Owners of most plumbing companies will tell you the biggest problem they face is finding good help. I don’t disagree, except we at Dutton Plumbing look at the problem a different way. Most other companies are interested mainly in finding plumbers with years of technical experience. We think the bigger problem is finding people with an attitude that results in a commitment to customer service.
If a person with the right attitude has mechanical aptitude, we can train him or her to become a capable plumbing technician. But we don’t know how to change personalities that have been forged over decades of life on earth. Someone might be the world’s best mechanic but if that person doesn’t have the ability to get along with people and show empathy toward customers with a problem, that person won’t get hired at Dutton Plumbing.
Customer service doesn’t come easy to a lot of people. Some people are naturally grumpy. This stands in the way of delivering exceptional customer service.
Over the years I’ve been to many gatherings of plumbers and their employers at meetings of trade groups and business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce. I’m always struck by how many conversations at these gatherings focus on badmouthing customers.
Every plumber – actually, every business – will have to put up with an unpleasant customer at some point, but you have to put things in perspective. For every bad experience we have with a customer, we realize scores of good experiences. If a company has a larger than normal number of bad experiences, I’m inclined to blame the people who work for that company rather than their customers. Most likely there is something in their performance or attitude that is causing tension with their customers. We realize that often we call on homeowners who are under stress with a serious plumbing problem. This makes it doubly important for our technicians to be calm, friendly and focused on fixing the problem at hand.
Some companies have an attitude that they are doing the customer a favor by showing up to fix a problem. That’s stinking thinking! At Dutton Plumbing, we put customers on a pedestal and train all of our employees to think that way. Every call for service is a favor given by a customer to us, not the other way around. Your calls enable us to make a living. If they stopped coming, we’d be out of business.
That’s why we hire only people with friendly personalities, and why we double down on training our technicians and office staff to deliver exceptional customer service. And that’s why most of our business comes from repeat, satisfied customers.