On quality, follow-up, and a company closing

Heard from my interior “redesigner” that my remodeling contractor had closed his doors. I was a little surprised when I replied rather passionately that:

“He just didn’t leverage his customers the way he should have; he never did anything I don’t think to publicize the job he did for us because it was so ‘small.’ But it was such a little jewel. He (also) had hired a young lady who was supposed to coordinate everything (his receptionist & in-house project coordinator) – but she really didn’t know the business and I had to stay on top of things more than I think I should have. For instance, the final city inspections didn’t get done until I nagged & nagged to do it. Maybe the inspector just runs by the house, but you don’t want to have that hanging if you ever have to sell your house someday. Tom was hurt that I was not happy with him. Well, that’s part of HIS job!”

Now to be fair to Tom, the reason he hired that young lady is because his wife had that position – and she was ill with cancer and later died. But it’s a bad sign when you don’t hire the right person as a coordinator. I’m sure she drove his field guys and sales guys crazy, too.

And Joetta said she’s never known anyone who really had a pleasant time remodeling. (Never forget that!) But what I didn’t tell her is how the electrician Tom recommended told us our 220V plug (clothes dryer) was fine. It wasn’t. I finally found someone who could fix it for much less than the $500 he finally said it would take to do a new ground wire.

So I’m still blissfully happy with the RESULTS of the remodeling but realizing the FOLLOW-UP is what these companies seem to miss.

Right now, we are working with Olshan, which did our foundation work about 3 years ago, to take care of the “small” thing they didn’t do … fill the tunnel and hole they made under our house when they replaced all the plumbing underneath it. Amazing!

We had seen the hole under the hall bath but it took our plumber’s brother to look and tell us it wasn’t right. It was just Providence we had the most excellent Gary Bloch from Plumbco whose brother used to work for a foundation company, to do some work in our hall bath.

Now we have a lifetime warranty from Olshan, so I guess if our house fell in, it would be up to them to fix it. But I wouldn’t want to have to find out! And I just found a follow-up report saying there might be another problem ….

So back to my remodeling contractor. Here I quote an article from Houston Business Journal by James W. Mirabella:

“In the past, quality provided a competitive advantage. Today, it’s a minimum requirement just to compete.  Service quality … cannot typically be evaluated until the customer receives the service and possibly complains of shifts to a new provider. There is a universal, less expensive approach for maintaining quality …: prevention.  In service, (prevention) means preventing complaints, maintaining customer relationships, obtaining customer feedback regularly, knowing when a customer leaves, and doing what is necessary to get the lost customer back.

“This sounds difficult, but it is much less expensive than the marketing costs required to generate new customers.”

The article goes on about loyalty and how a company handles customer problems. But I just shake my head. Because my kitchen/living/dining remodeling project was too “small” for my contractor, he didn’t get the mileage out of the work he did for us. And he certainly wouldn’t have wanted my bathroom remodeling …

So now he’s gone. So yes, with some follow-up on our own, we will work these things out. But where’s the quality you should get without demanding it?

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About cjyeoman

I am a writer and editor with 20 years in the business. After writing for other people for so long, I've decided to write a little for myself.
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