out to a client that they may or may not see the whole picture, and that their ideas of cash conservation will end up costing both of you more in the end? The customer might not always be right, but part of our job as industry experts is to help educate them so that they can at least make right-er decisions (or more correctly, better informed ones).
Some ways that we can point out to our customers the ‘value’ of their investment is to share with them the amount of engineering, coordinating, and advocating we do on their behalf when completing jobs. Helping them to see these kinds of big-picture ideas – such as the fact that we assist in planning their projects and can take of everything from demolition, supply ordering, obtaining permits and inspections, new construction work, and even things as minor as trash disposal and site clean-up – might be an eye-opener if they haven’t tried to tackle a (relatively) big job before. Also, professionals can help assess building situations and existing construction status so that it helps eliminate difficulties such as trying to tackle demolition after new work has begun, and can help eliminate waste in materials, man-power, and damage to existing structure.
Using professionals also helps eliminate wasteful ‘windshield time’; limiting trips and transport so that they integrate with working-hours and can be an effective use of company time, vehicles, and fuel. Coordinating and over-seeing material delivery, as well as scheduling time-effective work days helps keep labor and overhead low. These kinds of realities are a natural part of project management but most likely highly foreign to the average consumer.
When it comes to materials, clients frequently expect that they will be allowed to make the least expensive choices possible and yet still create a quality finished product. No matter how master a craftsmen or skilled worker you have, using cheaper materials is frequently a serious detriment and quickly reveals itself for either being inappropriate to the task, or requiring more volume simply because of the elements poor quality. Combine that with shipping damage, order wholeness, and a poor service experience, and any ‘savings’ one had hoped for has quickly been eaten up by unintentional under estimates and cheap material differences. Additionally, expecting a tradesman to provide a complete and accurate material list takes their time and serious effort, with a fair labor bill to accompany it. Can it cost more, initially, for a customer to let their contractor order their materials? Absolutely – but when you couple that with a good contractor and/or manufacturers’ guarantee on them against defects and the reliability of letting a trained professional utilize reliable and appropriate elements, you truly are empowering craftsmen to build something lasting and worthwhile. Most contractors aren’t able to make guarantees about materials they aren’t familiar with and may not have worked with before.
When a customer becomes overly-involved in a project, desperate to ‘pick up’ knowledge and ‘observe the process’, it can leave a contractor in a delicately precarious place. Knowing that someone is observing you so carefully often disrupts ones ability to perform – and that kind of pressure can impact productivity, as well as begin to generate a sense of unfair expectations on the property owners part. As construction professionals, it’s easy to joke about how ‘It costs twice as much if you’re going to watch,’; yet it does affect a tradesman’s ability to focus and do good work. When a client already has a distorted sense of the cost of materials and begins impacting productivity, it can leave both parties immensely dissatisfied if not downright frustrated.
These, and many other equally important and applicable reasons are why we as consumers have to make careful decisions when we pick out a contractor to do work for us – likewise, as service professionals we have to be equally as selective when choosing customers and projects. The Random House Dictionary defines ‘worthy’ as ‘having adequate merit’ – and quite frankly anyone can be ‘adequate’. However, it defines ‘value’ as ‘to consider with respect to… excellence’. The question we must pose our customers – and ourselves, when we are consumers – is are we merely ‘adequate’, or do we want to be excellent? Do we want to serve our clients with mediocrity, or with greatness? We also have to remember that when we research and intelligently choose a contractor, we must give them the vote of confidence and trust so that we are great clients, and not just merely mediocre.
Swartz Electric – Your Colorado Springs Electrician performs electrical work throughout Colorado Springs, Monument, Black Forest, Fountain, Falcon, Woodland Park, and everywhere in between. We are the electricians in Colorado Springs to solve your electrical problems and meet your electrical requirements.
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This is an original article written by Mai Bjorklund for Swartz Electric. This article may not be copied whole or in part without the express permission of Swartz Electric, LLC.
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