Complaints? Don’t Worry, Be Happy

CHICAGO, IL — If you are getting complaints about the job you are doing, be happy for several reasons.

“Complaints are our friend,” Jim Whelan of Contractor Success Group told attendees here at one of CSG’s quarterly conventions. “A friend is not someone you only put up with. You seek them out. The alternative is to ignore them.”

Whelan contended that customers “give us feedback because they want us to succeed” — that is, succeed by doing a good job on their mechanical equipment.

He cited a statistic that for every customer who complains directly to the contractor, “26 others complain to family and friends.” Such a message can spread quickly, he said. “One complaint can lead to 2,000 negative feelings. That’s like taking out an ad in a local paper and saying, ‘Our company rots.’

“You’ve got to do it right the first time, and you’ve got to do it right every time.”

The Role of the Customer

Whelan considered customers “active participants and not passive observers. The trick is to translate the wants of customers into something more than they expect.”

In an ideal world, pleasant, effective customer service people work for respected, effective companies. But in a less-than-ideal world, there are tradeoffs.

“Would you rather have a pleasant rep who doesn’t meet your needs, or a rude rep who meets your needs? Customers today want action.”

For Whelan, that action translates into superlative customer service.

Sidebar: Whelan’s Words of Wisdom

“Show me a company policy, and I’ll show you the enemy. The only policy is to meet customer needs.”

“Is the customer always right? The question isn’t a matter of what’s right or wrong. The question to ask is, ‘What’s the best long-term decision to make based on a current situation.’”

“Most employees don’t grasp what we offer. They are just doing their job.” Employees on the front lines with customers need to understand more about the business.

“Wearing carpet savers, driving a clean truck, and having groomed technicians are now givens and expected. How do we go above and beyond that?”

Publication date: 09/18/2000

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

Recent Articles by Peter Powell

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

2015 HARDI Fly-In

Highlights from HARDI's Congressional Fly-In in Washington, D.C.


NEWSMakers: Clint Schreck

Clint Schreck, general manager, Columbus Worthington Air, Columbus, Ohio, discusses winning Angie’s List Super Service Award, how to handle online reviews, and much more.

More Podcasts


NEWS 05-25-15 cover

2015 May 25

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe


The EPA has approved several hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants for HVACR applications. Do you support the use of HCs?
View Results Poll Archive


2015 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research


Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Magazine image
Register today for complete access to Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.


facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con