Film Focus by Tara Taffera
by Tara Taffera
July 1st, 2020

Please Don’t Do This to Your Customers

Yes, I am writing this article as the editorial director of Window Film magazine, but really I am writing it as a consumer—and to urge you to please not do what certain contracting companies are currently doing to me.

I wrote an article recently about how many of you are really busy and can’t keep up with the requests coming in. So that is my question: If you are so busy, and especially if you are a super small company where sometimes you do it all, how do you perform film jobs and email customers back with quotes?

And my answer to this is: Please don’t leave them unanswered. I will give you more specific ideas later and would really love to hear from you. But this is what has me so annoyed currently.

I, like everyone else, am working from home, and want to get some house projects out of the way. Our driveway is a mess—has cracks and grass growing through–and we need it repaired and sealed.

At least five people on my street have had this done recently by two different companies.

The first company put the yard signs up and my husband immediately emailed them asking a question and for a quote. It’s been more than a week and no reply. Then we get a marketing flyer in the mail from them. Really? You are sending flyers but can’t answer our request for a quote? So I go on their website Saturday and say something like, “Hey we received your flyer and my husband sent a request for a quote, but he never heard back. Can you please reply?” Thankfully, Monday I did receive a reply but they can’t help us with the grass issues, and the quote is higher than we would like—and much higher than what my neighbor paid. But hey at least they got back to me.

Now to company number two. While we were waiting to hear from company number one, my neighbor texted me to say another company was sealing her driveway that very same day and asked if I wanted her to send him over to give me a quote. I did, and when he arrived the super pleasant man gave me a quote for the driveway and seriously I was ready to book him right then. Then he said, “Let me know if you want to do the repairing where the grass is moving into the driveway, etc.” We had just talked about that, just FYI, but I reiterated—yes I absolutely want that done as that is the most important part that needs to be fixed. He said well I have to work that quote up and will email to you. Two days later, when I didn’t have it, I emailed him and now more than a week later I still haven’t heard a word.

While I was writing this it dawned on me that it is time to go to company number three. So I just found another company with good reviews, and sent off a text, which their website says they will return in one business day. Sure enough, several hours later I did get a call back with a promise they would be out tomorrow or the next day. Then the owner called me later that day and said I have some time now, so I said sure come on over. Full disclosure, we then realized we have to pave the whole darn thing so that job is being put off for now. But when we do it you can bet we will be going with Precision Paving. In fact, I just went to their Facebook page to leave a glowing review (that will be the topic of a future blog or news story. I see a lot of you in the Facebook groups trying to figure out how you can get customers to leave reviews.)

Back to my predicament. Before you start yelling at me to cut companies a break, let me just say: I get it, you are busy. But here are some ideas off the top of my head for how to handle this with company number one and two:

  • Set up an automated message that says, “Please bear with us as the amount of quote requests we are getting is high. We will get back to you by x date.” Now I know they will get back to me and I’m not left floundering.
  • Hire additional help—even if it’s your mother, cousin, friend, you get the idea, to help answer the emails during busy times. And if you can’t do this then hold off on sending that flyer which is just going to get you more inquiries that you can’t answer, ultimately leaving you to lose the business for good.

I would love to hear from you on how you handle these situations. Post a comment below.

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3 comments
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  1. Same here. Need exterior paint done. Have a community newsletter that emails daily. 2 painters recommended. Called both, one said he was too busy, other said he would stop to quote. He came & wanted me to accept quote right that minute. Told him I’d get back to him. Texted him very next day to say I accepted. He called me back & said he was finishing another job & would call me back. That was 2 weeks ago!! Haven’t heard anything back??

  2. I and my husband have owned our window tinting business for over 26 years…I could NOT sleep if I knew a customer, yet a potential customer had not been responded to by the end of the day the message was left. Even if I had to contact the customer after hours letting them know I received their message and we could talk now or I would call them back the very next day at a convenient time for them. Be honest with the customer first off and yourself about what your intentions actually are. Don’t put off till tomorrow what can be done today – just the way I roll.

  3. I completely agree with Renee… “Even if I had to contact the customer after hours letting them know I received their message and we could talk now or I would call them back the very next day at a convenient time for them. Don’t put off till tomorrow what can be done today”

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