We’ve all heard that saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” I don’t know about all that, but cleaning up after yourself should be second nature. I emphasize the word “should” because it boggles my mind that there are people, especially service contractors, who leave a giant mess behind them wherever they go.

Just a few weeks ago, a technician was performing maintenance on the seventh floor of The NEWS’ headquarters in Troy, Michigan. More specifically, he rigged up a giant ladder right over my cubicle. Now, I’m not sure what he was testing exactly, but he had a handheld meter device attached to the equipment in the ceiling. Once he had everything setup, he disappeared for a good hour, which would have been fine, except I had to squeeze around his ladder every time I needed to get up from my desk. During this time, he also left his cellphone with the meter, which rang several times — at full volume — while I was trying to work.

Those were the first two strikes. The third came when he finally came back, grabbed his things, and then left. While he put the ceiling tile back into place, he failed to clean up the debris all over the floor — right in front of my desk. I found his entire manner to be very unprofessional.  

Service contractors know it’s the little extras, like cleaning up after yourself or wearing boot covers while inside a house, that keep customers loyal to a particular company.


Bruce Sison, who owns and operates Walpole, Massachusetts-based Sison Plumbing & Heating, acts as the company’s only employee, yet he remains busy year-round.

“I’ve never hit a slow period in my business,” he explained. “I’m booked out constantly. I look at my schedule and tell customers my first availability. If they can wait, it’s great. I add them in the schedule. If not, then I apologize and I recommend a few guys in the area that I know are pretty good to try to help them out.”

And many of them prefer to wait for Sison to get to them, if they can.

“I think the reasons why my customers choose me is because of my personality — my wife calls me an extrovert — my customer service, and the priority I place on cleanliness. I’ve had people tell me I’m the neatest guy they’ve ever had in their homes and that I leave the house cleaner than when I got there. Overall, I try to give people what they deserve and what they’ve paid for.”

Long-time NEWS contributor Butch Welsch, owner, Welsch Heating & Cooling, St. Louis, recently discussed how critical it was that contractors not lose sight of personal and service portions in their businesses in this digital age in a recent column.

“With these technological changes, which are especially interesting and appealing to the younger generations, it’s easy to get caught up in the gadgets and gizmos and forget the main reason why you are in business,” he wrote. “The success of your company is more dependent upon the methods you use to provide service rather than the technologies you use… The technician’s manner with customers cannot be overemphasized. Few customers watch to see exactly what was done to their unit or units; therefore, what they remember is the way technicians presented the diagnoses to them. And, of course, installation crews must keep in mind that they’re guests in a person’s home and must treat everything there with the appropriate respect. It’s important to remember that while technical knowledge and expertise of our industry are imperative, your company’s success will depend greatly on the level of personal service you provide.”

So, the lesson to be learned here is to ensure your technicians are cleaning up the job site before they leave. This extra step only takes a few minutes. How much is your customers’ happiness and satisfaction worth to you?  

Publication date: 6/19/2017

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