Face Problems Head-On

There are always unexpected challenges, but how you handle them makes all the difference

Not every job goes from start to finish without a hitch.

I know that all too well. I’ve had a variety of challenges putting together issues of Cleaner: missing photos, late submissions, even a contractor who pulled out of a feature profile at the last minute because he sold his business. That’s great for him, but not for my production timeline.

But despite all the shuffling of schedules and a little stress behind the scenes, you would never know there was a problem if I wasn’t telling you. You still get the glossy finished product in your hands each month.

That’s how it should be for your customers as well. You’ll always have hard days, but your customers expect that when they call you, you will be there on time and fix the problem. They just want results.

So what do you do when something goes wrong on a job? Maybe you have a customer’s lawn dug up and still can’t locate the exact problem. Or a couple employees get sick or quit on you at the same time and you’re short-handed. All three of your trucks break down in the same day. Your camera stops working and you have to send it in for repairs right before a big inspection job was scheduled to start.

There are a million things that can go wrong. What matters is how you handle them.

Your customers are depending on you, and your reputation is on the line. So often we hear that great service and the customer experience are just as important as cost when choosing a service provider. So you need to deliver on your word.

Give a discount on the landscaping fee if someone’s yard is torn up for longer than you promised. If you’re short-handed, you and your available employees might work overtime for a week or two in order to follow through on your commitments. When your camera or jetter is out of commission, rent a replacement or hire a subcontractor with the necessary tools if you can’t reschedule the work.

The best thing to do during a crisis on the job is face it head-on and figure out a solution as quickly as you can. Hopefully you can solve the problem before the customer is even aware there’s an issue. Something as simple as calling someone in on his or her day off or renting equipment might be all it takes. But if the solution will require more time than you’d like, be upfront with the customer immediately. Tell them the situation, and then explain what you’re doing to fix it. If a job requires an inspection and your new camera isn’t getting delivered until tomorrow, let them know they are your first priority the second the camera is in your hands. Most people will be accommodating and understanding when they know you’re doing everything you can to make it right.

There will always be setbacks, but how you face those challenges sets the tone for the rest of the job. The work will get back on track as long as you’re proactive about finding a solution.

I hope you enjoy this month’s issue.


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