I Hate the Lack of Professionalism in the service industry. I get it, we are all human and we all have our good days and our bad days. But, we are in the middle of the biggest economic downturn in 70 years right? One would think that those in the service industries would be hurting for work and would want to please the customer as much as possible. So here are two quick stories that happened to me very recently as we are preparing to move from LA to OC.
First, I get a referral to a guy who (theoretically) does good drywall work. I call him on Friday and it sounds like I caught him at a busy time. I tell him about the job and he agrees to come over on Tuesday to take a look at the job. When I ask to give him my address and phone number he says he is busy and asks me to text him the information, that way he will have it on his cell phone. All of this sounds good and I am actually pleased that he is putting his technology to good use. I text him my info and he replies "See you Tuesday. I'm looking forward to working for you." So far, so good.
Tuesday arrives, I don't go on an outing with my wife and child just to wait for the "drywaller". The appointed time comes and goes with no show and no call. So, I text the man. "Just a reminder. See you at 2?" This is the reply I get, "Who's this?" I explain who it is and remind him of the conversation and text exchange we had 4 days earlier. I get no response for 15 min. I then text "Sorry if there was any confusion, looks like today won't work? You can call my house if you want to set up another time" and I gave him my home #. 15 min later (40 min after the agreed upon time) I get a blank text from the man. I wait another 15 min and then call another company to do the work. I text the guy back and say, "Sorry this didn't work out, I have made other arrangements." I never hear from the guy again.
Three things kill me about this. 1) Again, aren't contractors hurting for work? Or am I being misled about how bad it is out there? Wouldn't this guy want to capitalize on every opportunity that comes his way. 2) This was a referral and he knew that. Shouldn't he be very concerned about burning the guy who referred him? I never called the guy who referred him back to complain, but maybe I should have. 3) Any sane person who misses an appointment (whether they knew about it or not) knows that it is one of the worst feelings in the world. At least it is for me. This guy had access to his cellphone enough to text me "Who is this?" One would think that he would be flipping out over having missed an appointment and would be running to the nearest phone to call and reschedule. But that would be how a sane person would respond.
My second (much quicker) example is from a potential Realtor in the area. We got a referral from a resident in the complex we live in. This woman did a good job selling another unit in our complex, so why not ours? I got her business card and called the number on the card expecting to hear something professional on the other end of the phone. What I got was, "Hello" (said in a slightly annoyed tone). Now, we have our number blocked for some reason and I understand a certain amount of skepticism, but this is still a Realtor I am calling right? I say, "I am sorry, I am looking for (her name here)". "Yeah, that's me." I say, "Did I catch you at a bad time?" Her response, "No." All of this is said with a real tone of "Who are you and what do you want?!" I tell her that I will let her go and might call back at a better time. I move on to a more professional Realtor.
What gets me about both of these service professionals is that they are clearly using their private phones to conduct their business. That is fine, save a buck where ever you can. But then shouldn't you handle every unknown caller as a potential client? What if that was a buyer for my house calling the potential Realtor? Or what if I needed that drywall done on a deadline for an open house? In the end, I guess you get what you pay for and I will be going with known companies from now on and paying the 20% premium for the privilege of having an office with a professional staff and communication that does not have to happen over text message.