Imagine yourself as a customer sitting at your favorite restaurant with your family. You are enjoying the evening and have plans to show your family the finer things in life by ordering some of the waiter’s recommended appetizers.

The appetizers arrive at your table and you proceed to dig in. Excitedly, you don’t bother with biting the already bite-sized appetizer in two. You just pop the whole thing in your mouth at once, only to discover that a piece of metal from the fryer has somehow managed to incorporate itself into your fried cheese curd.

Fortunately, you caught the metal fragment before you swallowed it, and were able to avoid any major catastrophe. You inform the waiter, and he apologizes. You move on, reluctantly, to the main course, and find that you enjoy the remainder of the meal without incident.

When the waiter brings the check, you find that the metal-infused cheese curds are included in the ticket, and the waiter is eagerly awaiting your payment.

How do you feel right now? If you are like me, you would question both the waiter and the manager, and you would request that the charge be removed. If your request isn’t granted, you might elevate the situation a bit, demanding that it be taken care of if you’re ever to do business with them again. They’ll probably do so, but only after being asked sternly by you, the customer.

Now let’s rewind a little bit.

Imagine the same scenario, except that after the waiter apologizes for the metal shard in your cheese curd, he brings the manager over to your table. The manager proceeds to apologize as well, but takes it one step further by offering to waive not only the charge for the appetizer, but your entire meal, leaving you to only pay for your wife and kids’ meals.

Which of the two scenarios feels like a better customer experience to you? Which scenario would encourage you to return to the restaurant in the future, believing that this incident was not the norm for the restaurant? Which would have you recommending them to family or friends?

As a contractor, you spend a lot of money to bring new customers to your businesses. You have to worry about the intricacies of marketing and advertising, and you try your best to treat every customer like gold…until you don’t.

How many customers have you let slip through your fingers, because you were unwilling to budge on the diagnostic charges? How many thousands of dollars have you missed out on because you wouldn’t compensate your customers for your miscues in the scheduling step? How many bad reviews are online, or on a previous customer’s social media page, mentioning how hard you are to do business with?


What if you were able to make a compelling offer to your customers to help them see that you are the contractor for them, and that you are easy to work with? What if you could convince them that you do understand them? What if you could save a hundred customers per year because you give them something extra before they pay you?

Providing compelling offers for your existing customers is a great way to hold on to those customers that could otherwise leave your company in favor of competition that can get there sooner or cheaper. Compelling offers aren’t substantial in cost, and they provide enough value to the customer to keep them from entertaining the idea of going to a competitor. When I’m coaching our Nexstar members, I walk many call center managers and owners through an exercise that helps them identify low cost/high value items that could be used as compensation when trying to save a customer in this scenario. Items like filters, water sensors, or $25 credits to the customer’s account are just a few examples of compensation that can be used in this manner.

It’s worth considering how you might change the way you handle customers that are leaving you because of a reschedule, or because you can’t get there as quickly as you had originally told them you would. After all, you are paying handsomely to reach these customers through your marketing efforts, so you should absolutely be making every effort to keep them.

Publication date: 9/10/2018

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