As customers we all like to believe we’re making a free choice.
We base our decisions on a variety of things, customer service is one of them, what’s available is another.
But just as we’re forced by the market to accept that only ‘this seasons colours’ will be available, so we’re forced by the market to accept a certain level of customer service.
In restaurants we don’t expect partially cooked food to be thrown at us – late, by waiters with their pants hanging down. In food service even in a cheap cafe there is a certain standard of service we’ve come to expect and demand.
When it comes to the trades what a different world!
Somehow customers have been trained to be grateful for their plumber turning up, on time is a bonus.
If their gas fitter is smartly dressed and represented by a national brand shown on TV, somehow this seems to carry with it the entitlement to charge high prices for packages that are almost worthless.
In our own homes, where we should feel safest, we’re often treated appallingly by tradespeople we should be able to trust.
And for some reason we expect this.
Even all the warning TV programmes have done little to change this dynamic, may even contribute to it!
I was shocked in a facebook conversation to be told by an acquaintance that as our firm promise excellent customer service, she imagined we’d also be charging top prices.
Why is this, when politeness costs nothing and arriving on time is as expensive as arriving late?
When it comes to the trades; customers have been trained by years of shoddy service to expect they’ll be treated badly, patronised and their wishes ignored.
At Stopcocks Women Plumbers we intend to change all this.
We actively exploit our customers assumption that as women we’ll care more. We don’t take it for granted, we ensure our plumbers receive training in customer service and we have a strictly enforced Code of Conduct, which among other things explains to our plumbers that they will lose their licence for overcharging (among other things).
We believe that once customers know there is a choice they can make, to be respected and cared for, they will take it.
We also believe that when good plumbers of the male variety notice this sea change they will join us in caring for customers and treating them with respect (some do this already of course and if you have one of these, hold on to him and never let him go!)
We believe the time is near when tradespeople like waiters will be expected to be prompt, polite and a pleasure to deal with. We know our commitment to customer service is part of promoting this.