Sometimes we don’t realize the importance of paying close attention to people and giving our undivided attention to the details, that is until we find ourselves trying to pick up the pieces when things come crashing down all because we failed to listen closely enough.
I was talking with a contractor the other day and he told me about a situation he found himself in a few months back. He said he was in the middle of building a house for a home owner who’s been doing carpet cleaning in Clarksville TN for the past 10 years. He was making great progress with minimal hick ups along the way. Everything was smooth sailing until the home owner decided they wanted the fire place on a different wall than was originally specified in the blueprint.
The contractor asked the home owner a few questions to gain the necessary details of the change before getting back to work and passing on the orders. Later that week when his crew had finished building the fireplace in the new location, he received an unwanted call say the least.
The home owner had just checked in on the job and was irate. He said that the fireplace was not constructed the way he had requested, and he wanted to meet him at the site immediately!
When he met with the unhappy customer he was immediately given an earful. Apparently, when he had spoken with him earlier he had specified not only to change the location of the fireplace but also to change design of the bricks! Yet some how, in the midst of that busy day, he had not payed enough close attention to the details his customer was giving him.
Almost instantly he vaguely remembered the home owner giving these instructions yet somehow managed to tune him out. Just like any good contractor would do, he proceeded to apologize for the misunderstanding and immediately give orders to tear down that beautiful fireplace and rebuild it the way he had requested.
He told me that just that one small mistake of not paying close enough attention costed him thousands of dollars. Although the importance of listening to your customers is the main point I want to stress in this article, I want to also cover a few key tips to insure this kind of thing never happens to you.
Here are a few pointers to help improve the way you interact with your customers:
- Always try your best to minimize any distractions when your customer is making detailed requests. Go to a quiet place where there are less things happening that could potentially take your mind off of the task at hand which is to listen.
- Take detailed notes of everything your customer is requesting. This is a surefire way to help insure you pay attention to what they are saying. If you have to write it you have to hear it.
- Repeat back to the customer all of the requests you have written down. This is a great way to make sure you understood them correctly the first time.
- Ask questions. If there is anything the customer is telling you that you don’t fully understand, don’t hesitate to ask them to clarify.
Doing these things can really help you when you’re interacting with your customers and can actually save you thousands of dollars over the years of your contracting career, just ask the owner of this dryer vent cleaning business here. Like they say, “Paying attention pays off big in the long run.
Don’t be the guy who shakes his head in agreement acting like he understands everything only to walk away scratching his head and wondering to himself “wait what did they say?”
Be the guy who always gives his undivided attention and it will save you lots of headaches!